French startup OpenIO just raised $5 million from Elaia Partners, Partech Ventures and Nord France Amorçage. The company has been focusing on object storage technology for different kinds of infrastructure.
With today’s funding round, the company plans to work on getting new clients in the U.S. and Japan in addition to the EMEA region.
Object storage is a different way of thinking about storage. Instead of thinking about hard drives, free space and total size, you abstract your storage layer to think about the objects you actually store in an unstructured way. This way, Twitter engineers don’t have to think about the location of a photo as long as they have the ID of the photo and they can retrieve it when they need it.
Companies like Amazon and Google have built popular object storage services in the cloud with Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage. But the public cloud isn’t always the solution. Some companies want to manage their data in house, others want to store data near the end customer.
OpenIO has built an open source framework to let you turn any computing device into the back end of your own object storage service. It even works on a cheap virtual private server with 512MB of RAM.
And it scales pretty well as some customers have been using OpenIO with multiple petabytes of data — a petabyte is 1,000 terabytes. Video streaming site Dailymotion has been using it. Companies can mix multiple kinds of hardware. For instance, you can build a single cluster of data with powerful x86 servers and energy-efficient ARMv7 devices working together.
This is key to understanding OpenIO’s future. Managing a ton of data in a big data center is not that hard. But latency and bandwidth are becoming critical resources as files are getting bigger and connected devices produce more data points than ever. Your Amazon Echo and your city’s security cameras should be able to store data and make them accessible from those devices instead of sending everything to a data center.
That’s why a solution like OpenIO could be interesting when it comes to edge computing and fog computing. It could become the storage layer that takes advantage of all those unused resources in the devices around you.