An international research initiative is working to develop a smart cloud storage architecture to meet the needs of the world’s ever-increasing data load.
IBM will lead the three-year, approximately $21.5 million research project with the help of 15 European partners to improve the global delivery of data and storage services across both international and system boundaries.
The European Union-funded project known as VISION Cloud—Virtualized Storage Services for the Future Internet—aims to introduce a powerful infrastructure for reliable and effective delivery of data-intensive storage services, to support the convergence of information technology, media, and telecommunications.
IBM says the goal of VISION Cloud will be a more flexible and secure cloud storage system that can be delivered in a pay-per-use model.
“Users now require capabilities that are far richer than simple raw bits and basic storage,” said Dr. Hillel Kolodner, IBM researcher and lead architect for VISION Cloud, in a statement for the initiative. “To satisfy this need, the focus must shift to the data—where the collections of bits are semantically meaningful and have associated metadata.”
“Data should be a first-class citizen, where its importance is comparable to the computing power itself,” Kolodner said. “With VISION Cloud, our aim is develop the infrastructure to support this prominence of data and data-intensive services.”
VISION Cloud will build on the cloud technology that IBM has developed over the past three years, and make it easier and less expensive to develop new data-intensive services. The new architecture will provide improved security and quality service, while still being able to meet or exceed the growing computing power demands of current storage clouds.
IBM says that with VISION Cloud, a storage service provider may soon offer a “digital safe” service, where customers can safely store their photos, videos, health and financial records, as well as other important digital information.
The user will be able to grant family members, doctors, and friends access to various data objects, which they can view regardless of the format their devices or computers require.
Built on open standards, VISION Cloud will also allow data to be transferred easily from one cloud provider to another. If a cloud storage service suddenly raises its rates, VISION Cloud will soon make it possible for an individual or business to switch to another provider without having to secure and download huge amounts of data.
IBM says that the transfer of data from the old provider to the new one could begin as a background process or even in an on-demand fashion.