When data needs to be instantly accessible, stored forever and available through a variety of devices, traditional storage systems fall short. No longer is it good enough to build storage silos utilizing non-web protocols that are tied to specific applications. Social media, online video, user-uploaded content, gaming, and software-as-a-service applications are just some of the forces that are driving this change. To date, public cloud storage services has risen to meet these new storage needs but not every organizaton can - or should - use public cloud storage.
“Highly scalable”, means that it can scale from a few nodes and a handful of drives to thousands of machines with dozens of Petabytes of storage. Swift is designed to be horizontally scalable–there is no single point-of-failure. Swift is also ideal for storing and serving content to many, many concurrent users - a charateristic which differentiates it from other storage systems.
As one of the two initial components of the OpenStack project, Swift is used to meet a variety of needs. Swift’s usage ranges from small deployments for “just” storing VM images, to mission critical storage clusters for high-volume websites, mobile application development, private file-sharing applications, data analytics and private storage infrastructure-as-a-service. Swift is open-sourced under the Apache 2 license and now has over 70 contributors, and new developers are contributing every year.