back to article The History Boys: Object storage ... from the beginning

This is a terrific object storage history map from Silicon Valley object storage guy Philippe Nicolas*, who has put together a spreadsheet detailing the history of content-addressable storage (CAS**) – otherwise generally known as object storage. I have heard so many odd things about suppliers and technologies in this market …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    You can push the Content-Addressable Storage timeline back much further

    Indeed, to early database days, before "objects" were even talked about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can push the Content-Addressable Storage timeline back much further

      MUMPS and Pick are two examples, both still in use, from the mid-60s.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    An early successful use of Content Addressable Storage was the ICL CAFS in the UK in the 1970s.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hwo to can use

  4. JonasL

    Very nice list and good summary..

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Objectstore - 1988

  6. Jan 0 Silver badge

    Thanks for the chart and history. However I wonder what, in the meantime, has happened to its complement: Content Addressable Memory? Back in the 80s, I remember it being used in support of some CPU operations. There was also academic research into its use in bulk. What's the state of the art today? (Yes I've just had a squiz at Wikipedia, but I doubt that it represents the current status.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      CAM used in Ethernet ASIC design today

      Ethernet/Switch devices

  7. ifadams


    Might just be the academic pedant in me nit picking at terms, but content addressable storage is generally different from object storage in the storage world I live in, to the point that I almost never hear the terms used interchangeably.

    Certain implementations share flavors of one another, but the key is in the name: content. A content addressable storage system is one where the content is hashed (or a portion of it hashed) to for the purposes of producing an address that serves the dual purposes of implicit deduplication and naming of the data. Object storage, on the other hand, tends towards using the *name* of the object as a way of locating it, by hashing it and dumping it on a consistent hashing ring with object servers owning parts of the namespace.

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: Erm...

      Content addressable memories have been constructed in hardware. I believe several chips were produced i the early 1980's to do this. I worked on a project at GEC where we were contemplating using one to implement a switch (case) statement that would execute in a single cycle, rather than step through a table. We had a choice of a chip made by GEC or one made by a German company.

      However, the project was scrapped in favour of using a VAX off the shelf - as it already had software, and we would have had to port Unix to our weird hardware (which also had a transputer array).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely Object Oriented Database Systems are relevant here? If so, then those date from the 1980s and I used one of them about 18 years ago. It was called ODBII and was an academic project that Fujitsu bought the rights to. It was then pushed quite a bit by ICL after they were bought by Fujitsu, which is how my employer ended up using it.

  9. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Associative memory

    Content addressable memory was originally called 'associative memory' and a 1962 patent was granted to Robert S Barton, designer of the Burroughs B5000.

    1. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

      Re: Associative memory

      It was U.S. patent 3200379 by Paul King and Robert Barton in 1962.

  10. alexeykazmin

    No Scality?

    No Scality on the timeline, why is that?

  11. Nick 71

    Bit late to comment on this but even in 2016, when this article was written, Object Matrix was a known entity and had over 70 customers in the M&E space using our MatrixStore object storage that we created in 2003.

  12. Stefareeno

    Next next next gen object stores

    Ridiculously late to the party.... oops!

    Even more entries in the mix now in 2021 with ONTAP and OneFS having S3 adaptors added to them, and in the world of software-defined I see Nutanix too has a s/w defined object solution on their platform (lots more features than I expected) - plus Azure's Blob is another public cloud object solution to look at (Azure mentioned in article but not Blob specifically)

    Also found this which is interesting

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