time will tell but
Of course there is a lot of buzz and marketing around Object Storage and Big Data, but isn't that normal? Back in 2009, more than one person claimed Cloud Computing would never break through. One of them runs a database company that claims to be "the" Cloud company today...
The market drivers are there, the technology follows. And there are a good number of use cases out there as well. Amazon S3 has been mentioned, but there is also Facebook, Google and others.
The Cern reference, which I also saw in your Netapp article is not the greatest for a number of reasons:
* Their choice for tape is two years old
* TDuskin's comment is correct
* It's not the easiest use case; a better one would be Facebook: are they storing the massive numbers of pictures on tape? Or youtube its videos?
So, Chris, object storage may need some time to become a standard, and there might be something else coming up in a couple of decades, but for now it is a much more scalable alternative than file based storage when storage large volumes of unstructured data (the better use case). Also, when designed with the proper Erasure Coding, it's a lot more efficient and reliable than traditional technologies.
Disclaimer: I work for Amplidata, an erasure coding based object storage vendor