NetApp is raising the cloud storage management stakes with the launch of the company’s StorageGRID Webscale software.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based data storage company announced today the general availability of a new cloud-enabled object storage platform that “enables IT organizations to store up to 100 billion objects in a single elastic container that can be distributed in data centers worldwide.” And enterprises can manage such hefty stores securely and at lower cost to boot, according to NetApp.

NetApp’s approach calls for businesses to come to terms with the growth of unstructured data and finally embrace object storage. Arguing that social media, mobile devices and the Internet of Things makes traditional file storage environments unwieldy from a data management perspective, only object storage can handle the “onslaught of information” said NetApp in a blog post.

StorageGRID Webscale supports Amazon S3 and Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI), allowing organizations to seamlessly integrate cloud applications and build out hybrid clouds. Automation, auditing and active monitoring capabilities lower IT overhead while boosting compliance, monitoring and SLA verification efforts.

Flexibility is another key aspect of the company’s offering. NetApp claims the software can help form the basis of general cloud storage, as well as media repositories, archives and Web data stores. Additionally, its intelligent policy engine supports a spectrum of business priorities, allowing organizations to set data placement policies according to availability, cost, compliance and performance requirements, said the company.

“Leveraging 10 years of enterprise object-storage experience, StorageGRID Webscale provides a foundation for software-defined, globally distributed object stores with policies that enable IT to govern data placement and protection worldwide,” commented Dan Neault, senior vice president of NetApp’s Data Center Solutions Group, in a statement.

NetApp’s new software is earning praise from IDC research director Ashish Nadkarni, who called the company’s approach “the future of enterprise storage for the cloud.”

“Organizations need scalable and manageable software-defined storage that can be deployed across data types and geographies,” said Nadkarni in prepared remarks. “NetApp is providing an alternative approach, with StorageGRID Webscale, ideal object-storage software for the cloud.”

StorageGRID Webscale is available now and another release is around the corner. NetApp plans to start an early adopter program this year for the next version of the software, which is scheduled for 2015 and will feature geo-distributed erasure coding and cloud tiering capabilities, among other updates.