Cloud Storage is the method of storing data on an online platform, accessible anywhere and anytime around the world. This guide has explained the types of cloud storage, advantage-disadvantage, best service providers, and much more.
This article will help you learn about the cloud and make you understand which cloud solution is better for your business.
What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is a data-storage service model in which digital data such as documents, files, photos, videos, and other media files are stored on remote storage systems. Where you can manage, maintain, and backup files using a network ―basically the internet. To avail of this type of cloud storage service, you are required to pay on the consumption base or monthly rate. With accessible user interfaces, multi-tenancy, metered resources, and high scalability―Cloud Storage is based on virtualized storage infrastructure. Cloud Storage service enables its user to access the data anywhere and anytime.
How Does Cloud Storage Work?
Cloud is a virtual data storage system. As a user, when you select a specific vendor and plan, they set up the credential, capacity, and data volume limit in your account over a network. Cloud service providers manage and handle such operations remotely, away from the user's location. It comes with scalability, which means it offers end-user or applications a feature to scale according to their size requirement. The cloud generally operates through web-based APIs implemented remotely with in-house cloud storage infrastructure.
As per the user's need, the cloud is set up, which means a user can go with a dedicated server or shared plan. Either way, the data server is assigned via the internet. The end-user sends files to the data servers, which forwards the message to different data servers. The task is done manually or in an automated system, using an internet connection. Once the data is stored in the data server, it is then accessed with the help of a web-based interface, at any times.
Three Types of Cloud Storage
There are mainly three types of cloud storage solutions available for small or large-scale organizations ―object storage, files storage, and block storage. Here is a brief introduction to each of them.
1. Object Storage
Object storage, in the IT industry, emerged back in the 1990s. The main focus of designing this storage model was to serve scalability options for high-performance computing research. And now, as we can see, cloud storage services are growing and scalable, making object storage a great choice to choose from.
Many tech-savvy professionals believe that object storage is a flexible solution, which is true. Object Storage enables users to keep their data for as long as they want, and data retrieval is pretty straightforward. Moreover, you can save massive data sets and files with Object Storage without hassle.
Object storage stores data as objects, which have three components:
-Data stored in a file -Metadata associated with the data file -Unique identifier
2. File Storage
As the name alludes, File Storage is when data is stored in files. Files storage comes with a hierarchical system, which means that information is stored in files, then these files in folders, and more. To understand it with a real-world example, you can head over to your Personal Computer (PC), where you keep your data in files and folders―which is used with network-attached storage (NAS).
In the File Storage cloud model, locating the data and files is approachable because folders are arranged in directories and subdirectories. This, of course, makes the retrieval and accessing process effortless ―thanks to the hierarchical format.
As a result to that, files stored in the File Storage cloud service are convenient to name, rename, delete, edit, and more. File Storage cloud service is the perfect option for unstructured data and shared files.
3. Block Storage
Block Storage is another well-known and prominent cloud storage service that is fast, efficient, and comes with low latency. In the Block Storage solution, data and files are divided into many sections and stored in a system where they can be physically distributed. This is why it is called blocks, which simply means to split data into smaller units.
Each block is set up with a unique identifier, making the system track and retrieves the data quickly. Many cloud enterprises use the Block Storage system to manage their workloads. The possible use cases include VM Disks, high-performance database storage, media rendering, and scale-out analytics.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Storage
The cloud storage model is becoming very popular and is one of the best storage environments for many big enterprises. According to the report of Statista, 30 percent of all corporate data was saved on the cloud platforms in 2015, and in 2022, the number has increased to 50 percent. Undoubtedly, the cloud industry is growing rapidly, adding a considerable amount of perks to the IT realm. MarketsandMarkets says that by 2025, the cloud storage market is expected to be worth $137.3 billion.
Here are the significant benefits and challenges of using a cloud network.
Advantages of Cloud Storage
Ease of access and flexibility: With Cloud Storage platforms, you can access the data “anywhere” and “anytime” in the world using an active internet connection. This means your information is not limited to one location or device. Without much hassle, you and the person you shared the credentials with can read and go through the data on their device from a different location.
Remote management: By Managed Service Providers (MSPs) or internal IT teams, the cloud platforms offer the remote management option. The dedicated support team can troubleshoot the real-time issues without being present on-site. This means you only need to let them know, and the team will responsibly assist you.
Fast scalability: Out of the many cloud benefits, rapid scalability is one of the significant benefits. You can equip new resources with only a few clicks without looking for additional infrastructure. This feature helps businesses continue their organizational operations during exceptional strikes out of the ordinary incensement in data volume.
Redundancy for backup: Data redundancy represents that timely backups are stored in different locations. This means cloud storage platforms use an effective backup mechanism that saves the same data in multiple locations. When facing a natural accident, disaster, or cyberattack, you can restore your information which is kept secure in the cloud.
Cost-saving solution: The cloud storage platform comes with cost-saving solutions, which means it can save you a significant amount of cost in the storage facilities, power supply, hardware equipment, and personnel. Set up a cloud service according to your business needs, and you're good to go.
Disadvantages of Cloud Storage
Security: Data security is one of the most concerning factors when looking for a cloud storage option. And after all, data security is the need of the hour. There is no control over how the data is managed and stored once data leaves a company's premises.
Outage and downtime risk: The outage and downtime can be a major risk when using cloud platforms managed by external providers. Rendering the high-performance applications and data stored in these cloud storage can suffer an outage risk.
Cost: The cloud can be a costly option if you―as the company―need a lot of cloud storage capacity. Also, if the company transfers the critical data back and forth on a regular basis, the monthly cost can be high.
Best Cloud Storage Service Providers
When talking about best cloud storage service providers in the market, several vendors are available online, including traditional storage vendors. Here we have mentioned some of the well-known and well-established brands.
Pro Tip: Before picking up any random cloud service provider (which is widely loved or everyone is using), you should pay attention to your business requirement. Check the multiple cloud services in order to test the cost, plan, and file-uploading limit or hidden terms.
Amazon Web Servicess Google and Microsoft Azure Dell EMC Hewlett Packard Enterprise Hitachi Data Systems IBM NetApp Box Dropbox Google Drive iCloud
The Bottom Line
Even if the cloud platforms are coming up with significant changes, all-new features, and quick customer support, data security is one of the essential concerns. In data processing and storage, the cloud plays an influential role; however, massive data breaches and security risks will also be there in the future. So, in this case, cloud storage could be a second option for many businesses. However, the future is unpredictable, so if the number of data breaches increases, the cloud platforms will also build a solid algorithm to save their customer's data.
Keeping this in mind, will cloud storage survive or become the first choice in the coming age? Well, no one knows. On this note, choosing the right platform is the important decision that you should make. Also, check the pros and cons of using cloud computing technologies. You can read cloud guides available on the internet to understand which cloud service is better for your business needs.