Saturday, November 26, 2022

Choosing the Right Cloud Storage for Enterprises

By Swapnil Mishra - June 27, 2022 4 mins read

With storage-as-a-service, the cloud is supposed to make everything easier. While the cloud has taken care of the infrastructure specifics, there are still several options that significantly impact performance, costs, and scale.

Storage has always been a complicated subject. Teams of dedicated storage admins would pick between block (SAN), file (NAS), or direct-attached (DAS) storage, with each option leading to more details like HDD vs. SSD.

Unlike buying an on-premises storage array, where customers historically had to compromise on the best storage for a task and then live with that decision for up to five years, the cloud’s rate of innovation and offerings is constant. To get the most out of cloud storage, IT administrators must stop thinking about storage volumes and start thinking about data. 

By segmenting datasets, organizations may select the appropriate resources and, more significantly, pivot data to a superior cloud resource as the cloud vendors deliver new services or if they discover their prior selection was under- or over-utilized. Here are some possibilities:

Object storage

Object storage is designed specifically for cloud use. Its global namespace, which functions similarly to a universal file directory, makes it appear that all unstructured data from many devices and locales are stored in a single area. Object storage is ideal for web-scale access to unstructured data since it is accessible over HTTP rather than file protocols like NFS and SMB. Object storage is exposed to apps via a URL, and storage functions like read, write, and delete are available via simple commands, making it simple for programs to consume.

Key considerations for choosing object storage could be that it often has poorer speed and higher latency than file or block storage, resulting in an unlimited scale and simplicity trade-off. The immutability of object storage prevents data alteration or deletion for a predetermined period, which is an effective ransomware defense strategy. Being available from all major cloud vendors in various performance and price categories, it is also the de facto standard for analytics, AI, and machine learning applications due to its simplicity, scale, and low cost. For scale and simplicity, new cloud-based computing functions default to object storage.

Also Read: Challenges of Demonstrating Cloud Success for CIOs

File storage

File storage is given via the standard NFS and SMB protocols for unstructured data, sometimes known as Network Attached Storage or NAS. Existing applications are frequently preferred over new “born in the cloud” applications. Files often have better performance and lower latency than objects, but they have limited capacity regarding the number of files and volume size. Compared to the global namespace that object storage provides, file access is optimized for local or corporate networks. Organizations can consider file storage as it is particularly adaptable, as it can be stored on an SSD for high performance or a dense SATA drive for lesser costs. Customers can opt to mirror data (synchronous or asynchronously) to another file store or use a backup tool to secure data saved on file storage. Many file storage alternatives also include a snapshot feature for quick recoveries. Due to its robust performance and ease of use, file storage has become the preferred on-premises for all except the most performance-intensive workloads. 

Block storage

Block storage is the equivalent of a local hard disc or direct-attached storage, whereas object and file storage are abstractions on top of storage resources that can boost scale and simplicity. When implemented over a network, block storage is referred to as a storage area network (SAN). Block storage has the lowest latency and most significant performance because it is dedicated to a particular application or server without an abstraction layer.

Block storage is appropriate for applications and structured datasets like databases where performance is a top priority.  It is used in industries like fintech to achieve ultra-low latency. Data protection is frequently implemented by the application that uses the storage on block storage.

Storage is a hotbed for rapid innovation, and the options are growing in complexity. Object storage is the cloud’s incumbent; once considered “cheap and deep” and only for archive or static data, it now boasts rather good performance. Before and after migrating to the cloud, it is crucial to analyze the data to determine the requirements.

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Swapnil Mishra

Swapnil Mishra is a Business News Reporter with OnDot Media. She is a journalism graduate with 5+ years of experience in journalism and mass communication. Previously Swapnil has worked with media outlets like NewsX, MSN, and News24.

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