Types of Data Storage Compatible with Cloud Services

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage refers to the process of organizing and storing data that is in the cloud. A cloud is a network of remote servers which are accessible over an active Internet connection. Cloud-based storage enables its users to access, maintain and store their data from any place with a device that is connected to the Internet. Hence, access to this data is not confined to a single location or a single device, which was the case before the advent of cloud computing.

Users of cloud storage rent storage space from cloud storage vendors. This rented storage space is available on networks of remote data servers. Cloud vendors are paid by users for services related to running applications, hosting and backing up data to the cloud. These users have usage limits, which can be changed as per their storage requirements and plans.

To digress, cloud technology is used in cloud hosting, which is a type of web hosting. Web hosting is a service that is provided by web hosting companies for the purpose of making a website accessible. Server space as well as relevant services and technologies are made available through it which keep a website up and running. There are various types of web hosting services and different terms are used for each type, such as “Linux Dedicated Server Hosting”, “Windows Shared Hosting”, “WordPress Hosting” etc.

Advantages of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage offers many benefits, such as, scalability, disaster recovery and data accessibility.

This type of data storage allows enterprises to scale their storage requirements without having to incur extra expense that is required for upgrading existing on premise infrastructure. The scalability provided by it, saves valuable time and effort as well as money. Disaster recovery with regard to data is another important benefit of cloud storage. The most important advantage offered by it, which makes it so popular, is the fact that cloud storage makes it possible for users to access their files from any location and device as well as share these files easily as and when required.

Storage of Files in the Cloud

There are three main types of data storage that cloud services are compatible with. These are block storage, object storage and file storage. Now let us discuss these in more detail.

In block storage, data is organized into storage volumes that are known as ‘blocks’. Each block is tagged with an identifier that is unique and has files that are arranged with regard to similarity in the size of data. Each of these volumes is treated by the controlling operating system as a separate hard drive. It allows these to be stored in the most convenient environment. Data organization and retrieval is made easier by block storage, especially for organizations that have huge amounts of data. On the downside, it is usually a less cost-effective option and encounters metadata constraints.

File storage refers to a hierarchical system of organizing data. In it folders of data exist within directories and subdirectories. Files that are inside each folder are tagged with metadata, which makes it easy to identify and retrieve them. When this process is used for a huge amount of data, then it gives rise to complications. File storage’s benefit is that it is one of the most affordable cloud storage solutions. It is easy to keep track of this straightforward system but it doesn’t scale up easily, which is its major drawback.

Another type of data storage is object storage. Distinct units that are known as “objects” are created in object storage. Each of these contains unstructured data and metadata along with an ID that is unique. This type of storage renders data retrieval easier, when compared with that of block and file storage. Object storage makes this possible by storing objects in a flat address space, and not in a file directory. This enables metadata customization of a more complex nature. Object storage combines and provides the benefits of both, file as well as block storage. In object storage, users pay for the storage space that is required by them, which makes it a cost-effective option.  Moreover, it is scalable, which is another advantage that it provides.

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