Cloud storage is a remote storage of data on the servers of the service provider, through which applications, servers and users access file system information by sharing them.
Thus, instead of organizing and maintaining your own data center, you can simply turn to a service provider who will provide storage, security and unhindered access to data, as well as regular server maintenance by professional administrators, and save a significant amount of time and money.
The cloud for storing information is organized in a tree-structured hierarchy of directories with intuitive access. The system allows an infinite number of times to create, modify, write and delete files, as well as read data and arrange them according to your needs. At the same time, you can set access permissions for individual users and groups, which allows you to control access to information and its security.
Benefits of cloud storage
Cloud data storage has a number of advantages over stationary ones:
- Saving time and money. Remote storage of information allows you to minimize operating costs and completely avoid capital investments, since to create your own server for storing information, you will need not only to allocate a separate room for its placement, but also to purchase expensive equipment in the form of servers, racks, cooling systems, additional drives, as well as special software and hire administrators for maintenance, preventive maintenance and installation of updates. With this saved time and resources, you can direct more business-critical processes and actions.
- Reliability. The cloud storage is maintained by professional security engineers and administrators of the provider, and regular updates. For the safety of client information, space on the server is reserved with a margin, and the servers on which the data are stored are distributed across several cities and countries at once, so that access to them can be obtained even in a force majeure situation.
- Complete security. Providers’ data processing centers are located in separate rooms with limited access, constant security, control systems, video surveillance, fire alarms and backup power. The DBMS is reliably protected not only by individual settings of access rights to accounts, but also by a reliable encryption system when loading, unloading and storing files.
- Availability. Sharing information does not require changes to program codes and complex settings for integration with services, and data management can be carried out both through the API and through the built-in console or clear graphical interfaces. At the same time, it becomes possible to significantly simplify most of the business processes, because employees can use cloud storage even from home, and the loss of repositories or important documents is completely excluded.
- Scaling. Data storage on the Internet allows you to increase the available space almost at lightning speed by connecting additional servers. In physical storage, scaling is possible only if additional space and expensive equipment are allocated. Moreover, only consumed resources are paid for, and there is no need to pay for additional space in advance. Fees can also be flexible depending on the frequency of data access.
How cloud storage is used
The cloud for storing files and data can be used for various purposes, the most common of which are the following:
- Creation of backup copies. Cloud file storages are compatible with databases, so they are often used to create backups during updates. At the same time, the backup setup will be quite simple, and the data will be reliably protected due to the distribution of copies at once across several data centers.
- Software testing and development. During the development process for collaboration, many environments are duplicated, and excess data is subsequently deleted. Therefore, software developers often use cloud resources that can be quickly and easily integrated with different applications.
- Shared access. Team members of testers or developers are often located in different locations and even countries. In the case of storing data on the company’s internal servers, a VPN is needed to access them, while cloud storage greatly simplifies this process.
- Migration of information to the cloud. It allows you to significantly simplify the maintenance of your own infrastructure and is easily organized by special services.
- Big Data. Storing even small amounts of data on a local server is quite expensive, while the BigData cloud server is not only cheaper, but also has high bandwidth, the ability to customize queries without fetching data, and minimal load delays.
Also, the data storage can be used for the following purposes:
- recording and storing large amounts of information, for example, recordings from CCTV cameras;
- as a repository of content for multimedia and educational resources, public databases;
- storing information on gaming platforms;
- as a server for hosting databases of static sites, blogs, internet portals and shops;
- for content distribution streams (server for video hosting);
- for archiving, storing and further analytics of large amounts of information;
- for machine learning using large datasets.
Types of cloud storage
Storing data of various types in the cloud requires special conditions. So it is inappropriate to store together archives of corporate documents, recordings from cameras or Big Data arrays, so the types of cloud storage are chosen for specific tasks.
Block data storage
Block storage assumes the division of recorded files into equal blocks, each of which has its own location identifier, from which, when requested, the system collects a whole document.
These types of storage are used:
- for integration with corporate databases;
- with an indefinite amount of information – object storage is connected as a hard disk with direct data recording, and if there is not enough free space, there is always an opportunity to buy additional space from the provider, without moving and changing settings;
- at the critical value of high I / O data rate and low download latency.
These types of storage have the following advantages:
- separation of user environments with the ability to set separate accesses;
- minimum boot latency – the operating system detects this type of storage system as a disk and can connect to it in a standard way.
Disadvantages of block-type cloud storage:
- quite high cost (you need to pay for the entire allocated space, regardless of whether the information is located in it);
- limited information management due to lack of metadata;
- complex configuration that requires choosing a file system, setting separate permissions, backing up and managing different versions.
File storage is the most understandable for an ordinary user, Information is stored in files in the form of a logical hierarchy:
To find the required file, you need to know the full path to it, but at the same time, access can be obtained both from the server and from a PC.
File storage is used for:
- storage of large amounts of structured data;
- software development and data analysis, in cases where simultaneous access is required with the ability to make changes;
- home directories.
The advantages of such a system include:
- intuitive work with files, since the data is organized in a tree similar to their standard arrangement in popular operating systems such as Windows;
- fast and clear uploading of information to the cloud via separate local folders or a web interface;
- the ability to customize access rights to individual files or trees.
The main disadvantages are:
- impossibility of significant scaling;
- complication of the hierarchy and permissions with large amounts of information, and as a result, the slowdown of the system.
Object data storage
Universal storage for various types of information, including media content (photos, films, videos), logs, accounting reports, programs, presentations, websites (static).
Storage is carried out with a set of properties, including:
- a unique identifier in the form of a 128-bit universal or global number;
- metadata – information for searching an object by coordinates, size, author or file name and other necessary information.
Such storages are used for a variety of purposes, including:
- recording large amounts of data, such as backup logs;
- archiving backup data and large content such as video recordings;
- distribution and storage of content of various applications, including disk images, software updates, images, including with the ability to use plugins;
- storage of static content in E-commerce.
The advantages of such a system are:
- unlimited scaling due to flat structure and lack of hierarchy with the ability to customize metadata for specific tasks;
- convenient access to data through applications, parallel access of various protocols and APIs;
- high reliability and safety at an affordable cost of storage.
The disadvantages are:
- the complexity in the naming of objects (128-bit identifier), which requires additional software for some information to create organizational charts;
- the impossibility of writing files by dragging and dropping – exclusively through the API or a special graphical interface of the provider.
Having understood what cloud data storage is, we can confidently say that it is an excellent alternative to your own storage servers, which allows you to avoid significant capital expenditures and significantly reduce operating costs. All work on administration, updating and backup is carried out by the provider company, providing additional round-the-clock technical support and allowing you to scale the storage at any time.
Unihost offers a variety of reliable and affordable cloud storage solutions for any task and need. A wide range of services, powerful and secure servers, a team of the best administrators and developers will take care of a reliable and understandable organization of your data storage, and additional options and services will help you quickly and easily develop your online projects without being distracted by operational tasks.