Storage has always been one of the more logical use cases for the cloud — it provides a cost-efficient and easily accessible environment with almost infinite scalability. The benefits have been particularly pronounced during the pandemic, allowing companies to ensure their mobile and remote employees can get the files they need, whenever and wherever they need them.
Research shows that more than half of all data now being creating is flowing into the cloud, and cloud storage has now surpassed the hard drive as the top budget line item in IT storage spending. According to recent analysis from ResearchAndMarkets, the cloud storage market value will grow from $46.12 billion in 2019 to $222.25 billion by 2027, representing a compound annual growth rate of 21.9 percent.
Storage costs compel most organizations to at least consider a cloud storage option. Industry studies show that once all the costs are included, in-house storage is at least five times more expensive to own and run per gigabyte than cloud storage. Cloud storage platforms allow organizations to offload the costs and management burdens of supporting physical hardware. The ability to scale capacity up or down on demand delivers additional savings by eliminating the need to provision excess capacity for anticipated growth.
Not all cloud storage platforms are the same, however. There are multiple types of cloud storage, and you need to choose one that best fits your operational needs. Here’s a brief look at four popular forms.
File storage is a popular cloud storage type for organizations that primarily want to enable file sharing among users. It’s based on the familiar hierarchical scheme of directories, folders, subfolders and files, which is readily familiar to users of all skill levels. This makes it simple for users to read, write, modify, organize and share files. When several people update or modify a file, cloud-based file syncing features ensure all changes are incorporated and organized in chronological order to ensure a “single source of truth.”
Block storage platforms provide raw storage capacity where data is saved in fixed-sized chunks called blocks. Each block has its own address, but no other metadata. This makes the blocks lean without much overhead, allowing them to be retrieved and manipulated quickly across multiple paths. It is commonly used to store databases or transactional data from enterprise applications such as ERP and accounting systems. Block storage in the cloud requires software that locates blocks by their unique address and organizes related blocks into complete files.
Unlike file storage systems that organize data in rigid, hierarchical schemes, object storage treats all files as unique objects stored in a flat organization of containers. This approach is favored by organizations that are dealing with growing amounts of unstructured data such as text documents, videos and images. It is estimated that about 80 percent of the data managed by the average company today is unstructured data, which will likely continue growing faster than traditional transaction-based data.
Hybrid cloud storage isn’t an exclusively cloud-based system, but an approach that combines both cloud and on-premises storage. Hybrid storage solutions support block, file and object storage, and make all on-premises and cloud resources appear as a single pool of storage. Data can be moved automatically from primary on-premises storage to the cloud — and then back again if need be. It also simplifies the process of “cloud bursting” storage for in-house workloads that may occasionally need the added capacity of a public cloud.
With minimal maintenance, easy accessibility and extreme scalability, cloud storage can create significant cost and operational benefits for any organization. However, it’s important to understand which type of cloud storage will best fit your business requirements. Verteks has storage and cloud experts can help you evaluate the options. Give us a call!