Storing massive data in a traditional environment is expensive. Let’s explore the cost-effective unstructured data storage solution we have in the market.
Thanks to cloud storage, which makes it easy and lowers the cost without compromising quality & security.
Object storage can be used to store any object like photos, video, audio, pdf, documents, static files, etc. This can also be used to host a static website or for backup purposes.
A good thing about cloud storage is you can upload and download data from anywhere on the Internet, and it also gives you the option to restrict it. So you have both options to choose from based on your requirement. Another worth mentioning is that you pay for what you use.
What is Cloud Object storage?
Object storage typically saves the data without any file hierarchy, with each piece of data tagged separately with its identifier and metadata.
This unstructured data can be photos, videos, academic papers, web pages, etc.
For instance, assume all your hard disk files are stored without any folders or subfolders. Next, you have each file’s metadata and identifier to search and have specific data. That would be what an object-storage-based hard disk would look like.
Now imagine all that data on something like Google Drive accessible with just an internet connection. This would be cloud object storage.
This is generally a low-cost solution for mostly static data, which doesn’t need many writes compared to reads like a streaming service. In addition, its scalability knows no bounds, unlike file and block storage.
The main differentiator of object storage is the way data is stored. Without any file structure, everything is kept in what is known as a data lake, pool, or bucket across multiple data centers. Subsequently, one can retrieve information with an application programming interface (API) based on the identifiers and metadata.
But since it’s tailored for static data, it’s not meant for continuous modification or blazing-fast retrieval.
How does object storage work?
As already stated, you have everything in a single data bucket, with each data point tagged uniquely.
These tags are known as identifiers and metadata. You can think identifier as a title, whereas metadata can tell you about the file type, last modification, file size, etc.
And since directly interacting with a data lake can be complicated, you have API calls and transfer protocols like HTTP/HTTPS to fetch data.
Most importantly, one isn’t tied to a single data center but can store information globally with limitless scalability.
What are the benefits of cloud object storage?
There are many advantages of cloud object storage over file and block storage systems.
The first is scalability. You can add as much as you need without caring about hitting capacity ceilings. Besides, it’s mostly pay-as-you-go and low-cost. This means you pay only how much you use and for data transfer based on vendor policies.
Moreover, it’s kind of everything in one single data pool. This makes for simple search operations supported with identifiers and metadata one can easily customize.
Use Cases of Cloud Object Storage
Cloud object storage shines for use cases where you need to store huge data volumes for global accessibility.
Sensor data: It can have multiple applications in sensory data capture, including the internet of things, medical history, academic research, etc.
Scientific Applications: Any data-heavy scenario like machine learning, big data analytics, etc.
Backups and recovery: Low cost of cloud object storage makes it ideal for backup and archive applications. In addition, the uncomplicated retrieval paves the way for easy recovery.
Media storage: Use it for storing static media such as audio, video, images, gifs, etc., and couple it with a CDN for global delivery.
Cloud-native apps: Object storage is best suited to store data for cloud-native applications. It helps them break free from the traditional monolithic application development and realize the benefits of greater scalability, effortless development, lower costs, etc.
If you are looking for self-hosted S3-compliant storage, then you should try MinIO.
Let’s take a look at some of the best cloud storage services.
BTW, in this article, I am going to cover object storage solutions for applications. For personal and business use, you should check out Dropbox, Google Workspace, or other cloud storage solutions.
If you are already working in the cloud, this is pretty much guessable. One of the famous and pioneers in providing object storage.
Don’t bother about storage limitations; you can upload any amount of data.
AWS S3 provides 99.999999999% durability and gives you the option to upload/download data using a browser, API.
There are three types of storage classes offered.
Standard – a low-latency general-purpose storage type, perfect for content distribution, big data analytics, etc.
Standard IA (infrequent access) – If the content isn’t accessed frequently, you can go for IA. IA costs less than standard and is suitable for keeping long-term data, which is not accessible daily.
Glacier – lower cost than IA and suitable for data archiving.
AWS provides lifecycle management to transition objects from one storage class to another. S3 is on a regional basis, meaning you can keep your data near your customer and visitors for faster content distribution and uploads.
And if you are thinking about DR, then it’s covered. It supports cross-region replication, which can be used for backup. Don’t forget to check out security best-practices if you decide to go with AWS S3.
Google Cloud Storage
Low-latency storage by Google for small to enterprise-level of businesses. Google offers four types of storage.
Similar to S3, GCS offers a data life-cycle too for moving data from one storage type to another. or you can also configure it to delete it.
There could be a scenario when you want to keep data only for a specific period.
Ex, the below condition will delete any data older than 30 days in a bucket.
Considering Google Cloud has multiple data centers worldwide, you can keep your data in various cities in Asia, Europe, and the USA.
Recently GCS has introduced the requester pays feature where the requester bears the data requests cost. Under the GCP free tier, you get 5 GB of regional storage to play around with.
A newly introduced storage service by DigitalOcean called Spaces has an in-built CDN.
Currently, it is available in the following four locations.
You can either use a drag-n-drop interface or programmatically through API or CLI to control the data.
Some of the common usages of spaces are:
Web resources like HTML, image, CSS, js or to host the static site
Keeping a backup, data archive
DO Spaces is S3 compliant and supports CORS. If you are looking for a fixed-rate monthly, then DigitalOcean would be one of the cheapest ones.
Bunny Edge Storage is a cloud storage solution developed for a global audience. Once the files are uploaded, you can access any files from anywhere. It helps you deliver content across four continents and offers 5X faster downloads and latencies from traditional cloud storage.
Bunny Edge Storage can replicate your data, so you don’t miss any data during datacenter failover. In addition, it directly integrates with Bunny CDN to let you experience better performance and save costs due to the internal connection between the CDN services and storage.
You can upload your data using HTTP API, FTP, or file manager and get your files in the cloud to download them anywhere you want. Bunny Edge Storage is designed for better performance through infinite scalability, strategic positioning, and direct CDN integration. You can also check the benchmark against traditional storage providers.
Talking about global latency, the average value for Bunny Edge Storage is 41ms which is the lowest among others. In the global throughput challenge, the average value is 58.3 MB/s which is the highest among other providers.
Start your FREE trial today by choosing any plans starting from $0.01/GB per month for Europe. You can also select two, three, or four areas at once.
Vultr offers high-performance object storage at $5 per month, including 250GB storage and 1000GB bandwidth. It leverages NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) caching to ensure that frequently-access data is available at a faster speed.
Scale up or down as you grow and manage through API or S3-compliant tools. Vultr clones the data three times for better reliability.
Cloud Files by Rackspace is powered by OpenStack to provide scalable cloud storage. It tightly integrates with AKAMAI CDN to serve content faster worldwide.
You can keep the file private or public.
Rackspace provides unique features like a temporary URL, which is valid only for a specific period. A perfect solution where you want to sell digital media and want a user to download it within a defined time.
Don’t like being charged for moving out your data? Try Cloudflare’s R2–a global cloud object storage solution with ZERO egress charges.
Cloudflare presents many ways for developers to access their R2 storage–in-worker API, S3 API, and public buckets.
Besides, the integration with the renowned Cloudflare CDN means effortless worldwide delivery with the least possible latencies.
Additionally, there isn’t any vendor lock-in. So, you’re free to move data to multiple clouds easily with S3-compatible API.
R2 pricing depends on the overall storage and the type of operations you perform. You can either read data (Class B) or change its state (Class A) and get charged accordingly.
The best part is the presence of a free tier that grants 10 GB/month storage, 1 million Class A, and 10 million Class B operations.
Cloud storage by IBM offers server-side encryption and SSL/TLS in transit. Data can be controlled using a web interface, RESTful API, SDK.
By using SDK, it enables you to use storage not just with IBM cloud services but with other platforms too. There are two resiliency options.
Regional – store data in multiple data centers but the same region
Cross-region – store data in multiple regions, useful if you are looking for region-based HA.
IBM offers four types of storage.
Standard – general-purpose data, accessed frequently
Vault – data accessed once a month or less
Cold vault – Occasionally accessed data for long-term data retention
Flex – Dynamic data, a mix of data accessed frequently and infrequently
Under the lite plan, you can get it started with 25 GB of data for FREE.
Alibaba Cloud OSS (Object storage service) offers a 99.9% availability guarantee. Costing is based on what you use, without an upfront or long-term commitment.
Alibaba storage is capable of handling more than 50,000 requests per second, and it got in-built multi-level security to protect from DDoS, and unauthorized login attempts.
Azure Blob Storage
Store any unstructured data with Microsoft Azure blog storage. One of the more considerable advantages of Azure is its location.
Ex: if you are looking for multiple datacenter locations in India, then at the moment, Azure got better coverage.
Azure blog storage is optimized for data lakes. They also got other types of storage, like File & Archive, to suit additional requirements.
As the founder of Geekflare, I’ve helped millions to excel in the digital realm. Passionate about technology, I’m on a mission to explore the world and amplify growth for professionals and businesses alike.