Block Storage vs Object Storage – Which One to Choose for Your Business?

Businesses today struggle to find a way of storing unprecedented amounts of data cost-effectively and securely — while ensuring moderated access — and look for techniques which are scalable and flexible.

Each bit of data, be it images, text, customer information, employee records, financial documentation, custom applications or big data analytics, requires you to decide where and how to store this data securely.

The days of simply storing files to a disc on a single server have long since passed due to former approach’s incapability to scale and adapt to today’s complicated deployments, containers, and ephemeral architecture.

According to a survey by Accenture, 79% of businesses agree that organizations which don’t embrace big data (huge amounts of structured & unstructured data) may lose their competitive advantage and might even go extinct.

Managing and protecting data is a core business responsibility. And for that, an organization’s data storage must be affordable, fast, dependable, secure, and should be future-ready.

As new technologies and server workloads demand massive storage and faster memory, the questions surrounding which storage option to choose have multiplied. The storage concerns are capably addressed by cloud storage solutions as detailed below.

Top 7 Reasons Why Organizations Must Shift to Cloud Storage

Opting for the cloud is a popular strategy for businesses aiming to reduce expenses, improve productivity, and guarantee that employees can access systems and data from any location.

IDC estimates that by 2023, more than 500 million digital apps and services will be created and deployed using cloud-native methodologies, making it even more crucial for businesses to reconsider how they handle data storage.

Cloud technology can improve business operations as organizations switch from servers to cloud providers. Following are some reasons why organizations move to cloud to revamp their business strategy:

  1. Save Expenses – With cloud storage, there is no need to invest huge amounts in physical storage servers. You do not need in-house specialized IT staff for managing storage servers — translating into more cost savings.
  2. Ensure Secure Storage – Unlike physical storage servers which are susceptible to attacks, cloud ensures data security.
  3. Ensure Optimum Resource Utilization – With cloud servers, you avoid either over or under utilization of resources.
  4. Highly Scalable – With cloud storage, organizations may instantly alter performance and retention parameters, add or remove capacity as needed, and only pay for storage that they use.
  5. Reduce Time to Deployment – Infrastructure shouldn’t ever hold back development teams from acting when they are ready to. Cloud storage allows IT to precisely deliver the resources whenever required, by remotely accessing the data via the web, from anywhere they want. Instead of having to maintain storage systems, this enables IT to concentrate on resolving complicated application-related issues.
  6. Enhanced Governance and Durability – Cloud storage offers improved governance and observability capabilities, which makes storage environments more resilient.
  7. Robust Fault Tolerance – Cloud storage offers fault-tolerance, which helps in easy failure recovery at lower costs, while following the best industry standards.

The cloud has drastically transformed how organizations store and retrieve data. This is especially useful when companies need to recover swiftly after an unplanned event like a data loss disaster.

A study by the Diffusion Group found that 60% of businesses that witness non-recoverable data loss tend to close within six months after the disaster.

Now, when we have looked into “why”, let’s see “what” are the core services that cloud providers have created to meet the storage requirements of modern applications deployments. Such types of Storage primarily fall into the categories of object storage and block storage.

block vs object

Fig 1. Infographic depicting the benefits and use cases of Block and Object Storage

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Block Storage in a Nutshell and How It is A Boon for Businesses

In Block Storage, the data is separated into fixed blocks, and each block is stored separately with a different identification (as shown in the image below). The blocks have an option to be stored in various settings; for instance, one block could be in Windows and another in Linux.

When a user retrieves a block, the storage system rejoins the blocks into a single unit. Block storage is the default method of storing data on hard drives and frequently updating data. Blocks can be stored on storage area networks (SANs) or in cloud storage configurations. Click here to know more about Block Storage.

how block storage works

Fig 2. Block Storage — Data stored in fixed sized blocks without any metadata attached.

For many years, block storage systems have been a mainstay in the technology sector. There are a host of reasons why businesses prefer block storage over other available options.

Also Read: Hybrid Cloud Vs Multi Cloud

Here are 4 major reasons, stating why block storage is a boon for businesses:

Fast When all blocks are kept locally or close to one another, they become easily accessible and cause low latency rate. Therefore, being one of the fastest storage options, block storage is one of the most common choices for business-critical data due to its high performing nature and quick data retrieval capability.

Reliable Block storage is dependable because blocks are held in self-contained units, which reduces the failure rate.

Easy to modify When a user modifies a file stored in block storage, the system simply needs to alter the particular block that was modified. In contrast, the complete object must be overwritten in object storage.

Operating system bootability A SAN enables direct booting of operating systems from block storage (assuming the server BIOS supports this option).

Use Cases for Block Storage

Block storage systems are the chosen technology for businesses because of their comparatively swift and dependable performance.

The main use cases for block storage are:

  • Databases – Many businesses utilize block storage for transactional databases because it performs well and is simple to update.
  • Dynamic services – Block storage is a very popular storage option for email servers, streaming content, and media servers, due to its high performance and dependability. It is also a great option as temporary storage for AI/ML tasks.
  • Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) volumes – Businesses commonly use block storage to install VMFS throughout the organization. To store the VMFS, you can quickly create and then format a block-based storage volume using block storage and then multiple virtual computers can then be created by attaching a physical data center to that block. Additionally, users can also share data using that native operating system by creating a block-based volume, installing an operating system, and attaching it to that volume.

How Object Storage is Changing the Business Landscape

Object Storage is a kind of data storage in which each unit of data (referred to as an “object”) is maintained separately. These objects can include almost any type of data, including text, audio, video, PDFs, website data, and other file types.

Object storage does not keep all the data in a single file, and additionally has metadata, which is data about the file that aids in processing. Users can create both the key and value for custom metadata linked with an object or they can set the value for fixed-key information with object storage.

Each item has a distinct number, which can be used to access it instead of a file name and path. These objects can be easily stored locally on hard drives or cloud servers.

how object storage works

Fig 3. Object Storage- Data stored in scalable buckets with metadata attached.

Top 4 Reasons to Opt for Object Storage

Object storage has become increasingly popular among businesses in recent years, replacing on-site tape storage systems to improve usability and security.

Let us look at some more reasons to opt for Object Storage:

  1. Better management of unstructured data The format of object storage makes it simple to store and manage large amounts of unstructured data, which is crucial for big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
  2. Cost-effective consumption model You only pay for the object storage you use, as opposed to paying in advance for a certain amount of storage space as is typical with file storage.
  3. Unlimited scalability Considering that object storage operates on a consumption model, users are free to add as much extra storage as they require, up to and including petabytes of storage.
  4. Utilizes metadata Since the metadata is kept alongside the objects, users may immediately extract useful info from the existing data and more quickly find the objects they’re looking for.

Use Cases for Object Storage

Large-scale data storage with only periodic access by enterprises is typically one of the main use cases for object storage.

Let’s look at some more use cases in which object storage is most often used:

  • IoT data management – Object storage is just right for the fast-growing amounts of IoT data being acquired and managed, especially in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors. This is due to its ability to expand quickly and retrieve data with ease.
  • Email – Since object storage is scalable and affordable, organizations that must keep huge volumes of emails for historical and compliance reasons frequently choose it as their main repository.
  • Backup and recovery – Organizations frequently use object storage for storing their backup and recovery data.

Block vs Object Storage — Know Which One to Opt For

In Block Storage, each data block is placed in structured, fixed chunks for simple indexing and search, making it highly structured, whereas, in Object Storage, there is no format or framework for storing data — making it unstructured. Each type of storage is highly effective for particular use cases and workflows.

By understanding their specific needs, organizations can select the necessary storage type that fits most of their use cases. The image below highlights the differences in characteristics between the two storage options:

block vs object storage

Fig 4. Table highlighting the main differentiating features of both types of storage.

Also Read: What is Public Cloud

Why Choose Ace for Cloud Storage

Which type of data storage is best for your company? The answer to it largely depends on your unique use case and organizational needs, including data, people, access kinds, finances, and application requirements.

Analyzing your data and how frequently your users access it will help you choose the best type of data storage to utilize. The optimum data storage type should then be incorporated into an IT infrastructure strategy based on those needs.

At Ace, we offer Block Storage starting at just $0.1/GB per month and Object Storage starting at $0.01/GB per month. Along with best services, we provide affordable prices, scalable solutions and hassle-free payment methods.

Ace uses open source Ceph storage which has high performance with vast scalability of kernel modules and can maintain high performance with low latency and minimal downtime of 0.01%. It can also run on any hardware giving you full control over your server setup.

Additionally, Network, GPU, Storage, Databases, Firewall, CPU/RAM and Licenses are enclosed in one flat price across all data centers.

With 14+ years of experience and 15+ awards won, we are sure to provide you with the best. Sign up today and get $300 credits free. To learn more about how we can help you transform your data with the best market price, contact us.

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About Nolan Foster

With 20+ years of expertise in building cloud-native services and security solutions, Nolan Foster spearheads Public Cloud and Managed Security Services at Ace Cloud Hosting. He is well versed in the dynamic trends of cloud computing and cybersecurity.
Foster offers expert consultations for empowering cloud infrastructure with customized solutions and comprehensive managed security.

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