What is Object Storage?
Also known as object-based storage, object storage differs from other computer data storage architectures in that it lets you manage objects rather than file systems and data blocks. An “object” includes the data itself, some metadata, and a unique identifier. This data can be immediately accessed through APIs or http/https. In this way, the object storage safeguards the data. This data can also be replicated to multiple datacenters if needed.
Block storage typically offers higher performance than file storage because applications directly access data stored in volumes which are made up of a collection of blocks on disk. This eliminates the overhead of file systems and management. Unlike file storage architectures, the databases or operating systems accessing the volumes determine the storage management strategy, allocating storage for different applications, determining where the data goes, and tracking permissions and access control.
Compared to both architectures, object storage is far better suited for large amounts of ever-growing data. It’s much easier to find a specific data set in an object storage architecture. Because each object has its own unique identifier, you don’t need to manually search for a file within a directory. For very large data sets, businesses tend to prefer tobject storage with its better management at large scale and lower cost of storage. While file storage and block storage architectures can expand, their usability and simplicity decrease as the data grows into the multi-petabyte range.
Businesses of all sizes must wrangle enormous amounts of ever-growing data, and because growth—especially that of unstructured data—can be unpredictable, their storage solution of choice must be able to quickly and effortlessly scale on demand. With object storage, businesses aren’t just better equipped to store their data—they’re also better able to manage it, search through it, and therefore leverage it for better insights.
Not to mention, compared to its file and block storage predecessors, object storage isn’t limited by a hierarchical organization. Instead, data is organized in a flat plane, providing cleaner, more readily available access than other storage architectures can deliver. Plus, this flat environment is far more customizable—by number, attribute, and more.