How cloud storage works?
Data stored in the cloud makes the storage location transparent to the user and applications. The end user saves their data onto a local folder, however, the folder points to a logical namespace that is internally mapped to an end point that could be anywhere in the world. The user can access the storage remotely with an internet connection—which means they can retrieve or view their data from anywhere or any device.
When an application needs to access your data in the public or private cloud, it can do so through traditional storage protocols, such as Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI), Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), or Network File System (NFS) or Server Message Block (SMB). Or, it can access your data directly using an application programming interface, or API such as S3 or Swift.
The storage system that stores your data is a software-based unified storage solution built upon clustered, shared-nothing nodes to create a pool of resources. Storage controllers are virtualized and provide access to block-distributed data, files, and objects. This helps in scale-up non-disruptively by adding virtual resources to storage controllers and scale-out non-disruptively by adding physical nodes for predictable resource and performance growth. From there, deployment is automated. Enterprise-grade backup, ready to back up any workload.
The data you store on those off-site storage systems is often shared, or copied, to one or more sites. This creates redundancy and ensures that you can still access your data even if one of those sites malfunctions or shuts down for maintenance. In addition to protecting your data with multiple copies, features such as WORM (Write-Once, Read-Many) and immutability protect critical data against ransomware attacks.
What are the benefits of cloud storage?
The two biggest advantages of cloud storage are remote access to data from anywhere and near-infinite scalability. But those aren’t the only advantages. Others include:
- CAPEX cost savings – eliminates the need to buy and manage on-premises data storage infrastructure. Instead, pay for storage as you use in an OPEX Storage as a Service (STaaS) model
- Overall cost efficiency (TCO) – delivers capacity on demand with a pay-as-you-go pricing model
- Increased agility and speed – provides elasticity, so you can scale up or down as needed and meet peak demands without having to permanently purchase resources you might not need later
- Reduced administrative burden – frees your IT team from the daily tasks of procuring, installing, administering, and maintaining storage infrastructure
- Business continuity (Backup and DR) – because your data is stored off-site, it’s available in the event of an outage or natural disaster in your local area
- Increased accessibility and collaboration – users can share data and collaborate on files even when geographically separated
- Advanced analytics - leverage SaaS-based data analytics tools to perform artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning (ML) based on the structured and unstructured data that is stored in on-prem or cloud storage
What are the types of cloud storage?
There are three primary models of cloud storage:
1. Public cloud storage
For this type, storage resources (or server space) are abstracted from hardware and offered by a cloud services vendor. Public cloud storage can be used for files that you want to share with remote users—with providers that include Dropbox, Google Docs, and Apple iCloud. Or, it can be used to store data for business applications. The most commonly used providers for this type of public cloud storage are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Public cloud storage can also be accessed by applications using S3 API.
2. Private cloud storage
Some businesses opt for private cloud storage, which they can secure behind a firewall for close control over their data. Instead of residing on the internet at large like public cloud storage, private cloud storage can reside in the company’s own network and use virtualization to build capacity. This gives the business complete control over their on-premise private cloud data. Another option is to use a third-party cloud storage provider, who will create a cloud storage space off-site that is dedicated solely to your business through a private connection. Third-party providers are called managed service providers or MSPs. MSPs manage the storage infrastructure for your business against pre-agreed Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
3. Hybrid cloud storage
The hybrid cloud storage model combines public and private cloud storage for greater flexibility. Businesses can choose what data to store in the public cloud and what data to store in a private cloud. Typically, highly regulated information or sensitive data is stored in a private cloud, while less sensitive information or backups can go on the public cloud. In a hybrid environment, there needs to be some level of management and orchestration between them. Hybrid and multicloud platform solutions from Nutanix, such as Nutanix Clusters, can facilitate the movement and management of data between public and private cloud environments. Leveraging the Nutanix Cloud Platform, Nutanix Unified Storage is built for scale, performance, and integrated data security requirements of modern applications deployed on core, cloud, or edge. Nutanix Unified Storage is a software-defined storage platform that consolidates seamless access and management of siloed block, file, and object storage into a single platform. With Nutanix Unified Storage, customers can set policies to tier data to the public cloud. The policies can be based on the age of the data, compliance data, etc.