Object Storage: cost-effective storage for large amounts of data
In today’s world, data is invaluable. However, storing it can be problematic and increasingly costly, especially for organizations that generate or aggregate large amounts of information.
In this context, the modern method of Object Storage stands out as a highly efficient, scalable and cost-effective solution. Not surprisingly, many cloud providers – global and local – are offering their customers a data storage service based on Object Storage.
This article explains why storing data in Object Storage is not only efficient, but also secure, and presents a few examples of use cases.
What is Object Storage?
Object Storage is a high-performance cloud computing service for the long-term storage of large amounts of data. The data, stored in a distributed system, is organized in the form of objects. In addition to a piece of data, each object contains metadata that describes it and is tagged with a unique identifier. This makes it easy to manage and access the data.
Object Storage also differs from other data storage methods in that it does not have a hierarchical or block structure (as in File and Block Storage, respectively). Object Storage has a flat structure that increases storage efficiency. The objects into which specific data is divided go to different disks in the cluster.
Object Storage is designed to store unstructured data that falls into the category of rarely modified (or never modified) and is unlikely to require real-time access. Examples include document or email archives, data and system backups, multimedia files, application data, login logs, and so on.
Benefits of using Object Storage
Scalability of Storage
One of the biggest advantages of Object Storage in the cloud is the unlimited scalability of storage. We are talking about petabytes of stored data. You can easily and quickly increase the allocated pool as your business grows, without having to buy more drives and upgrade the infrastructure in your local server room. So you don’t have to waste time anticipating future needs and spending your budget on hardware that may not be useful.
Low cost of storage
Storing data in a cloud-based Object Storage service is usually much less expensive than traditional solutions. The cost is relatively low because Object Storage is a specialized service provided by cloud providers with economies of scale (wholesale energy and equipment prices, energy-efficient infrastructure, etc.). So it’s economical to pay a monthly subscription or pay-as-you-use (PAYG) rather than buy hardware and incur maintenance costs, including power, cooling, service support, etc. This is especially important for large amounts of data.
Data loss protection
Object Storage offers built-in protection against data loss, for example due to disk failure, which can be implemented in 2 different ways, depending on the service provider: through data replication or erasure coding.
With Object Storage replication, data is copied and stored in at least 3 copies spread across different disks in a cluster. As a result, if one of the copies fails due to disk damage, the system can use another copy, ensuring continuity of data access. What’s more, in such a situation, the system automatically activates the self-healing function, which recopies the data to make up for the missing third copy.
- Erasure coding
Erasure coding is a technique that divides data into fragments (data chunks) and generates additional data fragments that form repair codes (coding chunks). Fragments of both types are, of course, distributed, that is, they are located on different disks in the cluster. With erasure coding, if a disk fails and a data fragment is lost, the system can easily reconstruct the data from the remaining data fragments and repair codes.
Using erasure coding provides a more efficient use of disk space than replication, which involves storing multiple copies of the same data, because the number of additional coding chunks is smaller than the number of data chunks. As a result, in Object Storage, data protected with erasure coding takes about 1.5 times as much space as the original data, while data protected with replication takes 3 times as much space (or more, depending on system settings). Atman Object Storage protects data using the erasure coding technique.
Guaranteed Access to Stored Data
Storing data in Object Storage guarantees that you will be able to use it at any time and from anywhere in the world with Internet access. This is ensured by high availability of data centers and cloud infrastructure, redundancy of Internet connections in data centers, 24/7 monitoring, and technical support.
Convenient data sharing
The Object Storage service is a simple and secure solution for storing data that you want to share with partners outside your organization or remotely within your organization (no VPN connection to corporate resources required). All you need to do is generate and upload a unique https link pointing to a specific file or set of data. Depending on the access rights assigned, the person receiving this link will have read, write or read and write rights to the shared data. This makes collaboration efficient and secure.
Your applications probably communicate with the cloud using the Amazon S3 protocol. Object Storage is a cloud service, and the vast majority of Object Storage providers, including Atman, use S3 as the dominant method for accessing this service. Thanks to this compatibility and development interfaces (APIs), Object Storage can be easily integrated with other applications and tools. This makes it easier to access stored data within an organization’s IT environment and provides the ability to build advanced solutions around it, such as analytics.
Examples of Object Storage applications (use cases)
Organizations can use Object Storage to store backups of their data and systems. This provides security and the ability to easily restore backups in the event of a hardware failure or security incident.
Offload the Web Server
Object Storage can store static content from your website or e-commerce site, such as images, audio, video, and downloads. This ensures high availability and allows your web server to run more efficiently and process user requests faster.
Media, entertainment, and marketing organizations often use Object Storage to store photos and other images, videos, and audio: music, podcasts, and more. This enables efficient management of multimedia resources and their high availability without burdening the company’s servers.
Companies often need to store historical data, for example, for regulatory purposes. With Object Storage, data archives such as financial reports, e-mail archives, logs, etc. can be stored efficiently and securely.
Collect and Analyze Large Volumes of Data
Storing large amounts of data from devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), information from various types of monitored sensors, CCTV footage, etc., can be really cumbersome. Therefore, use Object Storage as a data lake. In the world of Big Data, Object Storage is an excellent tool for storing large data sets for analysis and generating valuable business insights.
Media libraries and streaming
If you run a streaming service or provide other multimedia content, Object Storage can help you store and distribute content to users around the world while ensuring high availability.
As mentioned earlier, Object Storage is an efficient and secure solution for sharing data, especially large files.
Medical Data Storage
In the healthcare industry, where archiving, security, and integrity of patient data are critical, Object Storage can be used to store medical data such as images and other diagnostic information. Compliance with legislation on the storage and processing of sensitive data under the GDPR is ensured when the Object Storage service is provided by a local cloud provider such as Atman.
Object Storage is a technology that is perfect for storing large amounts of data. It is becoming an increasingly popular solution in the IT world due to its advantages such as low cost, security and unlimited scalability. By providing high availability of data, Object Storage can help organizations effectively manage information and realize its potential. For companies with massive amounts of data, Object Storage is becoming a key tool for competitive advantage.