Large-scale data storage and accessibility have become a business necessity as organizations are capturing all manner of stakeholders and also processing data every second of the day. As this need has grown across industries, new solutions have popped up with varying degrees of success and usability. Slowly, but surely companies have moved away from paper-based storage towards digital storage solutions.
Amongst these many options, when the data to be stored is structured and needs to be maintained in a specified hierarchy, file-based storage makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, when data privacy is of paramount importance and user-based impartial handling of data is required, block storage serves the purpose.
But if your business involves accumulating huge quantities of unstructured data, and you require an efficient way to store, manage and access it, then S3 compatible object storage is the way to go.
What is Object Storage?
Object storage, as the name suggests, is designed to treat data as an object. To understand what an object is and where it is kept in a physical inventory, you need to give it a name and storage location. Similarly, in an object storage architecture, data files are broken down into individual units called ‘objects’ and stored in ‘buckets’.
These objects are then given a unique identifier and a metadata descriptor for access and retrieval. Data converted into such a format can then be stored in a flat structure, decoupled from any other infrastructure. This allows the data objects to be accessible via an HTTP-based interface in a simple yet efficient manner. Though object storage as a data storage architecture has been around for a while, it has found widespread application and adoption in the S3 compatible format.
Understanding S3 Compatible Object Storage
S3 Compatible object storage derives its name from the Simple Storage Service (S3). S3 compatible object storage has an API linked with it to access and manage data that is stored over an S3 compliant interface. Like standard object storage, S3 compatible object storage is best suited for storing unstructured data on a large scale.
Originally S3 compatible object storage found application in cloud ecosystems. However, the same logic is now extended to private cloud and on-premise deployments. The question is no longer whether or not this storage type is meant for you. It is how S3 compatible object storage can deliver value to your organization and why your business needs it now!
Benefits of Object Storage
As this form of storage is best suited for unstructured, large data sets, one of the biggest benefits of S3 compatible storage is scalability. Starting with the base plan of 0-250 GB of data storage, you can store data received from various sources and in variable formats. Within the same namespace, you can keep growing your object storage as your need grows, without affecting the associated data infrastructure. Furthermore, your static assets can be decoupled from the compute architecture, without lowering data availability.
S3 Compatible object storage is purposely built and run on servers compliant with industry standards. As a result, storage solution providers invest in building infrastructure that can handle large data volumes efficiently. This means that with S3 storage, the higher your data storage needs, the cheaper it will be.
When you need to access data from multiple sites or your existing data storage is spread across multiple cloud platforms, you need a way to switch between sources easily. This is possible with S3 compatible object storage, wherein using a common API, S3 compliant workloads can be written to manage multiple cloud sources.
Data transfer and transport is an inter-connected requirement with data storage. So, when you are searching for a viable data storage solution, you also need to ensure that any data extraction or transport from such a platform is safe and reliable. With S3 compatible object storage, this requirement is more than satisfied as large data volumes can be safely moved over WAN.
Backup and Archiving
Despite the additional cost involved in storing multiple copies of data, no business can afford to do away with a data backup strategy. With S3 compatible object storage, data backup, archiving, disaster management becomes effortless. Ad hoc backups can be run or new backup jobs can be configured as per organization-specific requirements. Data restoration from backup is also instantaneous with S3 compliant interface, saving you from any business loss.
In conclusion, object storage is the answer to the data storage needs of any business trying to manage multiple data sources to generate business intelligence. In addition to being cost-effective, object storage is also built for scalability. This means, even if your storage requirement is limited today and slowing scaling up, object storage infrastructure can keep pace and evolve to match your needs.
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