What is Cloud Storage?
What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is a cloud computing model that stores data on the Internet through a cloud computing provider that manages and operates data storage as a service. It’s delivered on-demand with just-in-time capacity and costs and eliminates buying and managing your own data storage infrastructure. This gives you agility, global scale and durability, with “anytime, anywhere” data access.
How Does Cloud Storage Work?
Cloud storage is purchased from a third-party cloud vendor who owns and operates data storage capacity and delivers it over the Internet in a pay-as-you-go model. These cloud storage vendors manage capacity, security, and durability to make data accessible to your applications all around the world.
Applications access cloud storage through traditional storage protocols or directly via an API. Many vendors offer complementary services designed to help collect, manage, secure and analyze data at a massive scale.
Benefits of Cloud Storage
Storing data in the cloud lets IT departments transform three areas:
- Total Cost of Ownership. With cloud storage, there is no hardware to purchase, storage to provision, or capital being used for “someday” scenarios. You can add or remove capacity on-demand, quickly change performance and retention characteristics, and only pay for storage that you actually use. Less frequently accessed data can even be automatically moved to lower-cost tiers in accordance with auditable rules, driving economies of scale.
- Time to Deployment. When development teams are ready to execute, infrastructure should never slow them down. Cloud storage allows IT to quickly deliver the exact amount of storage needed, right when it’s needed. This allows IT to focus on solving complex application problems instead of having to manage storage systems.
- Information Management. Centralizing storage in the cloud creates a tremendous leverage point for new use cases. By using cloud storage lifecycle management policies, you can perform powerful information management tasks including automated tiering or locking down data in support of compliance requirements.
Cloud Storage Requirements
Ensuring your company’s critical data is safe, secure, and available when needed is essential. There are several fundamental requirements when considering storing data in the cloud.
Durability. Data should be redundantly stored, ideally across multiple facilities and multiple devices in each facility. Natural disasters, human error, or mechanical faults should not result in data loss.
Availability. All data should be available when needed, but there is a difference between production data and archives. The ideal cloud storage will deliver the right balance of retrieval times and cost.
Security. All data is ideally encrypted, both at rest and in transit. Permissions and access controls should work just as well in the cloud as they do for on-premises storage.
Five Ways to Use Cloud Storage
Backup and Recovery
Backup and recovery are a critical part of ensuring data is protected and accessible, but keeping up with increasing capacity requirements can be a constant challenge. Cloud storage brings low cost, high durability, and extreme scale to backup and recovery solutions. Embedded data management policies can automatically migrate data to lower-cost tiers based on frequency or timing settings, and archival vaults can be created to help comply with legal or regulatory requirements. These benefits allow for tremendous scale possibilities within industries such as financial services, healthcare, and media that produce high volumes of data with long-term retention needs.
Software Test and Development
Software test and development environments often require separate, independent, and duplicate storage environments to be built out, managed, and decommissioned. In addition to the time required, the up-front capital costs required can be extensive.
Some of the largest and most valuable companies in the world have created applications in record time by leveraging the flexibility, performance, and low cost of cloud storage. Even the simplest static websites can be improved for an amazingly low cost. Developers all over the world are turning to pay-as-you-go storage options that remove management and scale headaches.
Cloud Data Migration
The availability, durability, and cost benefits of cloud storage can be very compelling to business owners, but traditional IT functional owners like storage, backup, networking, security, and compliance administrators may have concerns around the realities of transferring large amounts of data to the cloud. Cloud data migration services can simplify migrating storage into the cloud by addressing high network costs, long transfer times, and security concerns.
Storing data in the cloud can raise concerns about regulation and compliance, especially if this data is already stored in compliant storage systems. Cloud data compliance controls are designed to ensure that you can easily deploy and enforce compliance controls on individual data vaults via a lockable policy. You can specify controls such as Write Once Read Many (WORM) to lock the data from future edits. Using audit log products can help you ensure compliance and governance objectives for your cloud-based storage and archival systems are being met.
Big Data and Data Lakes
Traditional on-premises storage solutions can be inconsistent in their cost, performance, and scalability — especially over time. Big data projects demand large-scale, affordable, highly available, and secure storage pools that are commonly referred to as data lakes.
Data lakes built on object storage keep information in its native form and include rich metadata that allows selective extraction and use for analysis. Cloud-based data lakes can sit at the center of all kinds of data warehousing, processing, big data, and analytical engines to help you accomplish your next project in less time with more relevance.
Reference: Amazon AWS