Community Blog A Strategic Take on Cloud Storage Solutions – Part 3: Block Storage Optimization and Comparison

A Strategic Take on Cloud Storage Solutions – Part 3: Block Storage Optimization and Comparison

Part 3 of this article series discusses the optimization of the Block Storage service and provides a detailed comparison of various storage solutions from Alibaba Cloud.

By Shantanu Kaushik

In the previous article of this series, we discussed how important and essential it is to optimize your cloud storage solution. We discussed the optimization scenarios associated with Object Storage Service (OSS). We also talked about some of the key scenarios and Alibaba Cloud services associated with Alibaba Cloud OSS and defined the Block Storage solution.

In this article, we discuss optimizing the Alibaba Cloud Block Storage Service. We will also compare the storage solutions from Alibaba Cloud and give you a detailed overview to select the solution best suited for you.

Optimizing Alibaba Cloud Block Storage

The first step to optimizing the Block Storage is to monitor and identify the cloud-based disk drives that are less used, overused, or not attached at all. The Alibaba Cloud Block Storage attaches and pre-configures specific storage for the system to use for read and write operations. The billing model only charges for what is utilized.


Adjusting the storage by optimizing less used and overused disks to create a balance of storage usage will lessen the load on the Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instance and reduce costs.

Deleting the Cloud Disks

The Cloud disks that are not attached or that are not being used for storage operations can lead to a great optimization scenario. It will reduce security threats and will account for a great cost-cutting scenario. In some cases, even after the ECS instance is terminated, the attached cloud disk might not automatically get detached and deleted. This scenario will keep incurring costs, so it is imperative that you keep a close check on such scenarios and manually delete the unused and unattached disks.

Deleting Old Snapshots

Snapshots are an important piece in the whole cloud storage scenario. Over time, a lot of snapshots can get accumulated, especially if you have configured a policy to take snapshots on a daily or weekly basis. It is advisable to delete the large number of snapshots that hold no value. Alternatively, you can set another policy to automatically delete the snapshots older than a certain date.

Adjust Capacity for Optimization

If you are using the enhanced SSDs (ESSDs), you can increase the performance level of the disk online to adjust the requirements. These requirements can be performance and capacity. For your overused cloud disk, you can scale up or down based on whether you wish to increase or decrease the capacity of the disk. This can lead to a perfectly optimized usage scenario and reduce the cost associated with Elastic Block Storage.


Let's list out a few features for Apsara File Storage NAS, Object Storage Service, and the Elastic Block Storage from Alibaba Cloud. Below is a representation of the traditional application and internet application-based share scenario, where Elastic Block Storage, Apsara File Storage NAS, and Object Storage Service (OSS) are being used.


Object Storage Service vs. Block Storage vs. Apsara File Storage NAS

Object Storage Service Block Storage Apsara File Storage NAS
Object Storage Service is the most recommended solution to store unstructured data. This could include images, audio, and video files. A block-level storage device driven by Alibaba Cloud ECS instances that provides low-latency and high-performance. Built for storing and accessing large amounts of unstructured data that can be accessed using Network File System (NFS), Server Message Block (SMB), or other standard file access protocols
You can call in an API to access your data from practically anywhere. Supports random read/write operations Supports NFS for Linux and Common Internet File System (CIFS) for Windows
Object Storage Service (OSS) can help in multiple scenarios, such as website-based storage, and isolation of static and dynamic content. Can be attached to ECS instances as system or data disk Can be configured for parallel access by different clients at the same time
Domain name acceleration through Content Delivery Network (CDN) is also an added benefit. Acts as a physical disk and allows the user to partition and format the block storage device to create file systems. Supports business scenarios, such as file sharing across enterprise departments and editing systems in streaming or the TV industry.
Supports multiple business continuity scenarios and database solutions Supports a wide variety of business scenarios Support multiple business scenarios with high-performance computing and containerization needs

Wrapping Up

When it comes to extracting the most out of your storage service, optimizing is the way to go. Storage optimization is a practice where you continuously evaluate the changes in your storage requirements. These changes could be a result of an expansion or a strategical move from one business type to another. Therefore, it calls for strategic planning and selection of a storage solution.

Selecting the storage that you wish you use for your deployment scenario solely depends on which usage scenarios you are working with. A typical setup might call for different storage types, but creating a service that checks most of the boxes that you have strategized for is the best practice to follow.

When it comes to the Object Storage Service (OSS), you can configure lifecycle rules to automatically optimize and manage your storage solution by converting data storage types based on the frequency of usage. With Block Storage, you can monitor and adjust your storage based on how your disks are being used (over, under, or unused.) Deleting old snapshots and unused ECS instance cloud disks are also essential practices to follow.

In the end, the most important practice to follow is to set up a maintenance plan for your storage that can monitor and optimize your cloud storage and adjust it depending on your usage to cut unnecessary costs.

Upcoming Articles

1.  Security and Monitoring Practices with Alibaba Cloud Storage Solutions

We will outline how Access Control and the Encryption Service works with the cloud-based storage solutions from Alibaba Cloud.

2.  Apsara File Storage NAS – What and How?

We will discuss the complete architecture and usage scenarios with the Apsara File Storage NAS solution from Alibaba Cloud.

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