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Community Blog What Is Cloud Storage

What Is Cloud Storage

This article describes Cloud Storage's definition, classification, and advantages.

Cloud Storage Definition

Cloud storage is a mode of online storage, that is, storing data on multiple virtual servers usually hosted by a third party instead of dedicated servers.

Hosting companies operate large-scale data centers. Those who need data storage hosting can purchase or lease storage space from them to meet their data storage needs. According to customer needs, data center operators prepare storage virtualization resources on the back-end and provide them in the form of storage pools.
Customers can use this storage pool to store files or objects by themselves. In fact, these resources may be distributed on many server hosts.

The cloud storage service is accessed through a web service application program interface (API), or through a Web-based user interface.

Cloud Storage Working Principle

Cloud storage is a new concept developed and derived from the concept of cloud computing. Cloud computing is the development of Distributed Computing, Parallel Computing and Grid Computing. It automatically splits the huge calculation processing program into countless smaller subroutines through the network, and then sends the processing results back to the user after the huge system composed of multiple servers is calculated and analyzed. Through cloud computing technology, network service providers can process tens of millions or even billions of information within a few seconds to achieve the same powerful network services as "supercomputers".

The concept of cloud storage is similar to cloud computing. It refers to a system that uses cluster applications, grid technology or distributed file systems and other functions, and a large number of different types of storage devices in the network work together through application software to provide data storage and business access functions to the outside world. It guarantees data security and saves storage space. Simply put, cloud storage is an emerging solution that puts storage resources on the cloud for people to access. Users can connect to the cloud to conveniently access data at any time and anywhere through any networkable device.

Cloud Storage Classification

  • Public cloud storage

Like Alibaba Cloud Objective Storage Service (OSS), it can provide a large amount of file storage at low cost. Suppliers can keep each customer's storage and applications independent and private.

Public cloud storage can be set aside for private cloud storage. A company can own or control the infrastructure, as well as the deployment of applications, and private cloud storage can be deployed in corporate data centers or facilities in the same location.
The private cloud can be managed by the company's own IT department or by the service provider.

  • Internal cloud storage

This kind of cloud storage is similar to private cloud storage, the only difference is that it is still located inside the corporate firewall.

  • Hybrid cloud storage

This kind of cloud storage combines public cloud and private cloud/internal cloud. It is mainly used for visits according to customer requirements, especially when capacity needs to be temporarily configured. Setting aside a portion of the capacity from the public cloud and configuring a private or internal cloud can help companies face rapidly increasing load fluctuations or peak times. Nevertheless, hybrid cloud storage brings the complexity of distributing applications across public and private clouds.

Cloud Storage Advantage

Cloud Storage Saves Costs

From a short-term and long-term perspective, the biggest feature of cloud storage is that it can reduce costs for small businesses. Because if small businesses want to store on their own servers, they must purchase hardware and software, knowing how expensive it is. Next, the company must hire professional IT professionals to manage the maintenance of this hardware and software, and update this equipment and software.

Through cloud storage, server vendors can serve thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises and can divide services for different consumer groups. It can shoulder a part of the cost of a start-up company with the latest and best storage to help start-up companies reduce unnecessary cost budgets. Compared with traditional storage expansion, the cloud storage architecture uses a parallel expansion method. When customers need to increase capacity, they can purchase servers according to their needs, and simply increase the capacity to achieve capacity expansion. The new device only needs to install the operating system and cloud storage software, turn on the power and connect to the network, and the cloud storage system can automatically recognize it, and automatically add the capacity to the storage pool to complete the expansion. There are no restrictions on expansion.

Cloud Storage has better backup local data and can handle daily data remotely

If a natural disaster occurs in your office, it is very safe because your data is stored off-site. Even if natural disasters prevent you from accessing data through the Internet, the data still exists. If the problem only occurs in your office or your company, you can go anywhere and use your notebook to access important data and update data. It allows you to keep working under harsh conditions.

In the past storage system management, managers need to face different storage devices. Devices of different manufacturers have different management interfaces, which makes it complicated and arduous for managers to understand the usage status (capacity, load, etc.) of each storage.
Moreover, when the traditional storage is on the hard disk or the storage server is damaged, data may be lost. Cloud storage does not. If the hard disk is damaged, the data will be automatically migrated to other hard disks, which greatly reduces the workload of management personnel. For cloud storage, no matter how many storage servers are in the eyes of managers, it is just a storage. The usage status of each storage server is monitored through a unified management interface, making maintenance simple and easy to operate.

Cloud Storage has more visits and better competition

Company employees no longer need to access company information through the local network. This allows company employees and even partners to access the data they need anywhere. Because SMEs do not need to spend tens of millions of dollars to build the latest technologies and applications to create the best systems, cloud storage paves the way for SMEs and large companies to compete. In fact, for many companies, cloud storage is more beneficial to small companies than large companies because large companies have already spent a lot of money to build their own data storage centers.

The views expressed herein are for reference only and don't necessarily represent the official views of Alibaba Cloud.

Related Blog

A Strategic Take on Cloud Storage Solutions

Cloud storage is among the prime movers of the data industry. Data storage requirements are rising by the day, with more businesses and enterprises shifting to the cloud. Alibaba Cloud has made sure the cloud storage products they offer can cater to multiple audiences and scenarios of the modern cloud.

Whether it is the Object Storage Service, the Apsara File Storage NAS, Storage Capacity Units (SCUs), or the Block Storage, every product caters to a specific industry type and is based on requirement assessment. No matter which storage service you use, optimization of your service is highly recommended. One must differentiate between the local storage on your computer and the cloud storage.

Alibaba Cloud has flexible storage solution options. The Object Storage Service practically offers unlimited storage. Choosing not to optimize your storage service can incur additional costs. Old snapshots, storage volumes, or archived data blocks should be removed or replaced with synced and updated data for an efficient storage solution.

Cloud Storage Re-Defined – Alibaba Cloud OSS

Cloud computing has redefined the way data works. The processing and delivery of data have been revolutionized over time by implementing different algorithms and assessments based on real-life challenges.

In this ever-changing industry, data storage needs have also changed considerably. It is not only about data as text, but it is also about data request-to-delivery of image and video, among others. Alibaba Cloud developed the Object Storage Service (OSS) to offer a reliable, secure, and cost-effective solution.

The Object Storage Service (OSS) has default support for Rest APIs. This enables users to store and access data from practically anywhere without using the console associated with OSS. On top of that, Alibaba Cloud guarantees 99.9999999999 % durability and 99.995% availability in the first year of operation.

Related Product

Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS)

Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS) is an encrypted, secure, cost-effective, and easy-to-use object storage service that enables you to store, back up, and archive large amounts of data in the cloud, with a guaranteed durability of 99.9999999999%(12 9’s). RESTful APIs allow storage and access to OSS anywhere on the Internet. You can elastically scale the capacity and processing capability and choose from a variety of storage types to optimize the storage cost.

Alibaba Cloud Storage

Alibaba Cloud storage solutions are oriented to diversified scenarios of users in multiple industries, providing global enterprises with more secure, stable, reliable, and intelligent data storage services. These solutions can help enterprises migrate their business to the cloud, laying a data foundation for enterprises to realize digital transformation.

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