Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS) is a state-of-the-art object storage service. OSS can be used to store any amount of data safely while offering high data durability at reasonable costs. This topic provides a side-by-side comparison of OSS with self-managed storage solutions to help you better understand the benefits of OSS.

The following table compares OSS to self-managed storage solutions in terms of ease of use, durability, security, cost, and support for intelligent storage and access acceleration.

Comparison itemOSSSelf-managed storage solution
Ease of use
  • Provides a variety of options to manage your data. These options include standard RESTful APIs, SDKs for various programming languages, client tools, and a web-based console. You can use any one of these options to upload, download, query, and manage large amounts of data used in your apps and websites in the same way you would with regular file systems.
  • Provides unlimited capacity for buckets. You can expand bucket capacity to fit the amount of data stored within them. You no longer have to plan for storage capacity in order to store more files.
  • Supports streaming read and write operations. This feature is suitable for scenarios where you want to use OSS to host large files that require synchronous read and writes, such as videos.
  • Supports the lifecycle management of data. You can configure lifecycle rules to delete expired objects or convert the storage classes of expired objects to more cost-effective options, such as Infrequent Access (IA), Archive, or Cold Archive.
  • Requires you to manually expand your storage capacity when the amount of data grows.
  • Does not support streaming writes and reads.
  • Does not support automatic data deletion based on lifecycle rules.
OSS is part of the core infrastructure used within Alibaba Group. It has been proven to provide reliable and highly available service even when placed under considerable stress during the peak hours of Double 11. OSS is built with high redundancy in mind, and coupled with a highly available architecture. These features eliminate single points of failure (SPOFs) and provide reliable data storage, ensuring the continuity of your business even under harsh circumstances.
  • Offers at least 99.995% of data availability.
  • Offers at least 99.9999999999% (twelve 9's) of data durability.
  • Automatically expands to store your ever-growing data without causing business interruptions.
  • Calculates the checksum of transferred packets to ensure data integrity during data transfer.
  • Provides strong read-after-write consistency for operations on all objects. For example, an object can be accessed immediately after it is uploaded or copied to a bucket.
  • Stores multiple replicas of each object on multiple physical devices located in different facilities within the same region for better data reliability and availability.
    • OSS regularly performs checks on replicas and recovers damaged data to ensure data durability and availability.
    • OSS periodically verifies the integrity of data to detect data corruption caused by errors such as hardware failures. If data is partially corrupted or lost, OSS reconstructs and recovers the data based on the remaining replicas.
  • Prone to errors due to hardware failures. If a disk has a bad sector, data stored on the disk may be permanently lost.
  • Requires manual data restoration that is complex, time-consuming, and labor-intensive.
  • Provides enterprise-grade, multi-level security. OSS provides a suite of data security features, including server-side encryption, client-side encryption, hotlink protection, bucket policies that specify IP blocklists or allowlists, fine-grained access control, log audit, and the Write Once Read Many (WORM) strategy.
  • Isolates resources by users and supports cross-cluster data synchronization and geo-disaster recovery.
  • Allows you to configure SSL/TLS encryption to protect data in transit.
  • Provides the versioning feature to protect objects stored in the bucket against unintended operations.
  • Complies with the regulations of multiple organizations including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA), which delivers services that can meet the requirements of your enterprise for data security and compliance.
  • Requires additional scrubbing devices and blackhole policy-related services.
  • Requires a separate security mechanism.
  • OSS is connected to the operator backbone through multi-line Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). This allows OSS to provide abundant bandwidth and free upstream traffic.
  • Fully managed on the cloud, at no extra cost to you.
  • Requires you to manually expand your storage capacity when the amount of data grows.
  • Offers limited bandwidth due to slow single-line or double-line access to operator backbone. Requires you to manually expand bandwidth capacity during peak hours.
  • Requires dedicated O&M personnel, which can lead to high costs.
Intelligent storage

Provides a variety of data processing capabilities, such as Image Processing (IMG), video snapshot, document preview, image scenario recognition, and SQL query. OSS can be seamlessly integrated with the Hadoop ecosystem and Alibaba Cloud services such as Function Compute, E-MapReduce (EMR), Data Lake Analytics (DLA), BatchCompute, MaxCompute, and Database Backup (DBS) to manage and analyze your data.

Requires data processing capabilities that must be separately purchased and deployed.
Access acceleration
  • Transfer acceleration over the Internet: provides the transfer acceleration service, which uses optimal route selection and protocol stack tuning to reduce timeouts when transferring files across large distances. For more information, see Enable transfer acceleration
  • Accelerated content delivery: OSS can be used as an origin server and paired with Alibaba Cloud CDN to accelerate access to popular files.
Not supported.