You can select an Alibaba Cloud storage service that meets your requirements for data availability, data durability, and performance.

Note Data availability refers to the ability of a storage service to provide data based on requests. Data durability refers to the annual average expected data loss of a storage service. Performance refers to the IOPS or throughput that can be provided by a storage service.

Alibaba Cloud provides the following storage services to meet different requirements: Object Storage Service (OSS), Elastic Block Storage (EBS), and Apsara File Storage NAS. You can select a storage service based on your requirements.

OSS

OSS is a secure, cost-effective, and highly reliable storage service that allows you to store large amounts of data. You can use OSS to store unstructured data such as audio and video. OSS provides the highest level of data durability and availability among Alibaba Cloud storage services. OSS provides the following storage classes: Standard for hot data, Infrequent Access (IA) for warm data, Archive for cold data, and Cold Archive for extremely cold data. Colder data has lower storage cost. However, the cost of accessing colder data is higher. You can easily convert the storage class of your data to reduce your storage costs.
Standard Standard storage provides high-durability, high-availability, and high-performance object storage services that can handle frequent data access. Standard storage is ideal for storing images for social networking and sharing, storing data for audio and video applications, large websites, and big data analytics.
Infrequent Access (IA) IA storage is suitable for data that is infrequently accessed, such as only once or twice a month. IA storage offers a storage unit price lower than that of Standard storage and is suitable for long-term data backup of mobile apps, smart devices, and enterprises. It also supports real-time data access.
Archive Archive storage is suitable for long-term (at least six months) storage of data that is infrequently accessed. OSS takes a minute to restore an Archive object before you can read the object. Archive storage is suitable for data that you want to store for a long period of time such as archival data, medical images, scientific materials, and video footage.
Cold Archive Cold Archive storage is suitable for extremely cold data that you want to store for an extremely long period of time. Examples: data that must be retained for an extended period of time due to compliance requirements, raw data that is accumulated over an extended period of time in the big data and AI fields, media resources that are retained in the film and television industries, and archived videos from the online education industry.

EBS

EBS is a high-performance, low-latency block storage service for Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS). EBS devices can be used as physical hard disks. You can partition and format EBS devices and create file systems for them.

Alibaba Cloud provides a variety of EBS devices for ECS instances, including cloud disks based on a distributed storage architecture and local disks located on the physical machines on which the ECS instances are hosted. The following section describes cloud disks and local disks:
  • Cloud disks are block-level storage devices provided by Alibaba Cloud for ECS instances. Cloud disks use a triplicate distributed mechanism and provide low latency, high performance, high durability, and high reliability. Cloud disks can be created, resized, and released at any time.
  • Local disks are physical disks attached to physical machines that host ECS instances. Local disks provide local storage access capabilities for ECS instances. Local disks are suitable for scenarios in which high storage I/O performance and high cost performance for massive storage are required. Local disks provide low latency, high random IOPS and throughput, and high cost performance.

Cloud disks are billed based on storage capacity. You can use cloud disks as system disks or data disks. Local disks are billed based on storage capacity. You can use local disks only as data disks. Local disks cannot be purchased separately. Local disks created together with an ECS instance have the same billing method as the ECS instance. For more information about the product types and prices, see the EBS pricing page.

NAS

Apsara File Storage NAS is a cloud service that provides a file storage solution for compute nodes. The compute nodes include ECS instances, Elastic High-Performance Computing (E-HPC) instances, and Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK) clusters. NAS is a distributed file system that supports the Network File System (NFS) and Server Message Block (SMB) protocols. NAS provides the following features: shared access, elastic scalability, high reliability, and high performance.

Apsara File Storage NAS provides the following storage types: Extreme NAS, NAS Performance, NAS Capacity, and Infrequent Access.

Extreme NAS Extreme NAS is a high-performance file sharing solution that is built based on the latest generation of network architecture and all-flash storage. The maximum capacity is 256 TB. The bandwidth ranges from 150 Mbit/s to 1,200 Mbit/s. The latency is approximately 100 microseconds. Extreme NAS is suitable for latency-sensitive business in which a large number of small files are handled.
General-purpose NAS Performance NAS Performance uses solid-state drives (SSDs) as storage devices, and provides high throughput, high input/output operations per second (IOPS), and low latency for workloads. NAS Performance is a file sharing solution that is suitable if you require file storage of high throughput, high concurrency, business scalability, and low read latency. NAS Performance is suitable if you need to perform frequent read/write operations and have high requirements for response latency.
General-purpose NAS Capacity NAS Capacity uses SATA hard disk drives (SATA HDDs) as storage devices and provides high-performance storage space at low costs. NAS Capacity is a file sharing solution that is suitable for cost-sensitive scenarios in which high throughput, high concurrency, and business scalability are required. NAS Capacity is more cost-effective if you do not need to perform frequent read/write operations and do not have high requirements on response latency.

Summary

OSS and Apsara File Storage NAS allocate storage resources based on the storage that you use. You are charged only for the storage resources that you use. When you use EBS, you are charged for the pre-allocated storage resources regardless of whether you use the resources. To reduce storage costs, we recommend that you use OSS as your main storage service and use EBS with pre-configured I/O only if it is required for your application.