Data Cloud Storage | 9 mins read

The Different Facets of Data Cloud Storage- What It Is & How It Works

the different facets of data cloud storage what it is how it works
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco

The Cloud has become a buzzword in the field of modern computing. At the heart of this advanced technology, cloud computing involves utilizing the power of the Internet for outsourcing tasks that were conventionally performed on a PCfrom handling the simplest data storage tasks to complicated development and processing to vast remote networks of multiple interconnected machines.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage serves as a cloud computing model that helps in storing data on the Internet with the help of a cloud computing provider responsible for managing and operating data storage in the form of a service. Cloud storage gets delivered on-demand with in-time capacity as well as costs while eliminating the requirement for buying and managing individual data storage infrastructure. This provides ample agility along with global-level durability and scalability with access anytime and from anywhere data.

Cloud storage is a specific service model in which data is stored and transmitted on remote storage systems managed, maintained, backed up, and ensured to be available to end-users over a specific network usually the Internet. In most cases, organizations are charged for cloud-based data storage on a monthly and per consumption rate.

While the overall per-GB (Gigabyte) cost has gone down radically, the leading cloud storage providers out there have included operating expenses for advanced features as well. Most of the reputed service providers aim at mitigating the increased costs by delivering advanced capabilities like improved physical security, multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and so more into the respective services.

How Does Cloud Storage Work?

Cloud storage is typically purchased from a third-party cloud vendor that owns and operates data storage capacity while delivering the same across the Internet in a typical pay-as-you-go manner. The respective cloud storage vendors are known to manage security, capacity, and durability for ensuring that data is accessible to applications all around the world.

Applications are known to access cloud storage with the help of conventional storage protocols or even directly with the help of an API.

Moreover, there are several vendors that are known to provide access to complementary services that can help in collecting, managing, securing, and analyzing data on a large scale.

Depending on the access models, there are three basic categories of cloud storage.

Public Cloud Storage

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A public cloud serves to be a platform that makes use of standard cloud computing mechanism for making resources like storage, applications, or virtual machines, available to the end-users in a remote fashion. Public cloud services can be either free or provided through a wide range of on-demand or subscription-based pricing schemesincluding the pay-per-usage model.

Some of the core benefits of using a public cloud platform are-

  • Reduced requirement of organizations to invest as well as maintain the respective on-premise IT resources
  • Improved scalability for meeting user demands and workloads
  • Reduced wasted resources as customers are required to pay only for what they will be using

How Does the Public Cloud Work?

In a typical public cloud computing model, a reliable third-party vendor or service provider is responsible for hosting on-demand, scalable IT resources while delivering them to users over a specific network connection either over some dedicated network or the public internet. The public cloud model is known to encompass several types of technologies, features, and capabilities. At the core, however, a public cloud is known to consist of some main characteristics, including-

  • Rapid elasticity and scalability
  • Self-service provisioning and on-demand computing
  • Pay-per-use pricing policy
  • Resource pooling
  • Security
  • Availability and resilience
  • Measured services
  • Broad network access
The public cloud vendor or service provider is responsible for supplying the necessary infrastructure for hosting and deploying workloads in the respective cloud. It is also known to offer resources as well as tools for helping the customers to manage cloud applications including data storage, data monitoring, data security, and others.

Public cloud storage services help in providing a multi-tenant storage environment that remains the most suited for unstructured data on a specific subscription basis. Data gets stored within the data centers of the service providers with storage data being spread across multiple continents and regions.

Customers make use of the pay-per-use basis quite similar to the model of utility payment. In some cases, there might be additional transaction charges as well, depending on the total volume of data and frequency of data accessibility.

The market sector in the field of public cloud storage tends to be dominated by S3 (Simple Storage Service) by Amazon, Google Cloud Storage, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Storage Nearline.

Private Cloud Storage

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Private clouds are specialized cloud environments specifically committed to the end-users, usually within the organization's firewall. While private clouds were originally implemented on-premises, organizations are now looking for off-premise, vendor-owned, rented data centers for private clouds.

All clouds tend to become private cloud platforms when the underlying IT infrastructure is committed to a single customer with totally isolated access.

How do Private Clouds Work?

Private clouds are typically known to rely on multiple technologies. A private cloud makes use of the concept of virtualization technology for combining resources that are sourced from physical hardware into the respective shared pools. In this way, the cloud is not required to create environments through the virtualization of resources, but one at a time from the available group of different physical systems.

Private cloud storage is mostly provided by in-house resources related to storage deployed in the form of a dedicated environment that is protected behind the firewall of the organization. Implementations of private cloud storage mechanisms that are internally hosted tend to imitate some of the exclusive features of public cloud services that are commercially available.

This helps in providing the overall ease of access as well as the allocation of the respective storage resources for business users along with object storage protocols. Private clouds are ideal for users who might require customization as well as more control over the respective data, or those having stringent regulatory and data security requirements.

Some of the potential benefits of using private cloud storage for your organization are-

  • Flexibility
  • Improved security
  • Guaranteed availability of resources
  • Cost savings
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Increased visibility into the respective resources across the entire infrastructure
  • Effective allocation of resources based on the individual needs of the users
  • On-demand services with the help of self-service UI (user interface) and policy-based management

Hybrid Cloud Storage

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Hybrid cloud storage is a mix of third-party public cloud storage and private cloud storage services with a proper layer of orchestration management for integrating the two platforms operationally. The model aims to offer businesses improved flexibility along with increased data deployment options. For instance, an organization might look forward to storing actively as well as structured data in the on-premise cloud, along with archival and unstructured data in the public cloud.

The presence of the hybrid environment also ensures that it is easier to handle unanticipated or seasonal spikes in data access or creation by the process of cloud bursting to the external storage solution. It also helps in avoiding the necessity of added in-house storage resources.

Recently, there has been increased use of the innovative hybrid data cloud storage model. While there are several benefits of adopting this model for cloud storage in your organization, the hybrid cloud storage model is generally used to address a series of technical, management, and business-centric challenges. For instance, private workloads are expected to access as well as interact with public cloud storage service providers.

Therefore, the presence of reliable, compatible, and abundant network connectivity tends to be highly important factors. The enterprise-level cloud storage model is expected to be scalable to address existing requirements, and that can be made accessible from anywhere and at any time.

Characteristics of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is based on virtualized infrastructure with instant elasticity, accessible interfaces, metered resources, multi-tenancy, and scalability. Cloud-based data tends to be stored in several logical pools that are spread across multiple, commodity servers that are situated data centers managed by a third-party vendor or on-premise systems.

With the help of the innovative restful API, a particular object storage protocol is known to store the file along with its associated metadata to serve as a single object while assigning the same to some ID number. When content retrieval is required, the users are known to present the respective ID to the given system. At the same time, the content gets assembled with all the metadata, security, and authentication.

In recent years, vendors related to object storage have included dedicated file system capabilities and functionalities to the respective object storage hardware and software. This is significantly due to the fact that object storage was not adopted quickly enough. For instance, the cloud storage gateway is known for providing front-end file system emulation to the respective object storage the fact that arrangement is often known to allow applications to get access to data without providing support to the object storage protocol.

All the respective backup applications are known to make use of the object storage protocol. This is one of the major reasons why online backup to the respective cloud service serves to be the initial successful application when it comes to cloud storage.

Most of the commercial storage services out there are known to make use of a vast series of hard drive storage mechanisms that are mounted in servers and linked with the help of the mesh-like network architecture. Storage providers are also known to include high-performance layers to the respective virtual storage offerings mostly comprising of SSDs (Solid State Drives). Cloud storage featuring high-performance specifications tend to be the most effective in case the applications, and servers accessing the storage generally reside in the given cloud data environment.

Companies making use of public cloud storage are required to have the right network access to the respective hosting service.

Cloud Storage Considerations

For determining whether or not cloud storage will help in realizing operational efficiencies while being cost-effective, one should-

  • Compare the recurring and one-time costs of purchasing as well as managing cloud storage capacities
  • Analyze if extra telecommunication expenses will be needed for the right access to the given service provider
  • Decide whether or not the cloud storage service provider offers relevant data governance and security
Currently, the cloud-based storage industry is dominated by Google, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure. At the same time, conventional storage parties like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, EMC, and others also operate in the given space with products for both small-business and enterprise owners.