Understanding Object Storage and Block Storage Use Cases

Cloud Computing, like any computing, is a combination of CPU, memory, networking, and storage. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platforms allow you to store your data in either Block Storage or Object Storage formats.

Understanding the differences between these two formats – and how they can sometimes be used together – can be a critical part of designing an overall storage profile. And the relatively low costs of cloud storage, along with its durability and high availability, can make it attractive even for local infrastructure projects.

What is Block Storage?

Block storage devices provide fixed-sized raw storage capacity. Each storage volume can be treated as an independent disk drive and controlled by an external server operating system. This block device can be mounted by the guest operating system as if it were a physical disk. The most common examples of Block Storage are SAN, iSCSI, and local disks.

Block storage is the most commonly used storage type for most applications. It can be either locally or network-attached and are typically formatted with a file system like FAT32, NTFS, EXT3, and EXT4.

Use cases

  • Ideal for databases, since a DB requires consistent I/O performance and low-latency connectivity.
  • Use block storage for RAID Volumes, where you combine multiple disks organized through stripping or mirroring.
  • Any application which requires service side processing, like Java, PHP, and .Net will require block storage.
  • Running mission-critical applications like Oracle, SAP, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft SharePoint.

Block storage options in the cloud

  1. AWS Elastic Block Storage (EBS): Amazon EBS provides raw storage – just like a hard disk – which you can attach to your Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances. Once attached, you create a file system and get immediate access to your storage. You can create EBS General Purpose (SSD) and Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes up to 16 TB in size, and slower, legacy magnetic volumes.
  2. Rackspace Cloud Block Storage: Rackspace provides raw storage devices capable of delivering super fast 10GbE internal connections.
  3. Azure Premium Storage: Premium Storage delivers high-performance, low-latency disk support for I/O intensive workloads running on Azure Virtual Machines. Volumes allow up to 32 TB of storage.
  4. Google Persistent Disks: Compute Engine Persistent Disks provide network-attached block storage, much like a high speed and highly reliable SAN, for Compute Engine instances. You can remove a disk from one server and attach it to another server, or attach one volume to multiple nodes in read-only mode. Two types of block storage are available: Standard Persistent Disk and Solid-State Persistent Disks.

What is Object Storage

Block storage volumes can only be accessed when they’re attached to an operating system. But data kept on object storage devices, which consist of the object data and metadata, can be accessed directly through APIs or http/https. You can store any kind of data, photos, videos, and log files. The object store guarantees that the data will not be lost. Object storage data can be replicated across different data centers and offer simple web services interfaces for access.

A simple use case would see application developers who deal with large amounts of user-generated media, using object storage to store unlimited media files. As data stores scale to hundreds of terabytes and then into the petabyte range and beyond, object storage becomes even more attractive.

Use Cases

  • Storage of unstructured data like music, image, and video files.
  • Storage for backup files, database dumps, and log files.
  • Large data sets. Whether you’re storing pharmaceutical or financial data, or multimedia files such as photos and videos, storage can be used as your big data object store.
  • Archive files in place of local tape drives. Media assets such as video footage can be stored in object storage and archived to AWS glacier.

Object storage options in the Cloud

  1. Amazon S3Amazon S3 stores data as objects within resources called “buckets.” AWS S3 offers features like 99.999999999% durability, cross-region replication, event notifications, versioning, encryption, and flexible storage options (redundant and standard).
  2. Rackspace Cloud Files: Cloud Files provides online object storage for files and media. Cloud Files writes each file to three storage disks on separate nodes that have dual power supplies. All traffic between your application and Cloud Files uses SSL to establish a secure, encrypted channel. You can host static websites (for example: blogs, brochure sites, small company sites) entirely from Cloud Files with a global CDN.
  3. Azure Blob Storage: For users with large amounts of unstructured data to store in the cloud, Blob storage offers a cost-effective and scalable solution. Every blob is organized into a container with up to a 500 TB storage account capacity limit.
  4. Google cloud storage: Cloud Storage allows you to store data in Google’s cloud. Google Cloud Storage supports individual objects that are terabytes in size. It also supports a large number of buckets per account. Google Cloud Storage provides strong read-after-write consistency for all upload and delete operations. Two types of storage class are available: Standard Storage class and Storage Near line class (with Near Line being MUCH cheaper).

Conclusion

Object storage and Block storage both have unique advantages and limitations. Understanding the use cases and costs associated with each medium will help you get the best possible mileage out of your application storage profile.

Avatar

Written by

Nitheesh Poojary

My professional IT career began nine years back when I was just out of my college. I worked with a great team as an infrastructure management engineer, managing hundreds of enterprise application servers. I found my passion when I got the opportunity to work with Cloud technologies: I'm addicted to AWS Cloud Services, DevOps engineering, and all the cloud tools and technologies that make engineers' lives easier. Currently, I am working as a Solution Architect in SixNines IT. We are an experienced team of engineers that have helped hundreds of customers move to the cloud responsibly. I have achieved 5 AWS certifications, happily helping fellow engineers across the globe through my blogs and answering questions in various forums.


Related Posts

Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 5, 2020

New Content: Alibaba, Azure AZ-303 and AZ-304, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Foundation, Python 3 Programming, 16 Hands-on Labs, and Much More

This month our Content Team did an amazing job at publishing and updating a ton of new content. Not only did our experts release the brand new AZ-303 and AZ-304 Certification Learning Paths, but they also created 16 new hands-on labs — and so much more! New content on Cloud Academy At...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • DevOps
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Machine Learning
  • programming
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— July 16, 2020

Blog Digest: Which Certifications Should I Get?, The 12 Microsoft Azure Certifications, 6 Ways to Prevent a Data Breach, and More

This month, we were excited to announce that Cloud Academy was recognized in the G2 Summer 2020 reports! These reports highlight the top-rated solutions in the industry, as chosen by the source that matters most: customers. We're grateful to have been nominated as a High Performer in se...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • blog digest
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Academy
  • OWASP
  • OWASP Top 10
  • Security
  • VPCs
Avatar
Cloud Academy Team
— July 9, 2020

Which Certifications Should I Get?

The old AWS slogan, “Cloud is the new normal” is indeed a reality today. Really, cloud has been the new normal for a while now and getting credentials has become an increasingly effective way to quickly showcase your abilities to recruiters and companies.With all that in mind, the s...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— July 2, 2020

New Content: AWS, Azure, Typescript, Java, Docker, 13 New Labs, and Much More

This month, our Content Team released a whopping 13 new labs in real cloud environments! If you haven't tried out our labs, you might not understand why we think that number is so impressive. Our labs are not “simulated” experiences — they are real cloud environments using accounts on A...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • DevOps
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Machine Learning
  • programming
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— June 19, 2020

Kickstart Your Tech Training With a Free Week on Cloud Academy

Are you looking to make a jump in your technical career? Want to get trained or certified on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Kubernetes, Python, or another in-demand skill?Then you'll want to mark your calendar. Starting Monday, June 22 at 12:00 a.m. PDT (3:00 a.m. EDT), ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • cloud academy content
  • complimentary access
  • GCP
  • on the house
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— June 12, 2020

Azure Certifications: Our Experts Explain Which Is Best for You

How do you choose an Azure certification? It can be hard to get started when choosing an Azure certification. There are so many to sift through, so many interesting options, and it requires a time commitment to just understand the cert landscape.To help guide you through the select...

Read more
  • AZ-900
  • Azure
  • Certifications
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— June 11, 2020

New Content: AZ-500 and AZ-400 Updates, 3 Google Professional Exam Preps, Practical ML Learning Path, C# Programming, and More

This month, our Content Team released tons of new content and labs in real cloud environments. Not only that, but we introduced our very first highly interactive "Office Hours" webinar. This webinar, Acing the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certification, started with a quick overvie...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • DevOps
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Machine Learning
  • programming
Rebecca Willis
Rebecca Willis
— June 3, 2020

Azure vs. AWS: Which Certification Provides the Brighter Future?

More and more companies are using cloud services, prompting more and more people to switch their current IT position to something cloud-related. The problem is most people only have that much time after work to learn new technologies, and there are plenty of cloud services that you can ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • certification
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— June 2, 2020

Blog Digest: 5 Reasons to Get AWS Certified, OWASP Top 10, Getting Started with VPCs, Top 10 Soft Skills, and More

Thank you for being a valued member of our community! We recently sent out a short survey to understand what type of content you would like us to add to Cloud Academy, and we want to thank everyone who gave us their input. If you would like to complete the survey, it's not too late. It ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • blog digest
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Academy
  • OWASP
  • OWASP Top 10
  • Security
  • VPCs
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— May 11, 2020

New Content: Alibaba, Azure Cert Prep: AI-100, AZ-104, AZ-204 & AZ-400, Amazon Athena Playground, Google Cloud Developer Challenge, and much more

This month, our Content Team released 8 new learning paths, 4 courses, 7 labs in real cloud environments, and 4 new knowledge check assessments. Not only that, but we introduced our very first course on Alibaba Cloud, and our expert instructors are working 'round the clock to create 6 n...

Read more
  • alibaba
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • gitops
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • lab playground
  • programming
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— May 1, 2020

Introducing Our Newest Lab Environments: Lab Playgrounds

Want to train in a real cloud environment, but feel slowed down by spinning up your own deployments? When you consider security or pricing costs, it can be costly and challenging to get up to speed quickly for self-training. To solve this problem, Cloud Academy created a new suite of la...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Docker
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Java
  • lab playgrounds
  • Python
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— April 30, 2020

Blog Digest: AWS Breaking News, Azure DevOps, AWS Study Guide, 8 Ways to Prevent a Ransomware Attack, and More

  New articles by topicAWS Azure Data Science Google Cloud  Cloud Adoption Platform Updates & New Content Security Women in TechAWSBreaking News: All AWS Certification Exams Now Available Online As an Advanced AWS Technology Partner, C...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • blog digest
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Academy
  • programming
  • Security