Let’s get back to basics and talk about why, and what is:

Object storage.

We’ll cover how it compares to other traditional network storage technologies like file storage and block storage, and when object storage is the right solution for you and your data center.


Three Most Common Data Storage Solutions

Block-File-Object-Storage, what is object storage? comparison to other data storage options


What is Block Storage?

  • Block storage data is organized through block IDs (e.g., sector number) and can be organized as a structure (called a file system) or an application-specific structure.
  • The client operating system accesses block storage through Fibre Channel or iSCSI or using a direct-attached storage device (DASD).
  • Block storage is ideal for transactional or structured information like file systems, databases, transactional logs, swap space, or for running VMs.
  • Optimized for block-level performance measured in IOPS (Input/output operations per second).

Using traditional file systems on block storage places explicit or practical operational limits on scaling beyond the petabyte range.



What is File Storage?

  • File storage data is accessed as file IDs (server name + directory path + filename) over a shared network and the storage server manages the data on disk.
  • NFS and SMB are the common network protocols used for file access over a network.
  • The storage server or array uses block storage with a local file system to organize these files, and clients only deal with the protocol and the file path. Fixed file attributes like type, size, date created and date modified are stored in the file system.

File-based storage is good at shared files and shared directories over a LAN (local area network) or WAN (wide area network). The areas where this kind of network-attached storage (NAS) runs into problems is with the scaling limits of their underlying file system and with their inability to spread workload across multiple file servers.


What is Object Storage?


  • Object storage data is based on key value addressing (store an object and get a key, just like a car valet giving you a ticket).
  • The client or access method is usually an application over HTTP and custom information about the file is stored in its metadata.
  • Object storage is Ideal for shared files which can be stored as-is or deleted and for highly scalable, multi-site deployments.


Challenges Adopting Object Storage

There are a number of challenges that motivate organizations to adopt object storage. So, what are some common challenges people experience when adopting object storage?

  • Risk of data loss, data growth and limitations in traditional technologies (which start to stutter at the petabyte capacity range).
  • Users expect always on and accessible storage from new web-based applications.
  • Inefficient data silos or locking data into a single location, limiting the ability for reuse and analysis—particularly in big data, life sciences and medical imaging use cases where sharing information literally can be a matter of life or death.


A Deeper Dive Into Object Storage


Object storage can solve many of today’s storage challenges. Want to learn more? Watch the video A Deeper Dive Into Object Storage. Where we delve into the advancements and fundamentals of object storage, and share customer success stories with organizations that have adopted object storage.