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What is Object Storage?

Choosing a flexible and scalable data storage option for your business is crucial. It will define how well your solution interacts with your clients, and how you can grow your business in the long run. One of the most popular solutions to manipulate and store data is object storage, thanks to its capacity to handle unstructured data, unlimited scaling options and other benefits.

Let’s dive into the details and see how object storage can be beneficial for your business.

What does object storage mean?

Also called object-based storage, object storage has been around for a relatively short time. It is a data storage architecture where each data unit is stored as a self-contained, discrete unit. These units are called ‘objects’. Each object is a self-contained repository, with unique data, metadata and ID.

All the objects are stored in a flat address space, and there is no limit to how many objects you can store. Objects can be any type of data: video, audio, text, .pdf, etc.

What are the features of object storage?

· All objects have their own metadata. The metadata allows better identification and classification.
· Managing unstructured data.
· Unlimited scalability. You can infinitely add extra storage as your solution and data grow.
· To address an object, you only need to know the name of the object (key). Enter the key in the lookup table to retrieve the object.

Object storage advantages

According to some analysists, soon most of the data will be unstructured, which makes object storage the first option for storing and managing your data. Here is what you win by choosing object storage:

· Unlimited scalability. Object storage is the only option that can store data at a huge scale, up to petabytes.
· Cost efficiency and flexibility. Unlike with file storage where you need to pay for storage in advance, with object storage you pay only for what has been used.
· Thanks to the flat structure, object storage overcomes many limitations that come with file storage. These limitations are mostly due to the hierarchical organization.
· Customizable metadata makes it easier to handle large amounts of data.

What are the object storage types?

The types of object storage are defined by how often a client accesses the storage.

· “Hot” storage is for data that requires very frequent access. This is for any information which you consider crucial and you need to retrieve regularly. For example, it would be relevant to use hot storage for data dealing with customer requests in real-time.
· “Warm” storage is data that doesn’t need to be accessed often. To optimize the capacity, it goes to the warm storage. For instance, it can be analytics or reporting — you might need to retrieve it from time to time but it doesn’t require immediate, very fast access daily.
· “Cold” storage is for even less frequently accessed data. This is for information that is no longer active and / or relevant but you might still need access to it at a certain point. A good example of data for cold storage is past financial data. Even though the transactions are in the past and you don’t need them daily, you still need to have a record of them.

The colder the storage, the less expensive it is. When you are considering the storage plan, re-think your access requirements. Modern systems allow different access patterns for different data at the same time. For example, Scaleway offers S3 compatible object storage, which is ideal for varied access patterns.

What is an example of object storage?

Object storage is ideal for handling and storing large volumes of static or unstructured data. The truth is, most of us come across object storage every day. Here are some most common use cases of object storage use.

  • Storing big amounts of unstructured entertainment data: music, video, images, graphic files, etc.
  • Archived data. Object storage perfectly works for the data which doesn’t need to be updated very often — reports, healthcare files, financial data on past transactions, etc.
  • Backup files for apps and workloads.
  • Static websites. As your website grows, you can easily add storage by expanding the plan.
  • Personal medical files. Thanks to enhanced security, object storage is also a solid option for personal medical data both in terms of efficiency and protection
  • Cloud native applications

The last example of object storage use is relatively recent, yet, most modern applications rely on object storage. Let us see in detail how it works.

Object storage for cloud native applications

Cloud native application development and object storage go hand in hand. The app development is a process that never stops, and businesses need a solution which will bring the app to the market quickly and for a reasonable price.

Object storage is the best solution of cloud native applications.
Applications can connect to the object store directly. As the business and the app solution grow, you can adjust the object storage plan and scale accordingly.
Object storage is durable, scalable, secure and affordable, offering you fast and agile access to the data.

As you can see, using object storage is beneficial for your business on so many levels. How do you choose the storage provider who will bring you all the possible benefits and beyond?

Scaleway Elements Object Storage

Leading player on the European cloud market, Scaleway offers a scalable and affordable object storage solution — Scaleway Elements Object Storage. You have already seen all the pros of object storage, and this solution overdelivers on each one of them.

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