File storage and block storage are nothing but ways to store data on SAN and NAS systems. In the NAS or Network Attached Storage system, devices are attached to the network and a mountable file system can be seen; here, users get to access files using proper access rights. So, a NAS system is expected to handle user privileges and file locking as well as other security measures for many users to access the files.

What Are File Storage And Block Storage Systems Used For?

The file storage system, as the name implies, is responsible for positioning files inside the NAS. File is going to be structures within a file system. There is a hierarchy of files so that it is easier to locate a single file by describing its path. There are also certain attributes which may describe such a file and its content like the owner, the size and who can access it. These are stored in the form of metadata in the file system. For sharing files securely amongst multiple users, a network attached storage or NAS is needed.

Block storage will work similarly but unlike file storage wherein data is managed at the file level, here the data gets stored inside blocks. So, many blocks will make up a file. The block has a unique address; the application can restore a block by making SCSI call to this address. Unlike NAS, this application basically decides where the data will be placed and how storage must be organized. It also decides how blocks can be combined and how they can be accessed. The blocks inside a SAN are not going to have metadata relating to the application or storage system and therefore blocks refer to data segments lacking description, associations an owner of the storage. Everything gets controlled by SAN software. Both these methods have been around for many years for storing data. These are primarily used for performance-hungry apps such as transactions and databases since data can be modified and saved once it is accessed. But there is still the requirement for a third concept which is called object storage.

Object Storage

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Why Do You Need Object Storage?

Objects inside object storage refer to bundled data which have corresponding metadata. The object is given a unique identified ID which can be calculated from the metadata and file content. So, applications will identify an object using this ID. Object storage will be able to save just one file version. When any user makes changes, another version of this file gets stored as new object. This is why object storage is best suited for backups and archiving solutions. It can also refer to storage which contains a large quantity of video which you may watch but you cannot change like those on YouTube.

Here, object is managed through the app itself which supports object storage. So, you will not need any file system and the layer is completely obsolete. Since there is streamlined data management in the absence of real file systems, object storage can be much more easily scaled up compared to either file storage or block storage. You can simply add disks to the solution and you will not need management solutions for getting additional space. This is a big advantage as a time when data is growing exponentially. This explains why object storage is ideally suited for large volumes of data; it is therefore being extensively used by cloud hosting providers like Amazon and Google.

While block storage and file storage can guarantee enhanced performance, object storage with its scalability and granular metadata is equally useful. It is important to know which cases can use object storage to their advantage.

Object Storage Provider

What Are The Features Of Object Storage?

The object is nothing but data and along with metadata it forms an object. This object is provided with an ID but these will be stored in flat structure unlike file storage and block storage. So, you will have pool of objects and you may ask for any one after presenting its ID. The objects may be separated physically but since they are in flat address space it is possible to retrieve them in the same manner. The object will also not be limited to any definite amount of metadata. You can assign any amount of metadata to it, like the importance of the application, or data protection that you wish to assign to it, or whether the object should be replicated to other sites etc.

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So, this type of metadata is much more than what you can include in file systems. This fact that object storage offers you flexibility to describe metadata just as you wish to differentiate it from the other two types of storage. This automatically opens up the scope for analytics. So, when you want an easy means for managing data storage and a service which cuts across borders and offers rich metadata, it is best to choose object storage. The only downside is that it is usually low performance and may demand changes to application codes.