object storage

Unveiling Object Storage: Definition, Function, and Benefits

Businesses need to store information in a way that is secure, and easily accessible. With time, data storage needs have changed with the advent of the intent and the growing list of data types and sources. But most of the data that businesses generate is unstructured. It includes web pages, logs, photos, videos, and sensor data among others. 

Conventional block and file storage forms are no longer ideal for handling the huge amounts being generated. This is particularly true for unstructured data because it does not fit in structured storage methods. Cloud storage offers a better option. The cloud leverages object storage to save huge amounts of data, including data that’s not structured.

Defining Object Storage 

In very basic terms, object storage refers to a data storage architecture that’s used to store unstructured data. This infrastructure divides data into units known as objects. The objects are then stored in a flat data environment. Each object has data and is assigned metadata plus a unique identifier like a name for quick retrieval and access.  But these objects aren’t stored in folders like in conventional folders. Instead, they are stored in a data pool that puts them together in one place. This explains how large amounts of data can be stored in object storage really fast.

How Does Object Storage Work?

Data blocks in any file are stored together as a single object in object storage. In the data pool, each object carries the relevant metadata and the unique identifier. Object storage systems use metadata and unique identifiers to find objects like an audio file or image that a user seeks to retrieve or access. Users can customize the metadata to add relevant contexts for a wide range of reasons including data analytics.

Users can find and access objects using HTTPs, RESTful APIs, or HTTP to query an object’s metadata. The storage of objects is done on a worldwide storage pool, which makes it easier and faster to find the actual data you wish to retrieve. Additionally, the flat environment that is used in object storage allows businesses to scale their storage space fast. 

Another aspect worth noting is that object storage is that the data pools can be spread over multiple geographic locations and devices. This gives it unlimited ability to scale. All you need to do is to add storage devices to your pool as data increases.  This scalability makes object storage a good fit for organizing and managing unstructured data in the cloud.

What are the Main Use Cases of Object Storage?

Businesses can use cloud object storage in various ways. These include

1- Internet Of Things :Object storage can leverage artificial intelligence to manage data shared between machines more effectively and efficiently. Businesses can also leverage object storage to perform advanced analytics from IoT data.

2-App Storage: One of the ways businesses can use object storage is to store cloud-native app data during development or migration.

3-Data Analytics : Since object storage can handle huge amounts of data, they are ideal for big analytics. Companies that leverage this storage can query their data to undertake big data analytics to get valuable insights about the market, operations, and customers.

4-Data Backup : Object storage can be used to archive and backup data while maintaining access. With this form of data storage, companies can store and distribute rich media data like videos and audio files globally via cloud storage. 

Benefits of Object Storage

Object storage offers users a range of benefits, including

1-Resilience : Object storage comes with the automatic ability to duplicate data and have it stored in multiple locations or devices. This makes the storage ideal for supporting disaster recovery because the risk of data loss and power outage is highly reduced.

2-Scalability :Object storage leverages flat architecture, which allows users to expand storage space seamlessly. Flat architecture also makes it possible for this kind of storage to overcome the limitations of traditional storage like block or file storage. This makes cloud storage limitless as users can scale it by adding new devices.

3-Fast Data Retrieval :Object storage eliminates conventional hierarchical systems that are highly complex by utilizing directories or folders. Since object storage does not have complex participation or trees, users can retrieve stored files easier and faster because they don’t have to know the actual location.

4-Search Capabilities : The other benefit that object storage offers is easy search. The objects stored in this type of storage have metadata that makes them easy to search and navigate without the use of separate applications. Object storage is also easy to customize and offers more flexibility. Users can use information or attributes like cost, consumption or deletion, tiering, or retention policies to tag their files.

5-Affordability :Object storage is cost-efficient because it’s capable of holding large amounts of data at a lesser price compared to block and file-based storage systems. For object storage, users only pay for the amount of storage they need. This gives them control over the amount they spend, even when they’re storing big amounts of data.

Final Thoughts 

In the modern digital world, the data on the internet is largely unstructured. It includes photos, videos, audio files, sensor data, web pages, and other forms of textual and non-textual data. People are constantly streaming this data from search engines, mobile devices, social media, and smart devices. Conventional systems struggle to store and manage these unprecedented amounts of data. Object storage provides better storage. 

It has emerged as the ideal way for archiving, managing, storing, and backing up huge volumes of unstructured or static data efficiently and in a much more scalable and affordable way. With object storage, users can manage and store big volumes of data like terabytes and petabytes or even more.