In our Storage Series, we’ve discussed the differences between Object Storage vs. Block Storage. Knowing the technical differences between these two storage products is vital when making storage decisions for your business. In this post, we’ll be highlighting some of the more popular use cases – and we’ll hopefully help you identify which storage solution is best for you.
In our previous blog post “What is Block Storage?”, we provide a detailed and technical description for this storage solution. However, to simplify things, it may help to think of block storage like an external hard drive; one that has a maximum capacity for storage before it begins to operate inefficiently. Liquid Web’s Storm® Block Storage, for example, has a hard limit of 15 TB. Block storage also allows users to frequently access their data and manipulate or edit files as needed. Because of these benefits, block storage is the most common of the two storage solutions.
If you run out of storage space …
One of the best use cases for block storage is simply when your data outgrows the available space on your server. Block storage provides an easy way to expand your storage beyond the capacity of your instance and create room for even more data (up to 15TB).
If you need remote storage …
There are many reasons why you might want to store data off your server, including keeping your data safe from disaster or satisfying a need for redundant storage. Block storage is separate from your local server, providing a safe and secure method of storing your data.
If you need to share storage across servers …
Let’s say you need to synchronize content between three file servers… how do you do it? First, you’ll need Storm Block Storage®, which allows for easy ‘cross attaching’ or attaching the same block storage volume to multiple servers. Second, you’ll need to implement a shared-disk file system (or clustered file system). This combination allows you to physically separate your storage from your servers and easily share storage by simultaneously mounting the block storage ‘drive’ to multiple servers.
Our blog post “What is Object Storage?”, provides an in-depth explanation of how object storage handles data. Simply put, object storage operates more like an FTP server (in contrast to how block storage operates more like an external hard drive). It utilizes sequential read/writes, which allow it to scale to extremely large sizes with great efficiency, but that means your files cannot be manipulated in small parts – instead, the whole file, or object, must be edited and re-uploaded. For these reasons, object storage is ideal for long-term storage of high volumes of data.
If you are archiving all of your backups …
Archived data often comes in extremely high volumes, especially if that archived data includes backups intended for disaster recovery. Object storage is ideal for these large quantities due to its efficiency at storing high data volumes and virtually infinite capability for scaling.
If you need to store a lot of static files …
Object Storage is also ideal for unstructured, static files, especially files that might take up a large amount of space, such as images, music, and videos. Not only is an object storage instance capable of easily scaling up to your storage needs, but it will also ensure your files are available across the web with minimal latency.
If your web applications have high storage needs …
Because object storage is often accessed through an API, it is ideal for API-driven web applications, especially those that may have large storage needs. In this instance, a virtually infinite amount of static files can be stored on an object storage instance and called by the API for purposes of your web app (or other need).
Both block storage and object storage are excellent storage solutions for a variety of projects. Identifying your needs first will help you determine which solution is best for you. If you’d like to learn more about our Storm Block Storage® or Storm Object Storage®, contact our always available Heroic Support® staff or head over to our Knowledge Base for more information on how to use both storage solutions.