What is cloud storage?
Cloud storage is an innovative way to manage, preserve, and retrieve data remotely. As opposed to on-prem storage, cloud storage leverages third-party-managed remote data centers to store and serve data. This design is flexible, dependable, and delivers value for money. Data can be accessed from virtually any cloud-connected device. Cloud storage solutions emphasize security and often include data encryption, automatic backups, and multi-factor authentication to protect data. In an increasingly digital environment, cloud storage delivers simplicity, flexibility, and accessibility to companies and individuals.
Types of cloud storage
A key element of modern computing is cloud storage, which enables users to store and retrieve their data remotely. Today businesses have access to both private cloud (on-premises and co-location) as well as public cloud storage options:
- Private cloud storage, hosted on-site or by a third party, is dedicated to a single business. Businesses with strict security and regulatory requirements prioritize private cloud solutions, like HPE GreenLake, which provide businesses with more control over data.
- Public cloud storage vendors charge a subscription fee for their cloud storage services. These providers operate massive data centers that consumers can access online. Several popular examples are Google cloud storage and Microsoft azure blob storage. Storage in the public cloud is affordable, scalable, and suitable for companies with different storage requirements.
In practice, most enterprises employ a hybrid cloud strategy so that they can flexibly deploy workloads where and when they need them. Hybrid cloud storage provides a versatile and adaptable solution by combining the best of private and public cloud resources. With this strategy, businesses can tailor their data storage strategies to meet specific needs.
Alongside an agile combination of private and public cloud resources, businesses will leverage different storage protocols for diverse use cases:
- Block storage, in which data is stored as blocks of a defined size, is frequently employed in databases and virtual machines that call for high-performance input/output operations. Block storage products that offer low latency and enterprise-grade reliability include HPE GreenLake for Block Storage built on HPE Alletra Storage MP.
- File storage is a hierarchical structure designed to store and manage files. It is a key ingredient in AI and other data-intensive workloads, which often demand high performance at huge scale from their underlying storage. File storage systems that can meet those demands include HPE GreenLake for File Storage.
- Object storage enables businesses to organize massive volumes of unstructured data. Scalable and economical, this approach stores data as objects in a flat address space as opposed to a conventional file structure. Applications requiring massive volumes of data, such as backups, multimedia files, and archives are best suited for object storage.
Cloud storage architecture
Cloud storage architectures are complex hardware-software data storage, retrieval, and administration systems.
- Public cloud companies build massive data centers with storage servers, networking infrastructure, and virtualization. The scalability, redundancy, and high availability of these data centers allow customers to access their data anywhere with an internet connection. Security and data protection are improved by advanced features like data backup, encryption, and multi-factor identification.
- Private cloud can be deployed on-premises or using third-party infrastructure. Security rules and access restrictions can be customized to give organizations more control over data. Private cloud installations use SDS and HCI to improve administration and resource usage.
How to use cloud storage?
Cloud storage requires numerous procedures to store, access, and manage data.
- When choosing a cloud storage provider, consider your scalability, security, and affordability requirements. Consider the flexibility benefits of a hybrid cloud approach such as the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform.
- Sign up for a cloud storage account with your provider and set up access restrictions, encryption, and data retention rules to meet your organization's needs.
- Choose a vendor with comprehensive monitoring of storage resources so that you can keep track of storage consumption and performance data to spot bottlenecks. Optimize storage and data location for performance and cost.
- Stop data loss and corruption with comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery solutions. Modern cloud storage vendors like HPE GreenLake offer as-a-service backup and recovery as well as disaster recovery options.
- Cloud storage may be maximized by combining computation, analytics, and machine learning. Connect storage to application development platforms, data analytics tools, and business intelligence solutions to improve workflows and innovation.
How does cloud storage work?
Storing data in the cloud offers a solution that is both flexible and scalable. It enables individuals, organizations, and enterprises to more easily store and manage their digital assets. Most enterprises operate with a hybrid cloud model, making use of cloud-model resources both in the public cloud, on-prem, and at the edge.
To access stored data, users authenticate themselves through secure login credentials. Once established, they can retrieve, modify, or delete their data. Cloud storage services offer features like data encryption, backup, and recovery.
Scalability is a primary benefit of cloud storage. Organizations can quickly scale up their storage capacity as data needs grow by allocating more resources from the cloud storage vendor. Conversely, resources can be scaled down when storage requirements decrease to avoid unnecessary costs. This flexibility allows businesses to align their storage costs with their actual needs, eliminating the need for upfront investments in physical hardware.
Storing, managing, and accessing data becomes dynamic and efficient with the use of cloud storage. It combines security measures, redundancy, and scalability to ensure the availability and integrity of stored data across a variety of models. It has changed how individuals and organizations manage information, providing a robust and flexible storage solution for the digital age.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Storage and On-Premises Storage
|Advantages of Cloud Storage
|Advantages of On-Premises Cloud Solutions
|Scalability: Cloud storage allows for easy scalability, enabling organizations to expand storage capacity as needed.
|Data Control: On-premises solutions offer direct control over data, enhancing security and compliance measures.
|Accessibility: Data stored in the cloud is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, promoting remote work and collaboration.
|Data Governance: On-premises solutions allow for tailored data governance policies and compliance enforcement.
|Cost Efficiency: Public cloud providers offer pay-as-you-go pricing, potentially reducing upfront infrastructure costs.
|Cost Predictability: On-premises solutions can provide greater cost predictability, avoiding unexpected cloud service fees.
|Disaster Recovery: Cloud providers offer robust disaster recovery options, ensuring data resilience in the event of outages or disasters.
|Security Control: On-premises environments offer complete control over security measures, reducing the risk of third-party breaches.
|Automatic Updates: Cloud providers manage system updates and maintenance, reducing the burden on IT teams.
|Customization: On-premises solutions allow for tailored infrastructure configurations to meet specific business needs.
|Disadvantages of Cloud Storage
|Disadvantages of On-Premises Cloud Solutions
|Dependence on Internet: Cloud storage relies on internet connectivity, making it vulnerable to outages.
|Capital Costs: On-premises solutions often require substantial upfront capital investments in hardware and infrastructure.
|Data Security Concerns: Storing data off-site raises security and privacy concerns, potentially exposing data to breaches.
|Maintenance Responsibility: Organizations are responsible for hardware maintenance, which can be resource-intensive.
|Cost Overruns: Unexpected cloud service charges can lead to cost overruns if resource usage is not carefully monitored.
|Limited Scalability: On-premises solutions may face scalability limitations, necessitating additional investments in hardware.
|Limited Control: Organizations have limited control over cloud infrastructure, which may not align with specific security requirements.
|Complexity: Managing on-premises infrastructure can be complex, requiring skilled IT personnel.
|Data Transfer Costs: Moving large volumes of data in and out of the cloud can incur data transfer costs.
|Disaster Recovery Challenges: Building and maintaining a robust disaster recovery infrastructure on-premises can be challenging and costly.
Modern applications of cloud storage
Thanks to cloud technology, data storage is quickly becoming more agile, scalable, and cost effective. And for businesses around the world, cloud storage is being used nearly every day, helping them improve and optimize IT infrastructure, accelerate growth, and power decision-making across any number of verticals. In other words, compared to traditional or hard metal services, cloud storage lets companies decentralize the data they create, collect, and store, making it easier to access, share, and protect data from any point in the world—so long as you have an Internet connection.
You don’t have to look far to find cloud storage on the market. The most common and accessible types of cloud storage are public, with applications such as Google Docs topping the list. Here, users can compose documents and other content, save it, revise it, share it, and even work side-by-side with people in one virtual environment. Fewer physical roadblocks enable new levels of collaboration that wouldn’t be possible with bare metal servers.
But cloud storage has also become the go-to solution for general-, mission-, and business-critical workloads, as well as for protecting the massive amounts of data that enterprises collect.
On mission-critical workloads, cloud storage can enhance the performance of applications in need of ultra-low latency, extreme availability, and scalability at a moment’s notice. For business-critical workloads, web applications that have service-level agreements (SLAs) can get the resiliency, availability, and performance work functions needed for everyday operations and beyond. And for more mainstream needs, storage is readily available.
Cloud storage is also an active ingredient in data protection and data management, adding an extra layer of security while serving as a reliable back-up in case of unexpected disaster.
Cloud storage architecture is designed to provide reliability, scalability, and data availability. However, organizations need to understand the specifics of their chosen cloud provider's architecture and implement appropriate strategies to optimize their data's durability, availability, and recoverability based on their business needs.
Cloud Storage Best Practices
A. Data Governance and Lifecycle Management:
- Data Classification and Retention Policies:
- Define data retention periods to ensure compliance with regulations.
- Categorize data into tiers based on access frequency and importance.
- Data Archival and Deletion Strategies:
- Move the least-accessed data to lower-cost storage tiers or archives.
- Implement data expiration policies to delete outdated data automatically.
- Maintain a balance between accessibility and cost when deciding on archival or deletion.
- Compliance Considerations for Data Storage:
- Understand data privacy and compliance regulations relevant to your industry.
- Choose cloud storage solutions with encryption, access controls, and compliance certifications.
- Regularly audit and review your data storage practices to ensure compliance.
B. Cost Management and Optimization:
- Monitoring and Optimizing Cloud Storage Costs:
- Monitor storage usage, access patterns, and egress data to identify cost drivers.
- Utilize cloud provider tools or third-party solutions to track and analyze costs.
- Utilizing Data Lifecycle Management for Cost Savings:
- Implement automated data lifecycle policies to transition data between storage tiers based on usage patterns.
- Archive infrequently accessed data to lower-cost storage options.
- Right-Sizing Storage Resources for Efficiency:
- Choose storage options that match your performance and capacity needs.
- Avoid overprovisioning by regularly reviewing and adjusting storage allocations.
Cloud storage costs can add up, so optimizing usage and minimizing unnecessary expenses is essential. Regularly assess your data management practices, ensure compliance, and seek opportunities for cost savings without compromising data availability and security.
HPE GreenLake powers cloud storage
Via the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform, HPE has been at the forefront of innovation in the hybrid cloud space. From on-demand, enterprise-grade block and file storage to SaaS-based backup and recovery and disaster recovery, HPE GreenLake delivers the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio to store, manage, and protect data across hybrid cloud. HPE solutions extend customer flexibility and simplify data management with an intuitive cloud experience everywhere:
- HPE GreenLake for Block Storage — Simplify data management with self-service agility for all your apps via enterprise block storage built on an expanded HPE Alletra portfolio.
- HPE GreenLake for File Storage — Accelerate data-first modernization by powering data-intensive workloads with enterprise-grade, scale-out file storage.
- HPE Alletra Storage — Seamlessly run any app without compromise from edge to cloud with an intuitive cloud experience for every workload.
- HPE GreenLake Private Cloud Business Edition — Build a self-service, self-managed private cloud on demand wherever needed, with a unified interface to simplify VM to infrastructure management.
- HPE GreenLake for Backup and Recovery — Easily deliver for every backup SLA across hybrid cloud with industry-leading backup, recovery, and ransomware protection.
- HPE GreenLake for Disaster Recovery — Slash risk of data loss with simple, self-service disaster recovery that deploys in minutes and delivers industry-leading RPOs and RTOs. Think of it as disaster recovery at your fingertips.