Object Storage is The Scalable Architecture of Choice for Modern Data Environments

What is object storage?

What is Object Storage?

Object storage is a data storage architecture in which data is stored and managed as self-contained units called objects. Each object contains a key, data, and optional metadata. Flat, API-friendly, and highly scalable, object storage is the format of choice for public cloud storage services like Amazon S3 and on-premises solutions like Pure Storage® FlashBlade®.

Object Storage vs. File Storage vs. Block Storage

In the world of data storage, there are three main approaches to storing your data: file, block, and object. Let’s take a look at the main differences between them: 

Object Storage is a storage format in which data is stored in discrete units called objects. Each unit has a unique identifier or key, which allows them to be found no matter where they’re stored on a distributed system. 

Objects function as modular units, each acting as self-contained repositories complete with metadata that describes details like permissions, privacies, securities, contingencies, and other information. It’s similar to a photograph, for example, which might contain metadata describing the camera settings used to take a picture along with the time and place it was taken. 

Object storage supports HTTP and REST, the application programming interface (API) architecture used by most websites and software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps. 

Block Storage breaks data up into separate pieces of fixed-sized blocks of data that each get a unique identifier. Block storage allows the underlying storage system to retrieve it no matter where it gets stored. Block storage decouples data from its storage environment, allowing the storage area network to store data where it's most convenient regardless of the underlying operating system. That means even if your storage system is a hybrid of cloud service providers, Linux servers, and Windows servers, your SAN will be able to quickly reassemble and retrieve your data when you need it. 

File Storage is the storage format most people are familiar with—data is stored in files you can interact with in folders within a hierarchical file directory. It’s the storage format used by direct-attached storage (DAS) and network-attached storage (NAS) systems. Every time you access files on a hard drive, your local computer, or a shared drive hosted on a company server, you’re dealing with file storage. The file path to a specific piece of data can be long and inefficient, but the tradeoff is greater convenience for the user.

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The Benefits of Object Storage

The primary benefits of object-based storage include:

  • Scalability: A flat architecture unencumbered by folder hierarchies or block tables provides near-infinite scalability.
  • On-demand data: Object storage makes it easier to pay only for the storage capacity you use. With infinite scalability, your data storage can grow with your organisation.
  • Metadata-driven data analytics: Metadata gives you unprecedented control over the data in your system.
  • API support: You can access and manage data in object storage systems via REST commands.
  • Improved data integrity: Object storage systems can leverage erasure coding to protect data integrity by rebuilding chunks of your data and performing integrity checks to prevent corruption.

Object Storage Use Cases

Here are a few scenarios in which object storage really shines:

  • Developing SaaS apps and websites: RESTful APIs and data objects make life easier for developers building SaaS apps and websites.
  • Managing unstructured data: A flat, hierarchy-free data structure makes it great for storing unstructured data (e.g., images, audio, video) to infinite scale.
  • Powering the Internet of Things (IoT): Metadata can be especially useful for managing data across a fleet of IoT devices.

Why Choose Pure FlashBlade for Object Storage?

Pure Storage® is a pioneer in developing enterprise-grade, all-flash storage systems with native performance. FlashBlade® is the industry's most advanced solution delivering native scale-out file and object storage. By combining the infinite scalability of object storage with the massive throughput and parallelism of NVMe storage, FlashBlade delivers a Modern Data Experience™ that scales with your business needs.

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