A cloud storage service is a business that maintains and manages its customers’ data and makes that data accessible over a network, usually the Internet. Most services are based on a utility storage model.
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A public cloud storage service is usually suitable for unstructured data that is not subject to constant change. The infrastructure usually consists of inexpensive storage nodes attached to commodity drives. Data is stored on multiple nodes for redundancy and accessed through Internet protocols, typically Representational State Transfer (REST). Public cloud storage service providers include Amazon, AT&T, Iron Mountain, Microsoft, Nirvanix and Rackspace.
A private cloud storage service is more suitable for actively used data and for data that an organization needs more control over. Storage is on a dedicated infrastructure within the data center, which helps ensure security and performance. One example of a private cloud storage offering is the Hitachi Data Systems Cloud Service for Private File Tiering.
Some enterprise users opt for a hybrid cloud storage model, storing unstructured data with a public cloud provider but storing actively used and structured data with a private cloud provider.
Things to consider in a cloud storage service:
- Does the service use REST, the most commonly used cloud storage API?
- Are you migrating data from an existing archival storage product?
- Does your data have to be preserved in some specific format to meet compliance requirements? That capacity is not commonly available.
- Can the provider deal with large fluctuations in resource demands?
- Does the provider offer both public and private clouds? This may become important if you someday want to migrate data from one type of service to the other.