How Does Cloud Object Storage Compare with Other Solutions?
Solutions such as SAN and NAS offer the benefit of onsite data storage, which is best suited for hierarchical file systems. Typical cloud-based systems, meanwhile, shift the heavy lifting away from data centers and into public or hybrid cloud frameworks.
But cloud object storage offers the best of both worlds. “The easiest way to think of it: It’s cloud tech that resides in your own data center behind your own firewall,” says Toor. “It’s close by and easy to use. And it’s part of your own infrastructure.” Thanks to their modular nature, object-based solutions can be easily expanded as storage requirements grow, offering capacity on demand with zero downtime.
Compared with other solutions, this approach offers better data security. “You get the same visibility around who’s accessing your data as with traditional cloud technology,” says Toor. “You can spot if it’s being accessed improperly and set up alerts to notify you.”
Toor also highlights the persistent nature of this storage solution. “This is an evergreen environment,” he says. “We sell a complete box, and you create a cluster by tying three boxes together. You add new boxes over time. As they age, they need to be swapped out. After five years, you simply add new boxes, migrate the data transparently in the background and decommission the service with no disruption and no downtime.”
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How Can Higher Education Benefit from Object-Based Storage?
Toor points to three substantive benefits for postsecondary schools transitioning to cloud object storage:
- Addressability: Since object-based storage offers unique identifiers that include metadata for every data object — and these objects aren’t constrained by size or information type — it helps researchers quickly find the data they need in academia. “You don’t have to look at the data itself,” says Toor. “For research, it lets you make better use of your metadata.”
- Accessibility: Cloud object storage can reside in onsite data centers. Compared with traditional cloud solutions, this helps universities and colleges increase accessibility. Instead of having access requests travel back and forth from cloud servers, all data is stored and handled nearby.
- Affordability: “What organizations zero in on is that cloud object storage costs 70 percent less than typical cloud storage, even factoring in the rack space and power,” Toor says. This is critical for higher education institutions that need time to recover financially from the pandemic.
Consider the University of Leicester’s recent adoption of Cloudian S3 compatible object storage. Not only did the school improve accessibility by eliminating its single-point-of-failure backup system, it also reduced storage space requirements by 50 percent, saving 25 percent in storage costs.
When it comes to adopting object-based storage for postsecondary schools, Toor puts it simply: “You can build it across multiple locations and can scale to any size. That’s why people move to cloud object storage.”