What is cloud storage?

If you’re new to the cloud world, the first thing you probably want to know (and of course, the first thing you want to understand) is what exactly cloud storage means. Of course, you’re also probably asking yourself what is cloud storage, how does it works, what are the benefits of using it for managing our files and so on.

There is a lot to say about cloud storage, but we won’t overwhelm you with all these details from the beginning. In this first post we will focus more on explaining what is it, how does it work and what are the advantages of using cloud storage for managing and backing up your data.

What is cloud storage?

At first, if you want to find more about this topic, you’ll probably want to google it, but there is a lot of information and you’ll have a hard time finding the right info: there are a lot of articles about cloud history and other low-level functional details, but in my opinion these aren’t what a person would like to find. I would like to find some brief explanation of what is cloud storage, how does it work and it’s benefits, and this is exactly what you’ll find in this article.

Cloud storage definition

Basically, cloud storage is a model of networked online storage where data is stored in virtualized pools of storage which are generally hosted by third parties. Physically, the resource may span across multiple servers. You can access these cloud services through a gateway, a web service application programming interface (API), or through a Web-based user interface.

Here’s a little video which explains shortly what is cloud storage:

 

Cloud storage characteristics

The following characteristics are the most important ones for cloud storage (they are the same as the ones for cloud computing also):

  • Agility improves with users’ ability to re-provision technological infrastructure resources.
  • Application programming interface (API) accessibility to software that enables machines to interact with cloud software in the same way the user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers.
  • Scalability and Elasticity via dynamic (“on-demand”) provisioning of resources on a fine-grained, self-service basis near real-time, without users having to engineer for peak loads.
  • Multitenancy enables sharing of resources and costs across a large pool of users thus allowing for:
  1. Centralization of infrastructure in locations with lower costs (such as real estate, electricity, etc.)
  2. Peak-load capacity increases (users need not engineer for highest possible load-levels)
  3. Utilisation and efficiency improvements for systems that are often only 10–20% utilised.

Cloud storage advantages

There are a couple of advantages which are worth mentioning, because these can be crucial in helping someone to decide if cloud storage is good for him or not.

  • First of all, you will pay only for the storage you are actually using. You need more storage, you pay more, you need less storage, it’s gonna cost you less. This is good because it offers a dynamic and convenient payment type.
  • Second, you do not need to install physical storage devices in your own datacenter or offices.
  • Another great advantage is that you will be able to focus more on your core business, because the cloud storage providers will take care of the storage maintenance tasks, such as backup, data replication and others.
  • Also, the users of these resources stored in the cloud will have immediate access to a wide range of resources, tools and applications which are hosted in the infrastructure of another organization via a web service interface.

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