As businesses become increasingly digital, cost-effective storage has come into focus as a critical component. Big data techniques and the expansion of file size in our graphics-rich culture have contributed to a rise in cloud storage needs. Meanwhile, the emergence of DevOps has highlighted the need for flexible and easy-to-integrate components that fit neatly into custom applications.
In this climate of exploding needs and contracting budgets, the cloud has emerged as an important storage component. Rather than investing in expensive hardware to accommodate peak loads, companies choose to keep a smaller local storage footprint and then expand into the cloud as needed. Some organizations are even choosing to build a complete storage solution around the cloud to capitalize on the inherent flexibility, scalability, and redundancy of cloud computing.
Whether you employ the cloud as your primary storage or as a bursting solution for overflow scenarios, there are several options for cloud storage technologies. The object storage model is a flexible and inexpensive alternative that is gaining popularity around the world. By eliminating the rigid and inefficient segmentation associated with the block storage architecture, object storage adapts easily to the cloud environment, storing data efficiently, and lending itself to convenient replication and automation.
Essential technology for cloud-based object storage is the S3 API. S3 is a RESTful API, which means it integrates easily with web applications and DevOps-ready management tools. S3-compatible storage is a good fit for orchestration scenarios where compute capacity expands with need. Assets are referenced by URL, making it very easy to create custom applications and integrate your cloud storage with other technologies, such as OpenStack and Ceph.
Amazon created S3, but the S3 API is available to all cloud vendors. Widespread adoption of the S3 API among cloud providers means you can build your storage around the S3 API without fear of vendor lock-in. You can migrate your cloud presence—or add additional resources later with a different vendor—without the need to retool the customer environment.
Adopting an S3-compatible object storage solution from alternative cloud vendors provides several potential benefits, including lower cost, simplicity, and more direct customer service. Services from hyperscale vendors such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Azure are often too complicated for companies that don’t have a team of experts on staff.
The alternative cloud provides a full range of enterprise services but emphasize simplicity and more personal customer support. The potential for integrating the S3 API with other cloud services and its power as a component in custom solutions plays to the alternative cloud’s strengths, and S3-compatible object storage is a popular product in the alternative cloud portfolio.
S3-compatible object storage is proven, stable, and inexpensive technology, making it ideal for any scenario that doesn’t require low latency, such as archives and backup sets, as well as long-term storage for assets such as images, documents, and multimedia files. For a closer look at real-world S3-compatible object storage in an alternative cloud setting, see “How to Use Linode Object Storage.”