The definitive guide to cloud storage
Businesses, firms, and individuals are increasingly adopting cloud data storage because they require more flexibility, versatility, and space capability as well as looking for a better way to handle storage costs over time.
Thanks to cloud storage – now, you no longer need to save all your documents on one particular machine. Instead, you can obtain your files from any computer at any time.
All of these did not happen overnight. Instead, they go through an evolution over time.
Check out our Memory and Storage: Then and Now, for a road down the memory lane for storage.
Think about it.
Back in the day, companies and businesses purchased in-house data center support based on their need for storage space. The data center is maintained by trained experts to keep the system up and running.
It can be a tedious job as the power, servers, bandwidth, networks, cooling, and office space, as well the constant maintenance requires to be consistent.It can also be proven to be expensive to maintain a business-owned and operated data center.
On the other hand, cloud storage allows businesses to store data and files, as well as perform backups to an external location offsite, saving them time, space, hassle, and expenses.
Billing for cloud storage services also works just like the way you pay for utilities such as water, electricity, and gas in your home; month-to-month basis.
Some even offer annual charges with great discounts.
You save 16.64% if paying annually compare to month to month basis with Tresorit. Sync.com offer only annual billing cycle. The best part is pCloud that offer lifetime subscription where you only pay once and use the cloud storage for lifetime.
The cloud is known for its extraordinarily resilient and manageable composition.
But you should also consider these factors before moving to the cloud though.
For heavy tasks, you have instant access to scaled-up computing power on the boost. When you’re done with it, you directly publish it back to the cloud.
Plus, data is collected and stored on a virtual server, not the employees’ actual devices.
Now, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes.
Chapter 1: What is the Cloud?
The first information you need to know is that “the cloud” resides in widely distributed data centers, which you access via the internet.
It is a collection of networked mainframe hardware that works together to provide many features of computing in the formation of online services.
You can’t physically touch the machine itself in the public cloud, but you can manage it remotely through web browser interfaces.
One of the primary features of the cloud is virtualization. Virtual machines are created with software that divides the computing power, storage and memory of given hardware into various smaller parts, each governing and overseeing their operating system.
This virtualization enables computing resources to be shared and allocated effectively in cloud storage.
Cloud computing is a generic term that can be divided and utilize into three different categories:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – where big players like Google and Amazon rent out tremendous computing infrastructure to other businesses and organizations.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – online volume spaces where developers create online applications for distinct sets of users.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – where corporate users utilize the software on the Internet.
Even the average internet surfer at home has interacted with at least some of these cloud applications. For example, Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook utilize associated cloud applications.
One of the features that make this technology so compelling is the fact that thousands, even millions, of users can interact with the same piece of information simultaneously.
On the other hand, iCloud and Dropbox offer services where users can store their email, images, music, contacts, calendars, and additional data in a central location, accessible from any devices.
These can be set up to sync with the cloud automatically.
Chapter 2: What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is a remote virtualization platform that uses a multi-tenant infrastructure to provide businesses and organizations with scalable storage resources.
This service is offered by an extensive array of cloud storage providers.
The contingency of cloud storage resources is accomplished through a web-based interface.
Its architecture is meant to be flexible, scalable, multi-tenancy and provide metered resources.
Cloud-based storage also has several unique properties that make it attractive for companies and businesses to attempt to compete in today’s data-intensive computing business environment.
First, the resources are distributed to enable effective elasticity and availability.
They are also replicated to ensure recovery during disasters and faulty corruption.
Last but not least, data replication is consistently updated to provide accessibility to all users.
In most cases, we all like to compare the best among each others.
Here, they would be Google Drive vs Dropbox vs Onedrive, 3 most prominent cloud storage available.
Chapter 3: Cloud Storage vs. Cloud Computing
The differences between cloud storage and cloud computing are really about comparing application usage and computation process.
Cloud storage involves storing stashing data on hardware in a remote physical site that can be accessed from any device via the internet.
Pretty much different from local storage.Find out the differences between these two here.
Users send files to a data server sustained by a cloud provider that also store in their hard drives. If the original data or file is damaged, compromised, or destroyed, a backup is accessible on the cloud for recovery purposes.
In the event data or folder is misplaced or destroyed, the user can access the cloud storage for the duplicate files.
For a good example – Dropbox allows users to save and share data. Cloud storage systems also generally contain hundreds of data servers connected by a master control server.
Cloud computing, on the other hand, involves clients connecting to remote computing infrastructure via a network, but this infrastructure includes distributed processing power, software and other resources.
These free users from having to regularly update and maintain their software and systems, while at the same time allowing them to harness the processing power of a broad network.
Cloud hosting does implicate the same theory and provides flexibility and fair usage purpose to users.
Cloud computing may also provide access to applications such as a virtual desktop or cloud PC.
Some of the standard everyday services are powered by cloud computing include social networks such as Facebook, webmail platforms such as Gmail, and online banking apps.
With the latest application apply to cloud gaming.
Chapter 4: How does cloud storage work and where is the onsite location?
Cloud storage comprises at least one data server that a user connects to via the internet.
The user sends files manually or in an automatic mode over the Internet to the data server that forwards the information to multiple servers. The stored data is then accessible through a browser user interface.
Cloud storage systems involve large numbers of data servers to ensure their availability.
In other words, if one server requires maintenance, the users can be assured that the data has been replicated to ensure availability.
The Amazon AWS Cloud spreads in 57 availability zones in 19 geographic regions at the present moment.
While the data in a public cloud is replicated in various physical locations for fault tolerance and disaster recovery objectives, the primary or local location tends to be closer physically to the company’s facility so the data can be processed faster and at lower costs than choosing a central location halfway around the world.
Moreover, cloud storage management trends continue to grow as more companies are reaching out to utilize the cloud.
Most of the cloud storage service providers provide storage, network, servers, and data center operations.
Furthermore, cloud data storage resources can be provisioned in the following levels:1 First, users who utilize web interface can pay according to capacity on a per-transaction basis. Exp: BackBlaze B2. 2 Second, users who specify fixed size can pay for the service monthly or flat fee. Exp: pCloud or Google Drive. 3 Third, service providers allocate resources as needed and the payment is based on pay-per-use. Exp: Amazon AWS.
As seen above, pricing can be diversified and depends on many factors including the service provider, capacity required, length of time needed, etc.
You can also purchase a lifetime subscription and never think about monthly payments again. We are using their 2TB + Crypto bundle plan and our cloud storage comparison shows that they excel in comparing with competitors. Read our full review on pCloud here.
When it comes to the physical location cloud storage, two words: DATA CENTRES.
Anything you’ve uploaded to the cloud, or that you work from the cloud, exists on each specific servers and storage volumes.
It is stored in vast warehouses, often situated on campuses full of storage warehouses, and they are responsible for keeping the servers up and running as well as maintenance.
The job of all data centers, however significant or little in value is to keep your data safe from destruction and to make sure it’s available whenever you want to obtain and locate it.
They run adequate cooling systems to keep the electronics from overheating and have at least one backup generator in case of power interruptions or blackouts.
Once the users have put their data in the cloud, it may be physically stored in many various places, countries or even continents, depending on where the service provider’s data centers are located.
Cloud providers, in fact, actually make multiple copies of the data you upload and intentionally store these in different locales to ensure that it won’t get damaged or be inaccessible if a disaster takes out one of the centers.
As we’ve discussed the importance and differences in our Cloud storage vs Online Backup when Natural Disaster Strikes.
The physical location of their stored data is pointless to the majority of people since it can be called together over the internet almost instantly.
For organizations, however, using the cloud for certain sensitive types of data, for example, government documents or health records, need to know where the data is kept and which data protection and privacy laws implement in those places.
Some regulations and laws need to comply with such sensitive data like HIPAA.
Chapter 5: Types of Cloud Storage
There are four general types of cloud storage. Each is customized according to these types of providers.
Personal cloud storage
Personal cloud storage is facilitated by a network-attached tool that allows users to store different types of personal data. Examples of cloud storage incorporate documents, photos, videos, and music.
Check out our guide on the best cloud storage for photos here.
The user owns, maintains and controls the tool, and can access it from anywhere via the Internet. The tool is a personal cloud drive.
Private cloud storage
Private cloud storage uses on-premises storage servers that are under the control of the company that owns them. Like public cloud storage and data centers, private cloud storage is powered by virtual machines.
Private clouds tend to be used by organizations and businesses that want the scalability and flexibility of the cloud storage, although under the direct administration and supervision of the company that owns it.
Firms and organizations concerned about security may favor managing their cloud storage operations as opposed to using a public cloud.
Public cloud storage
Public cloud storage is available from a third-party operating system as a service. Google Cloud Storage, Amazon AWS Cloud Storage, and Microsoft Azure Cloud Storage tend to be popular choices among big enterprise companies.
These public cloud storage options are also available as a service. Their infrastructure is built, maintained, managed and owned by cloud storage providers. Many cloud storage websites can be found online.
Hybrid cloud storage
Hybrid cloud storage is a combination of public cloud, private cloud and data center according to businesses and organizations’ preferences.
It typically combines resources that are maintained and operated by companies with public cloud storage services that are also managed by a third party.
Companies combine these two approaches to balance the need for securing and guarding mission-critical assets with the resiliency, scalability and cost advantages public cloud storage provides.
Public vs. Private Cloud
One of the most common clouds being used is public and private cloud operating systems. Public and private clouds both have advantages of cloud computing and storage technologies.
However, there are some differences worth reflecting on.
First, private cloud storage is owned and controlled in-house whereas public cloud infrastructures are owned and managed by third-party service providers. Private clouds do not offer upgrades whereas the public does.
A population of users shares public cloud storage; however, private cloud storage is used and allocated to the companies that own it.
Last but not least, when it comes to resilience – public cloud storage replicates data whereas natural disasters can destroy private clouds stationed at single location sites.
Chapter 6: Summary – Is the Cloud safe to use?
The cloud may be used further to lift the burden of our ever-increasing data storage needs, but how do we truly know if our data is safe when we entrust to the cloud provider?
What actions do they take to address our two biggest concerns – security and reliability?
We’ve already learned that cloud providers store backups in multiple locations.
Operational systems that identify smoke, suppress fires and provide backup power are standard features of data centers’ security.
These secluded locations are heavily reinforced and internally guarded as well as protected to prevent intruders or aggravated employees from physically harming or stealing the storage hardware.
Cloud operating systems also use authentication processes like usernames and passwords to limit access, and data encryption to protect and secure data.TrustSo, to trust or not to trust? In any case, you can rest assured that – since cloud storage companies do or die based on their reputation.
They take exceptional efforts to employ the most advanced security techniques, implement the best systems and provide the most reliable service possible.
Cloud storage is not as complex or difficult as many people may think.
It is, in fact, one of the most reliable and secure systems to store, share, backup and access information when is needed. Which is given that you always go for the most secure cloud storage in the first place.
For instance, if you have information on your home laptop or computer, but out of the office, you can utilize cloud storage systems to access that same information while traveling as it is stored in the provider’s service center.
That is what Joe did with his Chromebook. To beef up the pathetic internal storage while having the seamless connectivity and convenience of work across different workstations.
This also comes in handy when your ISP is down, and you cannot get on your home system remotely.
At the same time, you can use cloud storage for many other reasons, although you will get to save money and space as well as secure your information properly through a cloud provider.
It only makes communicating easier.