The Three Flavors of Cloud Storage

The Three Flavors of Cloud Storage
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The Three Flavors of Cloud Storage

I just finished my presentation on reducing storage costs while increasing flexibility and getting ready to have some interesting discussions here at Storage Networking World this week.  Our HP storage team is here in full force and it’s exciting to talk to customers about the how we can support their storage needs from hardware infrastructure to the cloud.    

From some of the conversations I’ve had so far, its’ reminded me that there are still many people that are unclear on the differences between the three flavors of cloud storage; ephemeral, block and object storage.  I’d like to give you a quick summary of the three types of cloud storage and the use cases for each of them.  My overview is based on a whitepaper we published a few months ago.

On-Instance/Ephemeral Storage

Storage tied to a specific instance

On-instance (ephemeral) storage is the storage that comes preconfigured with compute instances. Analogous to a server’s built-in hard drive this local storage only persists as long as the instance does. In other word, if you terminate the instance, the local storage associated with that instance disappears. This storage is also subject to loss in the event of a hardware failure. As such, it is best utilized for data that requires high performance IO but which can be recreated from backups.

Typical Use Cases for On-Instance Storage

  • For applications requiring frequent & concurrent read/write access (such as dynamic web apps)
  • For use as a temporary storage repository for content that is constantly changing (e.g., scratch data, buffers, log files and the like)

Cloud Block Storage

Persistent storage which can be moved between compute instances

What is Block Storage?

HP Cloud Block Storage delivers a durable, high performance, and persistent storage solution that acts like an external hard drive. A block storage volume exists independently of a compute instance.  This results in highly available, highly reliable storage volumes that can be attached to a running HP Cloud Compute instance and exposed as a device within the instance. It also allows you to easily move data from one compute instance to another.

HP Cloud Block Storage is ideal for when you want to make sure that your data remains beyond the life a specific VM (virtual machine) or when you need to add additional capacity to your compute instances. It’s also perfect for applications and databases where you need frequent reads and writes concurrently with high IOPS performance or when using applications that require a file system, a database, or raw block level storage. Some typical use cases:

Typical Use Cases for HP Cloud Block Storage

  • For workloads requiring long-term persistence of data
  • For situations where the data frequently changes (e.g., frequent read/write)
  • For use as the primary storage for a database or a file system
  • For apps that need detailed updates with access to raw, unformatted block-level storage 

HP Cloud Object Storage

Highly durable, web-accessible storage

What is Object Storage?

HP Cloud Object Storage acts analogously to an FTP file server, in that it stores data without direct exposure of a file system. It offers scalable, reliable online storage that you can access on demand, and is perfect for data archiving or for storing static content via the web. With HP Cloud Object Storage, there’s virtually no limit to the number of users accessing the data at one time. Like HP Cloud Block Storage, data stored in HP Cloud Object Storage persists independent of your compute instances.   Additionally, files stored in HP Cloud Object Storage can be delivered through the HP Cloud CDN.  Our CDN is powered by Akamai, and uses a worldwide network of edge servers well suited to delivering large, popular content at massive scale with higher data transfer rates.

Typical Use Cases for HP Cloud Object Storage

  • For data storage back up and archiving,  where highly-durable and accessible storage is valued
  • For file sharing of information and quick accessibility across the world
  • For website images to avoid storing them on local servers  
  • For static web-hosted content where bandwidth frequently fluctuates
  • For websites hosting large user-generated data (e.g., photo and video sharing)

If you are reading this and happen to be at SNW, stop by the HP booth #107 and we'd be happy to demonstrate the three flavors of HP Cloud Storage in person. Ok, now I'm hungry.

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