The difference between file storage, block storage and object storage

You just wrote up a document and now you want to keep it safe so you simply click save and that’s the end of it, right? Wrong! There are so many different option when it comes to storing data and these are the three different types of data storage: file storage, block storage and object storage.

File storage

File storage is what we use in our day lives. It is the kind of storage that is organized into files placed into folders and subfolders. This one’s best used for quick storage and access. It’s super easy to use because we all know it, it works the same on any system and it’s easy to make back-ups. Sadly, it’s also very expensive when you have a lot of data. Not to mention, it gets quite unwieldy once there’s tens of millions of files save on a gazillion directories and different devices.

Block Storage

Block storage is quite different. The information to be stored is broken up into blocks and stored randomly on the storage device. You’d think this would make it hard to find anything in the pile, but it’s not as each block has a unique identifier. The benefit of storing data in blocks is that you can make small changes to your data without having to alter the entire file. That way it’s very convenient to use for with files that need to be updated frequently. However, it’s a pretty expensive storage solution to buy and to manage as it’s more complex than simple file storage.

Object Storage

With Object Storage, data is stored as distinct object (duh!). It’s best used for storing massive volumes of data, especially with data that is typically unstructured and difficult to organise. Because this type of storage is flat and thus not based on a hierarchy, it’s also API friendly meaning it’s easy to use with existing applications and systems. It is cheaper than file and block storage, but the downside to this story is the speed, which is much slower. That’s why this type is most used for archiving data and not so much storing data that needs regular altering.

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