Nearly every business needs to store some form of data electronically, and some need to store significantly more data than others. This is becoming increasingly true as the internet becomes more and more ubiquitous. Fortunately, cloud storage has offered a new solution for both businesses and individuals, and object storage has further improved upon that. Cloudian uses object storage technology to provide file storage that offers a range of benefits over traditional methods. If you’re considering a cloud storage solution for your business, here’s what you need to know about object storage and Cloudian.
Cloudian Pros & Cons
What Is Cloudian? How Does It Work?
Cloudian is a service that offers a range of flexible file storage solutions designed to work for many different needs. You can store tons of data for a reasonable price without having to fill up physical hard drives. You can also use Cloudian’s services to protect, analyze, and work with your data via other tools that you may already be using.
There are two different products offered by Cloudian: HyperStore and HyperFile. HyperStore is a scalable file storage system that allows you to start slowly and build your storage as your needs grow. HyperStore works by allowing you to add nodes as you need them, each of which provides extra storage for your files. That’s not all it does, though. HyperStore also uses state-of-the-art compression that allows you to store more with a smaller footprint. Combined with the integrated encryption and other great features of HyperStore, it’s a flexible, almost infinitely capable file storage system. Cloudian HyperStore even offers data protection in the form of erasure coding or data replication.
How Does It Work?
HyperFile works as a companion to HyperStore. It is a NAS (network-attached storage) file service which, in combination with HyperStore, allows you to further expand your storage capabilities to accommodate the needs of large enterprises. NAS works particularly well for files which aren’t used often. HyperFile offers benefits over other NAS services because of its limitless scalability, high performance, high rate of availability, and the range of protocols and applications it supports. HyperFile uses a super simple GUI that allows you to find, organize, migrate and manage your data from one dashboard.
Both of these applications work using object storage, an alternative method of file storage that provides improved scalability, among other benefits, over traditional storage methods like block storage and file storage.
What Makes Cloudian Unique?
The main thing that makes Cloudian a unique file storage service is its use of object storage. Traditional file storage systems look at data in hierarchies because of the way files are stored. There are also file storage systems that treat each piece of data as a single block within sectors and tracks that contain tons of blocks. Object storage, on the other hand, treats data as objects using a unique identifier and metadata attached to each object to make the data identifiable. This technology is used for posting photos on Facebook or adding files to a service like Dropbox.
Benefits of Cloudian
Object storage has many benefits over a traditional file storage system. These latter systems are the ones you’re familiar with on your computer: You put named data into named folders to create an organized system to find your files. This type of storage works well when you’re using it for the personal files of an individual, but problems arise when using file storage for large enterprises. Firstly, file storage is nowhere near as scalable as object storage, which can handle petabytes of data and more. Because of this, file storage doesn’t come close to object storage for performance when dealing with large files and transfers of data. Additionally, object storage doesn’t require you to store data locally.
If you’re only dealing with smaller files and you don’t need the high performance that object storage provides, file storage will do the job. In fact, file storage outperforms object storage when dealing with small numbers of individual files. However, it won’t be able to grow with your needs over time. When you eventually need more storage space, you will need a scalable solution like object storage.
Then there’s block storage. This is the oldest, most basic way to store data. With block storage, each piece of data is stored in chunks that are called blocks. Each block contains a part of a whole segment of data, the parts of which are combined and organized to form an entire file again. Block storage doesn’t use metadata because the data is separated into blocks, which means it can perform fast when both the application and storage are local.
Object storage is essentially an improvement on this older technology of block storage. However, object storage allows you to use metadata tags, which is one of its main advantages over block storage. Using object storage also provides you with more scalability, allowing you to increase your storage space as you need it.
Uses of Block Storage
Block storage does have its uses, but it loses to object storage in a number of categories. If you’re using block storage for database or transactional data purposes, its high performance is a great benefit. However, object storage is a bit more versatile in the data it performs well with. Block storage also has the problem of latency when the application and storage aren’t local; the further they are apart, the higher the latency will be. Just like with file storage, block storage isn’t nearly as scalable as object storage, so it won’t be able to grow indefinitely with your storage needs. One of the biggest disadvantages of using block storage over object storage, however, is its lack of metadata. The metadata present in object storage systems makes it easy to organize and retrieve data in no time.
Beyond Cloudian’s use of object storage, it offers an effective file compression system, the ability to use third-party tools to manage and analyze your data, the highest Amazon S3 API compliance in the industry, and strong encryption for your data. All of these features combined with the flexible storage solutions provided by HyperStore and HyperFile make Cloudian unique.
Cloudian provides a solid storage solution for large enterprises, and that’s reflected in the reviews you’ll find online. Out of 25 reviews collected by Gartner Peer Insights, all of which came from verified users of Cloudian software, the average rating was 4.8 stars out of 5. All of these reviews were for Cloudian HyperStore, and many of them come from million- or billion-dollar companies. These are the types of enterprises that trust Cloudian HyperStore and HyperFile as their storage solution, and the large majority of them are very happy with the results.
As far as reviews you can find with a simple Google search, most people seem to be satisfied with Cloudian’s products. You can scale up storage endlessly using nodes to handle increasing storage needs, which is crucial for the huge role data plays in the world today. Thanks to the design of HyperStore, you don’t have to worry about an over-complicated setup process, and Cloudian’s customer service makes getting help simple. These are all benefits you’ll see people talking about if you look up Cloudian reviews online.
However, what seems to be the most universally appreciated aspect of Cloudian HyperStore is its Amazon S3 API compliance. Amazon Simple Storage Service, or Amazon S3, is an online storage service. With the wide range of helpful cloud services offered by Amazon Web Services, compliance with the Amazon S3 API is increasingly important. According to Cloudian, it has the best Amazon S3 compliance in the entire industry. And there don’t seem to be many who argue with this point. This means that Cloudian users can take advantage of third-party cloud services. This is to manage, analyze, replicate, and otherwise deal with data online. When you combine this with the ability to endlessly scale your storage capacity, you have a completely flexible set of storage tools. That you can use anywhere for anything.
How It Compares
While Cloudian does offer an effective storage solution for large enterprises, it’s far from the only service doing so. There is a range of other services that provide many of the same functions as Cloudian. Although they each have their pros and cons. So, how does Cloudian compare to the competition?
IBM Cloud Object Storage
One of Cloudian’s biggest competitors is IBM Cloud Object Storage. It is a storage system from one of the world’s largest technology companies. IBM’s service offers the same object storage that makes Cloudian HyperStore such a great service. But with its own unique twist. IBM Cloud Object Storage does well when it comes to reliability, data protection and security, flexibility, transfer speeds, and costs. It also offers support for some S3 API functions. Although it doesn’t offer the industry-leading S3 API support that Cloudian offers with HyperStore. Companies that use IBM Cloud Object Storage include Bitly, Prime Research, and Dreamstime.
Dell EMC ECS Object Storage
Dell EMC ECS Object Storage is another strong competitor of Cloudian HyperStore. This service does well when it comes to scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Beyond this, Dell EMC ECS Object Storage offers an enterprise-ready solution for your business. However, there isn’t much mention of S3 compliance, so it’s fair to assume it’s not as fully compliant as Cloudian.
Qumulo is another popular cloud object storage service. Qumulo claims to be the highest performing storage solution on the cloud and on-premises. In the Gartner Magic Quadrant for 2017 Distributed File Systems and Object Storage companies, Qumulo was named one of three visionaries.
Last but certainly not least is Scality. One of the largest providers of object storage solutions. The 500 million people who use Scality speak to the quality of the platform. Scality can save businesses tons every year by offering a scalable storage solution that works for a variety of needs. And that’s exactly what they’ve done for companies like Staples, Renault, Bloomberg Media, Charter Communications, Comcast, and Logitech. This is a top choice if you’re simply looking for one of the biggest names in object storage solutions. In fact, Scality was named one of three leaders. It is alongside IBM and Dell EMC in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage.
Each distributed file system has its own benefits, and you may find some work better for you than others. Reading about the features of each service is a good way to determine which one is right for you before you make a purchase.
What We Think
All in all, Cloudian HyperStore is a very solid object storage system with a huge amount of potential upside. While HyperStore provides most if not all of the features you’d expect from any object storage system. It doesn’t necessarily have a feature that makes it stand out from the crowd — except its Amazon S3 API compliance.
With Amazon Web Services providing tons of different cloud storage-related tools and services, Amazon S3 API compliance is essential. According to Cloudian, its system boasts the best S3 compliance in the entire industry. It beats out larger services like Scality, IBM, and Dell EMC. All of these services are used by more enterprises than Cloudian HyperStore. But the fact that HyperStore has such great S3 compatibility means it could become one of the top options in the coming years. Especially as Amazon Web Services continues to develop its arsenal of products.
Whether you choose Cloudian HyperStore or another object storage system depends on what your enterprise prioritizes. If your enterprise is looking for the “biggest and best” in object storage, so to speak, go for one of the big three of Scality, Dell EMC, or IBM. Choosing a large company like this is always a safe bet. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best in all areas. With Cloudian claiming to have the best S3 compliance in the industry, there’s a good chance that it will continue to grow over the next few years. If S3 API compliance is a priority to you or if you’re looking for an object storage system that’s not one of the major three, Cloudian HyperStore is certainly worth looking into.
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