Cloud Storage Overview

Cloud storage is one of the possible services that can be provided to individuals and organizations through the cloud computing model. Cloud storage is a form of networked online storage that differs from traditional storage methods in several ways. Traditionally, portable media such as optical discs and flash drives allow end users to access data directly, while personal computers and other devices contain their own storage devices. Alternatively, data stored on the cloud is accessed exclusively through network resources. Corporations traditionally own their own computer resources that their users access over their private network. With cloud storage, an individual or an organization does not own or specify the hardware used or the physical location of the data. Furthermore, resources are virtualized in that the apparent storage space does not represent an actual device. For example, the user may be presented with a potential storage volume of one terabyte as if it were an actual disc drive, yet their data will actually reside on multiple drives of various sizes spread across many different locations.

Advantages Of Cloud Storage

There are several advantages of the cloud storage model over individual storage and networked online storage. Unlike data stored in in a cloud, information stored on an end user device cannot easily be accessed by others and individual storage is far more vulnerable to loss, damage or theft. Networked storage devices address those problems, but they still require both human and physical resources that an individual or a corporation may not possess. For example, creating a redundant storage array and backing it up is outside the skill set of most people, while building and maintaining a data center is beyond the core capabilities of most organizations.

Cloud storage solutions are also a more scalable and efficient way to store data. Rather than estimating the amount of data storage needed and purchasing the hardware required, a cloud storage customer will only pay for what is needed. Cloud storage is a scalable solution that can grow spontaneously to meet increased demand. There is also an inherent economy of scale when many individuals and organizations elect to store their data on the same systems managed by a single provider.

Disadvantages Of Cloud Storage

For all the potential of the cloud storage model, there are still a few disadvantages. By utilizing cloud storage, users relinquish direct control over their data. Although a cloud storage provider is far less likely to have its data lost or compromised than most individuals or organizations, people are still more comfortable knowing precisely where their critical data is located and who is personally responsible for it. Access to data stored on a distributed network is also constrained by the access to the Internet. Lower Internet bandwidth will result in decreased performance and an Internet service outage will completely sever an organization’s access to its information.

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