• Understand the differences between the leading cloud storage solutions in 2022
One of the great things about the cloud is that there are so many ways to store data in it. Not only are there multiple types of cloud storage services, like object and block storage, but you can also find these services from multiple vendors.
But with choice also comes a challenge: with so many cloud storage solutions available, how do you know which one is right for you based on price, features, integrations, and so on?
This article helps answer that question by comparing the leading cloud storage solutions in 2022.
Types of Cloud Storage
Before comparing different cloud vendors’ storage solutions, let’s discuss the different types of cloud storage available on most clouds today.
In general, the typical public cloud offers three main categories of storage solutions:
- Object storage helps store data in an unstructured way. You would typically use object storagee when trying to store backup data, images, documents, and other files that don’t need specific organization.
- Block storage is most often used in the cloud to store file systems associated with virtual cloud servers.
- Databases are for storing data in a highly structured way.
Other data storage solutions are available in the major public clouds, such as various data warehousing and data lake services. However, those solutions, which see use as part of large-scale data analytics operations, are beyond the scope of this article. Here, we’re focusing on cloud storage solutions that allow you to upload and store data in the cloud for any purpose, not just data analytics.
Cloud Storage Solutions, Compared
Now, let’s compare cloud vendors in each of these three storage categories.
Object Storage: AWS S3 vs. The World
The AWS S3 storage service is probably the most popular when it comes to object storage. S3 offers the advantage of multiple storage tiers, which help organizations strike the right balance between storage cost and performance. AWS S3 also supports automated data lifecycle, meaning the movement of data between storage tiers based on predefined policies.Perhaps the most significant advantage of S3 is that it is widely integrated with third-party services and platforms because it is so popular. Indeed, you can even find open source emulations of the S3 APIs via media like Eucalyptus.
That said, Azure and Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP)’s object storage services are comparable in features and pricing to AWS S3. S3’s popularity probably stems from the fact that it is the oldest primary object storage service, not from any unique characteristics.
If you’re looking for a bargain on object storage, you might be best served by an “alternative” cloud provider, as opposed to AWS, Azure, or GCP. Cloud vendors like IBM, Wasabi, Backblaze, and Linode generally offer object storage at lower prices than the “Big Three” public clouds. However, exact pricing will vary depending on which warehouse features you choose, how often you move data out of the cloud, and how often you interact with the data.
Block Storage: The Differences Don’t Matter
Because cloud block storage is most commonly used to store images of file systems for servers that run in the cloud, you’ll typically have to use whichever block storage service is offered by the cloud that hosts your VMs. There is not as much choice surrounding this type of cloud storage solution as with object storage or databases, and you can’t typically use block storage on one cloud to store data for VMs running in a different cloud.
That said, there are no significant differences between the major public clouds’ block storage services as of 2022. They all support essential features like snapshotting, they are all highly reliable, and their pricing is comparable.
Cloud Databases: Endless Choices
As for cloud databases, the differences between clouds depend on exactly which type of database you want to run.
All of the major public clouds (and many alternative clouds) offer the most common types of databases: MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and MariaDB. There is not much difference between cloud providers if you want to use a conventional database.
However, cloud providers also offer a variety of proprietary database services. Like SkySQL (which derives from MariaDB), some derive from open source databases, with optimizations added on top. Others, such as AWS Aurora, are proprietary solutions built from scratch, although most – including Aurora, which is SQL-compatible – adhere to the conventions of standard open-source databases. These proprietary databases achieve better performance than open-source databases in most cases. Still, they usually cost more than the open-source database services in the same clouds.
In short, if you need a high-performing database and have a large budget, consider a proprietary cloud database storage solution and carefully compare the various services out there to find the one that best meets your performance goals. However, if cost is a priority, stick with open source cloud databases, which are more or less equivalent no matter which cloud you choose.
Choosing the right cloud storage solution starts with understanding which type of cloud storage you need – object storage, block storage, databases, or something else. Then, compare the offerings of the various cloud providers to find the storage service that’s best suited to your performance, budget, and other goals. Don’t forget to consider “alternative” clouds, which may offer better pricing in some cases than the major public clouds.