Object Storage vs. Block Storage

While block storage has been around longer, object storage enables users to more easily organize and retrieve data. Learn more about the difference.

File storage is a central component of data management. When distributing data across multiple locations, it’s essential for businesses to know what type of storage is being used.

This knowledge means having a good understanding of the different types of file storage used for digitizing important information.

Traditionally, data is stored in a hierarchical structure as files with dedicated formatting and metadata association. As data use has become more prevalent in the modern workplace, decision-makers require more practical tools for their specific needs. This requirement has led to the development of object and block storage capabilities.

What Is Block Storage?

Block storage aids the organization and storage of data within cloud environments.

Data is broken up into blocks of storage, each with unique identifiers to make locating and accessing data easier. These blocks are then organized into the cloud environment.

Within both block and object storage, users can package their data for later use. This approach provides a powerful solution to basic data management problems such as access, security, and resiliency.

Although it’s an older technology, block storage is still a de facto file storage choice for many businesses. Block storage provides a simplified storage configuration that treats volumes as separate hard drives.

The Disadvantage of Block Storage

The primary con of relying on block storage is that each block has a fixed size, limiting the amount of data that can be in each unit. While it makes it easier to find and retrieve specific data, the cost of storage can skyrocket as companies will need to purchase hundreds of blocks to house necessary data.

Object Storage vs. Block Storage: Primary Differences

Both object and block storage differ from traditional file storage methods by removing the paradigm of data as a hierarchical structure. This design has led to flexible use cases that data managers can take advantage of for storing and accessing their data.

Although object storage is newer and has clear advantages when it comes to raw data, block storage is more familiar to many users and has less of a learning curve when deployed in enterprise environments. Furthermore, many existing applications and services will require block storage to function correctly.

Learn more about object storage and its capabilities.

A clear picture of how object and block storage differ is vital for deploying better data management capabilities across an ecosystem.

  Block Object
Performance Data bases and software Large data sets
Location Centralized Distributed
Capabilities No metadata Customizable metadata
Scalability Limited to defined file size Infinite

Enterprise organizations that rely on digital assets can use object storage and block storage to automate their data management.

Considerations such as computing power, processing time, storage capabilities, and long-term growth should all be taken into account when deciding whether to deploy object or block storage.

Performance

The best performing storage will give users realistic data management capabilities that help them complete common tasks and monitor their critical infrastructure with less hassle.

There are many key areas that decision-makers should consider when deciding which data storage deployment is right for them, such as:

  • Read-write time
  • Storage capacity
  • Throughput
  • Scalability

With block storage devices, virtualized disks give users a more flexible option for data management. This design leads to adaptable architecture that can be used for creating fast, low-latency environments.

With distributed block storage systems, businesses can leverage the private and public cloud to make frequently accessed data available to more users. Performance suffers when distributing data across multiple locations within a block storage environment.

Object storage is preferred for businesses with large amounts of raw data that need to be processed. Object storage gives businesses working with unstructured data a centralized source for validating and refining important information.

This setup gives data managers a way to quickly and effectively distribute important work-related data across the network, no matter where it’s located.

Storage Location

Where data is kept for long-term storage is a central question that data-focused businesses should ask themselves. Geo-redundancy, backups, and security are critical components of good data management.

Block and object storage offer business leaders a practical means to store their data. However, each has its specific strengths that make it better for specific use cases.

Block Storage:

  • Administered with specific data structures in mind. This means users must access block data on predefined volumes created independently from one another.
  • Deployed using storage area networks (SAN) that give users a centralized source for accessing their data, giving businesses a movable storage system with flexibility and persistence.

Object-based storage solutions are distinct from block storage due to the nature of the data that is being used.

Object Storage:

  • Uses raw unstructured data, meaning the information doesn’t have associated meta tags for finding or locating information quickly.
  • Can be accessed across multiple devices with specialized software. This access is essential for dealing with large pools of information that would otherwise be difficult to navigate.

Analytical Capabilities

For businesses that rely on data for critical operations, it’s important to be able to track and assess long-term trends. Decision-makers who want to analyze metrics across the organization effectively should consider the analytical capabilities that block and object storage provide.

Monitoring important points such as data volumes, user access, and equipment failure rates gives data managers better oversight of their day-to-day operations.

Block Storage:

  • Offers fine-tuned control over data management. By provisioning multiple blocks across their digital ecosystem, administrators can create efficient clusters of manageable nodes.
  • Easier to define, track, and assess data points in real-time.
  • Block storage is a great option for businesses that use large-scale analytics for delivering services.

Object Storage:

  • Object storage is critical for businesses that need to process large sums of raw data.
  • Object storage provides an advanced system that makes it easy to classify unstructured data stored in different types.

The distinct nature of object storage presents an advantage when working with native data formats. Storing information without metadata associations makes it easy to access for raw processing and development.

Scalability 

As businesses expand their operations, data management becomes more complex, making it increasingly difficult for leaders to effectively plan and allocate resources towards needed infrastructure.

By creating scalable data management capabilities, businesses are more resilient in case of data destruction, loss, or theft. This resiliency is central to creating long-term stability and growth.

Block Storage:

  • Storing data as blocks gives data managers a convenient way to organize and define their information.
  • Offers businesses working with structured data a flexible way to manage their operations.
  • Allow businesses to create large-scale deployments that can grow alongside the business. This approach makes it easier to deploy important software, files, and computing capabilities to those who need them, no matter how big the business becomes.

Object Storage:

  • Makes storing large amounts of unstructured data simple. With object storage, there are fewer restrictions on the data that is being stored.
  • Flexibility allows users to create custom definitions for their data, opening unlimited possibilities for the type or quantity of information they can rely on.
  • Object storage makes it less costly to store everything in one place, making scalable data storage easy for any company to take advantage of.

Benefits of Block Storage

Block storage no longer relies on an isolated path for getting from its source to the user, so it works well for organizations that make a lot of transactions. This feature makes block storage perfect for delivering core services and building long-term data resiliency within many enterprise organizations.

Block storage gives users power capabilities that can be deployed through traditional or cloud-based storage models. By formatting volumes individually, users can create virtual disks that are perfect for deploying operating systems, applications, and other user-level software.

Benefits of Block Storage

  • Connects multiple systems and is central to many modern data management solutions.
  • Flexible data distribution and replication capabilities.
  • Used in virtual machines, data base management, and system configuration tasks.

This modular approach is why block storage has become one of the most popular methods for managing data across the enterprise. For users who need a reliable way to deliver core services and applications, there is no better solution than block storage.

Benefits of Object Storage

When leveraging raw data for operations across multiple servers or physical locations, users often rely on specific applications or data management frameworks for simplifying their operations. In such cases, object storage can offer huge benefits to those who are willing to sacrifice some ease of use for unlimited customizability.

Benefits of Object Storage

  • Data is defined in a single structure with metadata.
  • Gives businesses a flat storage solution for defining and manipulating large data collections without concern for type, size, or metadata.
  • Used for a variety of data, including audio, video, images, archives, and backups.

Object storage is defined by metadata. This setup gives users more practical analysis capabilities for dealing with large amounts of information. It also means that data managers aren’t limited by the specific types of data that they would be limited by with other types of storage. This flexibility means that issues such as compatibility go out the window.

Object Storage vs. Block Storage: Which Is Best for Your Enterprise?

If your enterprise is looking for simplified data management that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, at any time, then block storage is a practical solution that makes it easy to create and define data volumes for storage.

Block storage allows users to mitigate the shortcomings of traditional file storage solutions by defining data in bite-sized pieces that are easier to store and access for later computing.

In many cases, object storage offers a structured system for working with important information.

For businesses that need a tailored solution for data management, object storage makes it easy to create and store raw data for manipulation in its current form.

Enterprise businesses that require an unlimited amount of storage for data that has undefined type and size limitations can use object storage to define arbitrary information without concern for how it will be later used.

If you’re working with large volumes of unrefined data, object storage is the best solution.

Partner with a cloud storage product like Seagate Lyve Cloud to ensure your data storage is secure and cost effective. Learn more about how you can optimize your storage capabilities.