Block or Object Storage: the differences and advantages

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Block or Object Storage: the differences and advantages
7 minute read

Imagine: you have a lot of data and you want to store it (safely). But should you use block or object storage? The choice appears to be simple, and in some ways it is. However, you must thoroughly comprehend the distinctions.

What is Block Storage?

The most well-known type of storage is block storage. It is the most commonly used traditional form, in which data is divided into equal-sized chunks and then stored in a system that can be physically distributed in different environments. Each data block has its own address. However, there is no metadata or additional information for context. As a result, you can only locate (identify) the block using that address.

As previously stated, everything is stored in blocks. As a result, there is no need to keep data in a file structure. The system can reassemble data blocks on-demand and retrieve the desired data quickly. Block Storage is typically used for low-level data, with volumes of data directly attached to an operating system.


Block Storage advantages

  • Flexible: you can change data blocks.
  • Easy: Data can be edited simultaneously in Linux and Windows and the data is available through the operating system.
  • High performance: Great for database servers and transactional systems.


Block Storage disadvantages

  • Not infinitely scalable block storage
  • There are no metadata options: Metadata addition is complicated and must be done at the application or database level.
  • Costs associated with growth can quickly add up: It necessitates a significant amount of installation and maintenance work.

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What is Object Storage

Object Storage is a more recent technology than Block Storage. It saves information in the form of objects. Instead of being divided, all data is stored in objects in a single large repository that can be distributed across multiple physical repositories.

Each object is assigned a unique address and is enriched with additional metadata, ensuring that data is always (and easily) accessible, regardless of where it is stored. The data is organized flatly (unlike Block Storage, which has a hierarchical tree structure).

The metadata of an object is very important and can contain very detailed information. These are user-defined (for example, role and attributes) and allow for more flexible analysis. Your operating system does not have direct access to Object Storage. Access is usually through an API.

One significant advantage of Object Storage is the ability to choose which machine will serve as the Object Storage Medium in which location. As a result, you can switch when necessary. Additionally, new repositories can be added horizontally. Most object storage systems store data in multiple locations, while internal processes prevent data loss.


Object Storage advantages:

  • Scalable and robust: You can store an unlimited amount of data.
  • Quick: A flat architecture with no directories allows for faster data retrieval. With the help of metadata, every piece of data can be easily analyzed.


 Object Storage disadvantages

  • - Non-editable: While metadata can be edited, this does not apply to objects themselves.
  • - Reduced performance: Because object storage is slower, it cannot be used for relational database backups.
  • - No direct data access: APIs are required to allow access via third-party apps rather than the operating system.


Object Storage or Block Storage?

As previously stated, Block Storage is the most commonly used type of storage. Businesses all over the world have fully embraced Block Storage as a method of data storage.

Block Storage enables the creation of raw storage volumes accessible by server-based operating systems. It typically contains structured data such as SQL and databases. Block Storage is quick as long as all devices are close together. The longer the distance, the longer the wait. However, Block Storage can become costly after a certain size. Switching to Object Storage can help businesses save money.

On the other hand, Block Storage allows you to change some files, whereas Object Storage does not. Object does not support module switching. You can only completely duplicate them and make a new object.


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