What exactly is cloud storage?

It’s been a generational shift since cloud computing/storage/applications emerged on the IT roadmap. Cloud storage has 3 characteristics. To begin with, the storage service must be over a network. Next, the storage pool must allow for easy scalability with no downtime. Last but not least, the storage pool must be easy to manage, especially when scaling.

Cloud storage is a normal extension of software as a service, and online applications like SalesForce and cloud computing have received huge popularity due to initiatives by Google, Amazon, and VMware. Wikipedia has defined cloud computing architecture as follows:

“The architecture behind cloud computing is a massive network of ‘cloud servers’ interconnected as if in a grid running in parallel, sometimes using the technique of virtualization to maximize utilization of available computing power per server.”

With the advent of Amazon S3, the Cloud concept migrated to a storage function. In a cloud storage scenario, many basic hardware devices are combined by software to create a storage pool.

Therefore, cloud storage is not just a storage rental available online. It’s more about architecture, performance, and scalability, where you add standard hardware from your preferred entry-level storage provider and get shared access over a standard network.

Cloud storage is loosely coupled and nodes do not need to communicate with each other to make it easier for supercomputers to write in parallel to the same distributed file across multiple nodes. Loose coupling allows good performance for multiple copies of a single file on multiple nodes or multiple files and offers great scalability.

Wondering what good instances are for cloud solutions to complete? Well, some of the good examples of cloud storage include file archiving, digital content serving and distribution, media streaming or backup, video surveillance, and file storage.

Cloud storage is here to stay and certainly holds great promise in times of economic downturn where corporations can buy gigabytes of storage at a time as opposed to entire systems and yet reap all the benefits of the latest technology.