Cloud-based Storage Devices

Welcome to “Cloud-based Storage Devices.” After reading this article, you will be able to:

Also visit:  Network Storage Types


  • Explain how File, Block, and Object storage differ.
  • Identify the three types of storage gateways.
  • List which storage is best for large backups.

Cloud storage

Cloud storage is when files and applications are stored and engaged with via the Internet. Cloud companies manage data centers around the world to keep applications functioning properly and user data stored securely. Multiple cloud offerings have different features depending on each user’s needs.

  • The Public Cloud: Provides offsite storage for Internet users.
  • The Private Cloud: Provides collaboration and access to private network users.
  • Hybrid Cloud: is a mix of both. It provides public sharing and restricted private areas via cloud storage and cloud-hosted apps.

Cloud companies use multiple data storage types depending on how often they need to access different data and the volume of that data.

File storage

File storage saves all data in a single file and is organized by a hierarchical path of folders and subfolders.  File storage uses app extensions like .jpg or .doc or .mp3. File storage is: Familiar and easy for most users, has user-level customization, is expensive, and is hard to manage at larger scales.

Block Storage

Block Storage splits data into fixed blocks and stores them with unique identifiers. Blocks can be stored in different environments (like one block in Linux and the rest in Windows). When a block is retrieved, it’s reassembled with associated blocks to recreate the original data. Block storage is: The default storage for data that is frequently updated, is fast, reliable, and easy to change, has no metadata, is not searchable, and is expensive. And it’s often used in databases and email servers.

Object Storage

Object Storage divides data into self-contained units stored at the same level. There are no sub-directories like in file storage. Object storage: Uses metadata for fast searching. Each object has a unique number. It requires an API to access and manage objects. Is a good choice for large amounts of unstructured data. And is an important storage option for AI, machine learning, and big data analytics.

Storage gateway

A storage gateway is a service that connects on-premises devices with cloud storage.

There are three types of storage gateways:

File Gateway

A File Gateway is a file server in the cloud that stores data files using the S3, NFS, and SMB protocols.

  • S3, or Simple Storage Service, protocol enables the storage of block data in categories called “buckets.”
  • NFS, or Network File System, protocol enables server-to-server file sharing.
  • And SMB, or Server Message Block, enables file and print sharing for network users.

Tape Gateway

A Tape Gateway is a backup server in the cloud. It uses the S3, Glacier, and Glacier Deep Archive protocols to store virtual tape backups.

  • Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive protocols enable secure and durable cloud-archive storage at a lower cost than other storage solutions.
  • Glacier features instant archive retrieval where Glacier Deep Archive features 12-to-48-hour data retrieval.

Volume Gateway

A Volume Gateway: Uses the Internet Small Computer System Interface, or iSCSI, protocol, which enables on-premises applications to transfer block data to cloud storage over TCP/IP networks. Volume Gateways have two modes: Cached and Stored. Stored mode creates S3 backups of all locally stored content for recovery purposes.

Cached mode is just like stored mode, except it only keeps frequently-used data on-premises, which requires much less infrastructure.

Archival storage

Archival storage moves data out of regular production file areas into long-term storage. Archival storage can be easily accessed and brought back into regular use.

  • It can be done with: Tape drives – which are best for large backups, flash storage, hard drives, and cloud solutions.
  • It is low-cost and high-capacity.

Backup or snapshot

Backups are copies of files, operating systems, settings, and more that are stored in a separate location in case of disk failure or data loss. Snapshots do the same thing as backups but are usually used in storage arrays or SANs at an Enterprise level and are more focused on capturing a point in time.

  • All snapshots start off with a full backup.
  • A full backup or snapshot: copies everything on a disk selected for backup.
  • A differential backup or snapshot: copies only the files that changed since the last full backup.
  • An Incremental backup or snapshot: copies only the files that changed since any backup.

They can be automated or manual. If you delete the original instance of the data, only manual backups are retained. With important data, it is best to keep 3 backups or snapshots saved locally and in the cloud. Sometimes data can get corrupted. Backups and snapshots should be tested periodically to ensure they are still able to restore the data.


In this article, you learned that: Object storage is used in AI and machine learning because it’s good for large amounts of unstructured data. Block storage is used in databases and email servers because it’s fast, reliable, and easy to change. The three types of storage gateway are file, tape, and volume. Tape drives are best for large data backups. And the three types of backups are full, differential, and incremental.