What is actually cloud storage is as follows: This saves data to an off-site storage system managed by a third party. Instead of storing information on your computer's hard drive or other local storage device, you save it to a remote database. The internet provides a connection between your computer and the database.
It's easy to see the advantages of cloud storage over traditional data storage immediately:
- If you store data in a cloud storage system, you will be able to retrieve data from any location that has Internet access.
- You don't need to carry a physical storage device or use the same computer to store and retrieve your information.
- If you have the right storage system, you can even allow others to access data, turning personal projects into collaborative efforts.
It might surprise you to know this, but there are hundreds of different cloud storage systems. Some have very specific focus, such as storing Web e-mail messages or digital images. Another person's goal is to store all forms of digital data.
ome cloud storage systems are small operations, while others are very large so that physical equipment can fill the entire warehouse. Facilities that accommodate cloud storage systems are called data centers.
Reduced to the most basic level, cloud storage systems only need one data server connected to the Internet. The client, (a computer user who subscribes to cloud storage services), sends a copy of the file over the Internet to the data server, which then records the information.
Every time a client wants to retrieve information, they access the data server through a web-based interface. The server then sends the file back to the client or allows the client to access and manipulate files on the server itself.
How Does Cloud Storage Work?
When you upload a file to the internet and the file is there for a long time, it is considered as cloud storage. The simplest type of cloud storage is uploading something to the server and having the ability to retrieve it if you want.
A reputable cloud storage service protects files behind encryption and requires you to enter a password in order to access files. Most of the time, cloud storage accounts can also be protected behind two-factor authentication, so anyone who wants access to your files must know not only passwords but also other codes sent to your cellphone based on login requests.
Most cloud storage services allow you to upload all types of files: videos, images, documents, music, or whatever. However, some are limited to accepting only certain types of files, such as only images or music. Cloud storage services are usually quite clear about what is permitted and what is not.
Different cloud storage services allow you to upload files to your online account through different methods. Some only support uploads in the browser, meaning you have to go to a cloud storage service website to upload your data, but most have desktop applications that make uploading files easier by drag-and-drop into service-specific folders. Most also support uploading images and videos from your mobile.
Cloud storage involves at least one data server that a user connects to via the internet. The user sends files manually or in an automated fashion over the Internet to the data server which forwards the information to multiple servers. The stored data is then accessible through a web-based interface.
Cloud storage systems involve vast numbers of data servers to ensure their availability. That way, if one server requires maintenance or fails, the user can rest assured that the data has been replicated elsewhere to ensure availability. For example, the Amazon AWS Cloud spans 55 availability zones in 18 geographic regions at the present time.
While the data in a public cloud is replicated in different physical locations for fault tolerance and disaster recovery purposes, the primary or local location tends to be nearer physically to the company's facility using it so the data can be processed faster and at lower costs then, say choosing a primary location halfway around the globe.
Cloud storage management trends continue to unfold with more companies extending out to the cloud. Public clouds are managed by public cloud service providers. Their infrastructure and services include:
- Data center operations
Cloud data storage resources can be provisioned in the following ways:
- By end users using a web interface that are paying for capacity on a per-transaction basis
- By users who specify pre-determined capacity which is prepared in advance of the service. The customer then pays for the service monthly or pays a flat fee.
- By the service provider which allocates resources dynamically as needed. Payment is on a pay-per-use basis.
As noted above, pricing can vary, and it can depend on a number of factors including the service provider, capacity required, length of time required, etc.
Unfortunately, computers are far from perfect, and sometimes require maintenance or repair. That's why cloud storage systems usually depend on hundreds of data servers to store the same information on many machines. This is known as redundancy. If they don't use this tactic, cloud storage systems cannot promise clients that they can access their information at any time.
Most cloud storage systems have the same data stored on servers that use different power supplies. In this way, the client will have access to their data even if one of the power supplies fails.
Cloud storage is not only for clients who are worried about running out of storage space. This is often used as a way to back up data. If the client's computer system is damaged, the data will remain outside the location.
There are hundreds of cloud storage providers on the Web, and many more are popping up all the time. Providing storage is not the only field of strong competition, but also the amount of storage each company offers to its clients seems to be increasing every day.
So cloud storage is here to stay, and like everything else, it has supporters and detractors.
While it's not easy, it can really help both individuals and businesses because it saves data for you, effectively eliminating the need to store information on your own computer or your business. You only need to determine what your requirements are before entering with a cloud storage provider.