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Choosing the right Object Storage solution for your unstructured data

With research from the IDC estimating that 80% of the data created by 2025 will be unstructured [1], businesses need to ensure they have an affordable storage solution for such high volumes of data. A simple, cost-effective solution that businesses can utilise to this effect is Cloud Object Storage, which stores petabytes of data in the Cloud as 'objects'.

The ability to easily classify data is what makes Object Storage so convenient. Users can tag files with metadata to help describe their contents, which makes sorting and searching the data easier than other storage solutions. The unique identifier number (UID) can also be used to easily find the location of the specific data required.

Another advantage of Object Storage is the flexible scalability. Object Storage uses a flat address space to store data instead of organising it in a hierarchy (as is the case with file storage), meaning it can be easily scaled out when required. This also makes it a more cost-effective storage solution, as you can start off with a small volume of storage, and only scale out when you need to, minimising the amount of money wasted on unused storage.

There are a lot of companies currently offering Object Storage, which can make the choice of solution tricky. When 1,000 enterprises were asked what providers they used, it was found that the tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Google were the front-runners. However, just because they are the most popular, doesn't mean that they will necessarily offer the best Object Storage solution out there. So how do you make the final decision? 

What IaaS providers do enterprises use? [2]

In our current pandemic, cost control is more of a concern than ever, both in the short- and long-term. Many providers have very complicated pricing system, which makes it very difficult for businesses to calculate and predict their spend. For example, if we look at AWS, their egress fees mean they charge users to transfer data within/across regions, within/outside availability zones and within/outside AWS, meaning customers will not know how much they will have to pay until the bill comes. To avoid this, opt for a storage solution without any egress or support fees, ensuring a simple, predictable pricing model that will help you budget effectively.

Another factor to consider when choosing a storage provider is the location of the data centres. Public Clouds have data centres in multiple locations across the globe, so there's no guarantee of data sovereignty. Data can be stored in (or replicated to) another country, in which case it will be subject to the applicable data privacy regulations, which will also result in a currency fluctuation when it comes to payments. Therefore, choose a cloud provider with data centres in the UK to ensure quick access speeds, no currency fluctuations and complete data sovereignty.

Object Storage can also be natively integrated with a wide array of applications and services to combine low-cost cloud storage with application intelligence. For example, a Storage Gateway service provides you with an Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform that takes advantage of central, low-cost Object Storage, with a local cache for responsiveness and performance. However, not every cloud provider offers this service, so make sure you check for this option before you sign up if it is something you would like.

For more information on Object Storage that offers a predictable pricing structure, data sovereignty and the option of a Storage Gateway service, click here to see Exponential-e's Cloud Storage. 

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