Object storage is a popular method of cloud storage often used for storing unstructured data. Also called object-based storage, this method is scalable and efficient; it’s advantageous particularly for backup, archiving, or any instances where data does not have to be dynamically updated. As enterprises deal with growing amounts of data—79 zettabytes were generated worldwide in 2021—the need for flexible mass storage in the cloud is crucial, and object storage provides a cost-effective and manageable solution.
To understand how object storage works, it’s important to understand a few terms.
Unstructured data: Unstructured data is digital information that arrives without predefined fields or a purposeful format. In an Internet of Things (IoT) world, unstructured data comes as text, documents, images, audio, video, and many other forms. Because of continuous data from devices, today’s data is overwhelmingly unstructured. Learn more about unstructured versus structured data.
Buckets: Containers holding data are known as buckets.
Storage nodes: Storage nodes contain and manage individual buckets and are linked to a router, which keeps a list of what’s in each storage node.
Router: The router contains a series of rules for assigning object identifiers within the nodes, enabling simpler organization within many nodes.
Object storage buckets hold three items.
When data is stored in object storage, the data and its associated metadata go into a bucket. The bucket and its contents (data, metadata, and identifier) are stored in a storage pool using a flat address space—that is, there is no hierarchical organization to the buckets. Both read and write requests are sent through the router, which then identifies the proper node. Once the request is forwarded to the proper node, the node handles the object request accordingly.
Object storage has many benefits over block storage and file storage. These include
When deciding between cloud storage options, consider these limitations of object storage.
Here are some use cases ideally suited for object storage.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Object Storage is an ideal choice for data lakes or other use cases that require housing large volumes of data in native formats.