S3 Object Storage

S3 Object Storage - Block, File, Object

Object ≥ File ≥ Block = Oversimplified comparison of data storage types


Reading the above equation one might get the wrong impression that file storage methods are superior to block and object storage methods are superior to file. That's not the impression that we would like to project. All three methods are still useful today and are not going away anytime soon. There are advantages and disadvantages to each to it's your application that should determine the usage.

Also note that object, file and block are not discrete stepping stones. They are all part of the same continuum. There are no hard and fast categories - in a way, they all blend together. So it's possible to use just one or all three depending on your data and the sophistication of your applications.

Block Storage

Think of it this way: Block is the first, most basic and most primitive of all the data storage structures. It is used to define the building blocks of storage (e.g. sectors) of any single hard drive or group of hard drives via SATA, SCSI, SAS or USB on any local system. Where available on a network or LAN, block storage would be defined over protocols such as ATA over Ethernet, iSCSI, or Fibre Channel to target large groups of disks collectively known as a Storage Area Network (SAN). When a disk or group of disks are formatted or initialized the block structure is determined and written to the targeted storage.
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File Storage

File storage is next. This data storage type is most familiar to end users. A formatted disk or disks contains a file system which is usually but not always a hierarchical based file system which sets up resources to store logical entities known as files, directories, sub-directories and folders. Sharing data files at this level can be performed by computer networking protocols: SMB, CIFS, NFS and AppleTalk. The resulting server is often called a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device.

Object Storage

Object storage is the new kid on the playground. It builds upon block and file methods but it's not necessarily limited to the disadvantages of either. What we are describing here is a higher level of data abstraction which gives the user the ability to perceive and use data without coupling it with direct, physical hardware assets. Object storage is optimized for the web and cloud, can be easily clustered, scales up to very high data capacities and can scale across geographies (given certain limits). With S3 object storage, data is logically grouped into buckets which would contain the objects (files). Instead of sub-directories, prefixes can be used for deeper levels of separating or subdividing content.
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Recent Press and News

Be sure to check out the latest releases and most recent News coming out of Small Tree. Weather it's new software that is making it's way around the industry or a new feature available on our hardware, we updates our Media Blog relatively frequently with new features and updates surrounding the Industry.