Different types of data require different approaches to their storage, not only on the physical but also on virtual media. In the article, you will learn how large companies store their data.


Databases are an aid to almost any application. They store and process data that can take up a large volume. The role of data fragments stored in the database can be a number, a piece of text, or even a file.

Cloud databases perform the same functions as regular databases, but they have several advantages:

  • Any amount of storage – expands at any time, without purchasing equipment.
  • Fault tolerance – built-in data redundancy so that there are always backup copies if the equipment fails.
  • Advanced security: DBaaS operates in highly secure environments, under the control of powerful technical protection tools and security experts.

There are many types of databases: for processing transactions, storing unstructured data, caching information, and many other tasks.

File storage

File storages, as the name implies, operate on files. In such a repository, files are organized into directories and subdirectories (folders); each file can be found by the name and path of nested directories. Files can be added, deleted, overwritten, read, or executed. We are used to seeing such file systems on our PCs and laptops.

Nested directories and files in file storage. The directory hierarchy is arranged in the same way as on personal computers.

File storages are convenient when people work with files directly: many people are used to working with files in a directory tree. Some applications also use file storage if the main object of their work is files and directories.

When there are few files, file storage does a good job. However, with many files, the directory structure becomes unwieldy; searching it and accessing files slows down. Therefore, file storages are suitable for simple office tasks – a collaboration of a small number of employees, file sharing, and archive storage. But they are not well suited for large arrays of heterogeneous data that need to be processed quickly.

Object storage

Data in the object storage is placed without the hierarchy of folders accepted in the file storage. Instead, all data is stored as objects, and anything can be in the role of an object: a document, an image, a rich source video, a code fragment.

The advantage over file storage is that the speed of access to any object does not depend on the number of things. Placing a billion objects does not lead to a drop-in rate – a situation unthinkable for file storage.

As a public service, object storage comes with a few more unique benefits:

Unlimited storage scalability without reconfiguring storage applications. By comparison, if an application uses a regular physical or cloud drive, the drive will run out one day. Therefore, it is necessary not only to add a new one but also to configure the application to understand when to access which disk. There are no such problems with cloud storage: applications work according to the same rules for any amount of storage.

Built-in data replication. Data is automatically copied, and copies are stored on different servers in different data centers. This ensures their safety and quick restoration of work even if access to one of the copies fails.

Uninterrupted access to storage objects for any number of users. You can put a video in storage, and when tens of thousands of people watch it simultaneously, the number of hits will not create any problems.

You can deploy object storage in your own data center as part of a private cloud or use cloud providers’ services. Providers usually charge storage volume, traffic, and storage requests, the cost of which may vary in different tariffs.