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How Does Unstructured Data Storage Work in the Cloud?

Mohammed NaserMohammed Naser

Unstructured data is seeing exponential growth with the rise of technology solutions such as the cloud. Here is a closer look at the topic.

Unstructured data is seeing exponential growth with the rise of technology solutions, eCommerce, businesses moving to the cloud, and social media. This massive growth also means that storage for the data has to be handled well. Just because it is unstructured doesn't mean that it is not practical. In fact, with the right tools, such data is a goldmine of useful information. In this article, we take a closer look at unstructured data as a whole and its relation to cloud-based storage.

What is Unstructured Data?

Unstructured data is essentially all data that doesn't fall under the purview of relational databases (RDBMS). Unstructured data is not structured via predefined data schema or models. However, it has an internal structure - it can be textual or non-textual, or human- or machine-generated, and can be stored within non-relational databases like NoSQL. Examples of unstructured data include text files, email, mobile data, social media, satellite imagery, sensor or surveillance data, communications such as chats, etc.

Unstructured data is something of a misnomer. Sure, some of this data is difficult to analyze or process, but some of the data have additional features such as metadata, making them semi-structured.

Cloud Storage of Unstructured Data

As we have seen, unstructured data can include pretty much all kinds of information. The file sizes can range from anything to a few bits and bytes to gigabytes or more. Hence, there is no one-size-fits-all approach in terms of data storage. The type of storage where the data sits depends on the capacity as well as the set input/output (I/O) requirements. So, anything from low I/O performance (NAS, cloud instance, object storage) to high-performing, massive files (distributed file, object storage).

Network-attached storage (NAS) used to be associated with single file, siloed storage of data. Not anymore. These days, scale-out NAS is able to manage high-performance, high-capacity storage of the data. But again, object storage has also grown over the years and leads in unstructured data storage. Object storage comes with many advantages, such as having unique IDs for the stored data, being high-performance, highly scalable, and easily accessed with APIs. It is no surprise that most cloud providers opt for object storage.

Cloud providers offer high-performance, scalable storage services to customers, and there is a high demand for these flexible services. Some of them come in subscription-based systems or open source, reducing the overall financial burden to enterprises and organizations.

VEXXHOST Cloud Solutions

As a reputed IaaS provider, we ensure that our clients get the best storage services for their unstructured data. Our storage services include object storage, block storage, and file storage, using an open source platform, removing vendor-lock-ins. At VEXXHOST, we provide cloud solutions for a multitude of clients worldwide. We provide OpenStack-based clouds, including public clouds and dedicated and highly secure private cloud environments, ensuring utmost security and agility.

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