Block Storage

What is Block Storage?

Block storage is a type of data storage technology used to store data in blocks, each with a unique address. Each block can be accessed independently and typically has a fixed size, ranging from a few bytes to several terabytes, depending on the specific storage system.

Block storage is commonly used in enterprise IT environments for storing data that requires high performance and low latency, such as databases and virtual machine disk images. It provides direct access to storage volumes at the block level, allowing applications to read and write data with high throughput and low latency.

One of the key advantages of block storage is its flexibility. It can be used with a variety of operating systems and applications, and it allows storage volumes to be resized and partitioned as needed. This makes it a popular choice for cloud-based storage solutions, where customers can purchase and provision storage volumes on-demand, and only pay for the storage they actually use.

Examples of block storage solutions include: Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Google Cloud Persistent Disk, and Microsoft Azure Managed Disks.

Block Storage vs. File Storage

File storage is a storage system where data is organized into files and directories. File storage systems typically use protocols such as NFS and SMB to access and manage files. File storage is commonly used for storing and sharing unstructured data files such as documents, images, videos, and audio files.

The key difference between block storage and file storage is that block storage provides direct access to storage volumes at the block level, while file storage provides access to files and directories. File storage is well suited for applications that require shared access to files and directories, such as file servers, web servers, and content management systems.

Block storage and file storage are both important storage technologies, but they are designed for different use cases. Block storage is optimized for high performance storage and low latency, while file storage is optimized for shared access to files and directories.

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Block-level Tiering vs File-Level Tiering

Block-based tiering is typically used by data storage vendors. Storage tiering, aka pools solutions, use block-based tiering. Only the operating system of the NAS knows exactly what blocks were moved, so you can only access the file through the original source. If you decide to end-of-life the device, you must re-hydrate all of the archived data. Given that there will likely not be enough space on the device, this can be a painful, slow, iterative approach.

Secondary storage vendors also starting to tier data to their device which is moving the storage concerns from Tier 1 to Tier 2 storage. You are now tied to that secondary storage vendor and lose the same flexibility on secondary storage based on need, costs and the direction of your company’s infrastructure initiatives as you had on Tier 1 storage. Ultimately, unstructured data management is not something that should be left to storage devices. You should be able to freely move from one storage device to another.

Komprise is an unstructured data management software solution that tiers and archives data at the file-level and fully preserves file fidelity and standards-based access to your data at each tier. Data-storage agnostic, Komprise enables you to freely move data across different vendor storage and clouds without lock-in to either the storage or to Komprise. The solution is analytics driven, so you can choose what you move, when, and how.

Read the white paper: Block-Level vs. File-Level Tiering.


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