Data Management Glossary
What is Object Storage?
Object storage, also known as object-based storage or cloud storage, is a way of addressing and manipulating data storage as objects. Objects are kept inside a single repository and are not nested in a folder inside other folders.
Each object has a distinct global identifier or key that is unique within its namespace. The access method for object is via URL, which allows object storage to abstract multiple regions, data centers and nodes, for essentially unlimited capacity behind a simple namespace.
Objects, unlike file, have no hierarchy or directories but are stored in a flat namespace. Another key difference versus file is the user or application metadata is in the form of key value pairs. An example of object metadata is when you take a picture with your phone and store to the cloud it includes metadata such as “device=iphone.”
Object storage can achieve extreme levels of durability by creating multiple copies or implementing erasure coding for data protection. Object storage is also cost-efficient and is a good option for cheap, deep, scale-on-demand storage. While many object storage APIs exist, Amazon’s Simple Storage Service or S3 has become the defacto standard supported by other public and private cloud storage vendors.