Google Cloud Storage Options: Object, Block & File Storage

What are GCP Storage Options? 
Google Cloud Persistent Disks (Block Storage)
Google Cloud Filestore (Network File Storage)
Google Cloud Storage (Object Storage)
Storage Classes
Lifecycle Management Rules

Apart from computing and network services, storage is also one of the fundamental and important resources in on premises or cloud deployments. You rely on storage components to persist your data. However, the storage and its associated terms could be quite confusing when we talk about cloud-based storage with SAN, NAS and local drives. 

Today we look more in detail about Google Cloud Storage options, features, how it works, use cases and so on. 

What are GCP Storage Options? 

Google Cloud provides three main types of storage :

  • Persistent disks for Block Storage,
  • Filestore for Network File Storage and
  • Cloud storage for Object Level Storage

These services are core of the Google Cloud Platform and act as building blocks for most of the Google cloud services. We will discuss more in detail about different types of storage in the coming section.

Google Cloud Persistent Disks (Block Storage)

It is a traditional type of storage used both in cloud and on premises setups. A Google cloud persistent disk storage provides block storage and virtual machines in Google cloud use it. Persistent disks are just like USB drives which can be attached/detached from virtual machines and enable to build data persistence for services whenever virtual machines are initialized, stopped or terminated. 

Persistent disks also used to power Kubernetes Engine service. A persistent disk can be HDD or SSD (For high I/O performance). There is also an ability to choose where they are located and what type of availability is required. They can be regional , zonal or local. Regional disks offer high availability where disks are replicated in different zones within a region. Zonal disks are a moderate and less expensive approach where storage disks are highly available but within the zone itself. Persistent drives support automatic encryption, flexibility to resize while in use and snapshot capabilities. 

Google Cloud Filestore (Network File Storage)

Filestore is a fully managed Google cloud service which provides network file storage. A network file storage provides a disk storage over the network. Enablement of systems with multiple parallel services that have the ability to read and write files from the same disk storage mounted over the network. Performance of file storage is however somewhat inferior as compared to block or object storage. 

Google Cloud storage (Object Storage)

Object storage services are out of box features such as versioning of objects or fine grain permissions which make development easy and help in reduction of operational overheads. It is widely popular in cloud native systems due to its low costs along with server less approach and simple nature. Data replication, availability, integrity, capacity etc. are cloud provider headaches.  Access to object storage is via REST API. 

Google Cloud: Storage Classes & Lifecycle Management Rules

Storage Classes

Storage classes in Google Cloud storage we need to select one storage class for your buckets, standard, Nearline or Coldline. The usual approach is to select a standard, where there is a choice to opt to have your bucket in a specific single google cloud region or across multiple regions.

The Nearline and Coldline storage classes are options where data access is not required so frequently. The Nearline storage class is designed for data that is accessed less than once per month and Coldline storage on the other hand is designed for cases where data is accessed even less frequently, maybe once per year or less. So, it is ideal for archival storage. 

Lifecycle Management Rules

Many times the same type of data might require different treatment over a period of time. For example, in case of application logs, high availability for data is required during the month  and less availability for next six months, and eventually retain a copy for archival purposes to meet regulatory requirements.

So, for such cases we have to enable Google cloud storage Lifecycle rules to define actions such as auto transition of objects between different storage classes, disabling versioning, and deleting objects after certain defined period of time. 

Conclusion 

Google cloud storage service helps organizations to store data online and provides facility to access that data in no time. There are several storage options available out of which one can select the basis of organizational needs and requirements.

Cloud storage has some inherent benefits such as no size limit to any of the storage options, no boundation on accessibility of data , latency is very low, high durability to store huge chunk of data, Geo redundancy for all storage types and storage classes offer several features like APIs and other features related to data operations. 

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