Cloud object storage features

This content was last reviewed on: 
November 2, 2021

The amount of object storage features has increased dramatically

The breadth of cloud object storage features has grown. So much so, that full-featured providers like AWS, Google Cloud or Azure offer features that many developers will never need.

By identifying the features you really need for your use case, you may be able to find a specialized provider that offers other benefits, like a pricing structure that can save you money relative to the broad-based cloud platforms.

This guide has a list of every important object storage feature. To get a free, custom recommendation of the best object storage provider for you, take our questionnaire.

This resource covers the following types of features

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Management

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

IAM is a standard for securely controlling access to resources on the cloud.

Versioning

Versioning will allow you to retain the old object when it is updated or deleted.

Tagging

Tags are used to easily sort and categorize objects.

Life Cycle Management

Life cycle management allows you to set rules to manage how your objects are stored. This includes storage tiers, expiration dates and more.

Detailed Logging

Detailed logging keeps a log or trail of changes with sufficient detail for troubleshooting purposes.

Detailed Costing

Detailed costing provides a breakdown of the different elements that make up your bill.

Point-in-time Restore

This protects against data getting accidentally deleted or corrupted by allowing you to revert to a state prior to the deletion or corruption event.

Storage Analytics Suite

A robust storage analytics suite provides visibility (i.e., drill-down) into your object storage usage and should recommend strategies to improve efficiency and security.

3rd Party Billing

Rather than pay every time your data is accessed by 3rd parties, you can set up your storage so that 3rd parties that access your data get billed for their consumption (e.g., network, operation and retrieval fees).


Performance

<1 hr Retrieval from Deep Archive

When using the Deepest Archival storage class on a provider, the file retrieval time is up to 1 hour.

<1 min Retrieval from Archive

When using the Archival storage class on a provider, the file retrieval time is up to 1 minute.

Concurrency

If you have a large dataset, you can make many concurrent reads to analyze the data.

Compression

When files are smaller thanks to compression, downloads can be faster.

Multipart Upload

Multipart upload allows you to upload a single object or file as a set of parts. When done in parallel, this can improve throughput by a lot.

Built-in CDN

Provider puts a CDN in front of your storage by default.


Reliability

Self-auditing and Repair

Self auditing and repair ensures your data remains durable. Vendors write files across several zones, regions or disks to enable data repair in the event of data loss.

Strong Consistency

Strong consistency keeps your objects consistent across your applications without requiring custom code.

Erasure Coding

Erasure coding fights off the deterioration of your stored data.

Extra Redundancy Tiering

Extra redundancy tiers provide an SLA of usually between 11 and 16 9s of durability.


Security

Object Lock

Object lock allows you to set a lock on the version of your object for a defined period to protect against deletion or being overwritten.

Ransomware Resistance

Ransomware protection comes in many flavors. The ideal ransomware resistance provides air-gapped solutions to insulate from attacks.

Server-side Encryption

Automatic encryption of data at its destination by the receiving app or service. 

Client-side Encryption

Automatic encryption of data before transmission from a user device to a server.

Decentralization

A lack of a centralized server by default has some security benefits. However, it is possible to meet a similar standard with a distributed architecture (and more work). 

End-to-end Encryption

Full end-to-end encryption keeps data encrypted at all times. This prevents data from being read or modified by any unintended parties.

Availability

Multi-region Availability

Storage available in more than three regions.

Geo-redundancy by Default

Storage that is natively replicated across more than one region.

Use Case Suitability

S3 Compatible API

S3 Compatible API supports some of the standard capabilities that are native to Amazon S3.

GCS Compatible API

GCS compatible API supports some of the standard capabilities that are native to Google Cloud Storage.

Eventing

Eventing gives you the ability to trigger a Lambda or Function off of an event from your storage service.

Native Streaming Support

Native streaming support provides a simple way to stream your file through your own server. This allows for restricting who can access the file, or setting up custom events.

No Egress Limits

No egress limits allow you to egress or download as much data as you want even though you might have to pay for it.

No Minimum Object Size

Objects of any size can be stored.

No API Request Limits

No limit to the number of operations or API requests you can make. Vendors are not likely to shut down your account for excessive API requests without giving you fair warning. To be clear, this rating does NOT concern unlimited free API requests.

No Minimum Storage Retention Period

A provider with no minimum storage retention requirement will not apply additional charges for early deletion of files across any storage class available on its service.

Large Maximum Object Size

Most providers will let you store individual files (not broken up) up to 5 TB in size, but some may allow you to store larger files (up to 10 TB).

Parquet Compatibility

Rather than using row-based data like what you would typically find in a CSV or JSON, Parquet is an open-source framework for efficient flat columnar data formats.

MBCS Compatibility

Filenames can use the MBCS character set.

Transfer Appliance

Usually a “ball” shipped to your data center that lets you easily move petabytes of data (upload data to ball and ship physically) to your new provider without paying for the considerable egress fees of your former provider.


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