As with most anything, data storage services vary by provider and one size doesn’t necessarily fit all. Which is right for you? Here’s a look at some of the more common data storage services types currently offered.
Free Online Data Storage
You’re likely familiar with online data storage services such as Google Drive and DropBox. These free services offer a fair amount of free storage, such as 5 to 10 gigabytes, for free with options to upgrade to paid accounts for more storage space. Whether using a free or paid account, these services allow you store and access your documents online. In addition, they often include collaboration tools, allowing you and your colleagues to work on a document at the same time. Depending on the service, you may not be able to access your data if you do not have an Internet connection.
Content Storage and Distribution
While free online data storage services are perfect for individual users and small teams, they don’t necessarily meet the needs of larger organizations or those that need to store and distribute content such as video files. Content storage and distribution services allow you to store large files on the vendor’s servers and distribute them as needed. For example, if you run a website that contains an entire section of video tutorials, you may want to host your large video collections on a dedicated data storage service specifically for this purpose. While you could theoretically host your videos on sites such as YouTube, you generally have less control over the content. In addition, some video-sharing services impose restrictions on the type of content you can upload. If you violate their terms of service, your account could be closed.
Hybrid Cloud Storage
This type of service blends network attached storage with cloud-based storage, giving users access locally and remotely. Essentially, this type of service continuously backs up files and makes them available via your online cloud account. This type of service allows you to work offline or online.
Data Storage Services for Virtual Desktop Infrastructures
Another type of storage is available for organizations that use a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). With this type of service, data storage is virtualized just as the desktops are. The actual storage arrays may be hosted at the organization’s own facility or hosted at the vendor’s datacenter. Virtualized storage places data into a virtual environment that allows users to save and interact with their data as if they were interacting with it locally. However, though the data may appear as if it were on a local drive, it’s actually placed in an array of storage disks. One user’s data may be scattered across the entire array! The user doesn’t need to worry about where the files are located in the array though because an interface displaying the user’s folders hides the complexity and technical details.
No matter which type of data storage service makes sense for your situation, accessibility, reliability, and security are essential. Make sure to investigate the service provider’s service levels to ensure that your data is safe, secure, backed up, and accessible whenever you need it.