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The Differences Between Cloud Block Storage And Cloud Files

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At Rackspace I have worked on both the Cloud Files and the Cloud Block Storage systems. Sometimes people get confused between the two products, so I want to explain the differences.

Cloud Files is what is called object storage, and it is great for storing media, web assets and backups. Data stored in Cloud Files is both durable and reliable because we store three copies of all those pieces of data. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to expose that data through the Content Delivery Network (CDN), which gives your websites much faster load times because those servers are geographically dispersed all over the world. But, Cloud Files is not a hard drive.

Cloud Block Storage was designed for people whose needs require increasing their hard drive. With Cloud Block Storage, users have file level access; it allows you to do things like processing, or gives applications access for things like encoding video. Just like a hard drive that you have at home, you will want to backup the data on a Cloud Block Storage drive. You can do this by backing up your Cloud Block Storage data to our Cloud Files offering to have a durable and reliable version of that data for you.

Previously, Chuck talked about some of the options for Cloud Block Storage including Standard volumes (SATA) and SSD drives. In his next post, he will give you three best practices for Cloud Block Storage. Be sure to check out this page to find out how to get started with Cloud Block Storage on the Rackspace Cloud powered by OpenStack.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Chuck Thier.

Chuck Thier, a Racker for six years, is a software developer who has worked on several Rackspace products, including Cloud Files and Cloud Block Storage. Chuck was on the ground floor of open-sourcing Cloud Files for OpenStack Swift.


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  • http://www.wickercn.com Howard

    Thanks, this is very useful for me, I was confused between block and files for a long time

  • Jain

    Thanks !!!

  • Jim Bender

    Wish the answer was specific instead of informing the use.

    ie: Is the block storage – an iSCSI / Fiber channel connected device.
    ie: Is file storage – assigned storage within a file system.

    Why come up with articles that are totally useless…

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