You have likely heard of Sofware-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service, and maybe even Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), but another cloud service model that is quickly gaining steam is Storage-as-a-Service (sometimes called STaaS). Just as the name implies, this form of cloud computing is all about storing data and lots of it.
For businesses, data is multiplying at an astronomical rate. Pretty much everything is stored electronically and also backed up electronically. That may include customer data, partner data, affiliate data, financial records, analytics, research, and more. Large enterprises have even reached the point where their data may consist of unwieldy blobs that would simply crash a server to even attempt a query. Storage is also very expensive, but many Storage-as-a-Service solutions provide just the relief many companies need.
Whether it is a single MySQL database or a humongous chunk of data stored with Apache Hadoop, paying for storage on a subscription basis often makes sense. Companies could conceivably spend millions developing technology to manage large chunks of data, but cloud storage services often already have the right tools available for the job.
Storage-as-a-Service packages may include features like redundancy, scalability, support for large data objects, location-based storage for minimal bandwidth and latency, low per-gigabyte/per data transfer cost, distributed data for application access, and specialised software for easier development, management, and transfer of data.
Storage-as-a-Service is not without its critics. Some say it is an inefficient use of bandwidth, and others say it is too risky to trust your company’s data with a cloud provider. Nevertheless, companies looking for large storage solutions seem to be flocking to cloud providers in droves. For them the benefits seem to outweigh the risks.