What is Google Cloud Storage? Explained in Simple Words
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This write-up is a comprehensive insight into the Google Cloud Storage service of the Google Cloud Platform. It will cover the commonly asked questions such as What is it? Why use it? How different is it when compared to other data storage solutions provided by the Google Cloud Platform? Does it have a free tier? etc.
So, without any further ado.
Let’s get started.
1. What is Google Cloud Storage?
Google Cloud Storage is a data storage component of the Google Cloud Platform.
So, when I say data storage, it can store any kind of data, text information, audio, video files, raw unstructured data with durability & security.
The component offers a REST-based API which enables the storage solution to smoothly integrate with apps run by solo developers as well as the enterprises.
It has several storage classes like Regional, Multi-Regional, Nearline & the Coldline. It also has an efficient object lifecycle management system.
I’ll talk about everything in detail up ahead in the article.
Before that, I’ll delve into the features offered by Google’s Cloud Storage solution.
2. What Are the Features of Google Cloud Storage?
The storage component has a REST-API, as I already brought it up, which is pretty consistent, makes the integration with the apps pretty easy.
Developers have control over the data. They can set the TTL Time to Live for their objects, archive the data which hasn’t been accessed for a while. Upgrade or downgrade storage classes without having an impact on the latency & the accessibility of the solution.
The data stored on the platform is pretty durable as Google’s Storage platform stores replicas of data in case of any infrastructure failures. The data is spread geographically in distinct locations as a contingency for natural calamities.
The individual objects can be as large as 5TB & have no limit to the read frequency.
3. What Are the Different Storage Classes Offered by the Cloud Storage Solution?
Cloud Storage stores data in buckets. Buckets have three properties, a universally unique name, bucket location & the storage class of the bucket.
Speaking of storage classes, there are four storage classes offered by the storage solution.
Regional, Multi-Regional, Nearline, Coldline
High-Performance Object Storage
Regional Storage Class
This storage class is preferred when we are in need of quick access to data. Ideally in high-frequency apps. To achieve this the data is stored in a geographical location which is close to the client seeking data.
Multi-Regional Storage Class
When you need to spread your data geographically to serve users located across the globe. Pick this storage class.
Both Regional & Multi-Regional Storage classes come under the high-performance object storage category.
Backup & Archival Storage
If your data is accessed at a frequency which is less than once a month. Nearline Storage class will fit best with your app requirements.
Now if you want to archive data which would possibly be accessed not more a once a year. Coldline is the ideal data storage class.
Both Nearline & Coldline are storage classes built for archiving data. Storing data not so frequently accessed.
So, as we know Google Cloud Storage solution facilitates storage of all kinds of data, be it accessed at a high frequency or less than once a year. The data can be moved easily between the storage classes in case the business requirement calls for it.
The storage solution facilitates a gamut of possibilities be it using data for apps or high throughput data ingestion or just taking a backup of the data. I’ll talk more about it & how it is different than other data stores offered by the Google Cloud platform up ahead in the article.
4. Google Cloud Storage Pricing
As it is in the cloud, pay for what you use, along with-it Google offers a free tier in the storage solution. At the time of writing this article, it’s upto 5GB per month, which is pretty generous in my opinion.
The storage solution’s pricing depends on several other factors as well, such as:
Data Storage: It accounts for how much data we store in the buckets.
Network Usage: Accounts for the movement of data in buckets & the network bandwidth it consumes.
Operations Usage: This factor accounts for the amount of the read & write operations done on the data stored.
Retrieval & early deletion fees: Applicable only for the Nearline & Coldline storage classes. There are additional costs associated with managing data in these storage classes.
5. What is the Difference Between Google Drive & Cloud Storage?
Google Drive & Cloud Storage are both Google’s data storage products what is the difference really? Don’t they do the exact same thing?
Google Drive a part of Google’s G-Suite. G-Suite is a suite of services such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar etc. for individual users & businesses. They are more like services for the end user who isn’t looking to get his hands dirty writing code. It more like drag & drop & get stuff done.
On the other hand, Google Cloud Storage is preferred by businesses for storing real-time data, data ingestion. Storing unstructured data which can be accessed by their systems running online anytime.
Google Cloud Storage is meant for apps running on Google Cloud or any other external platform. Manage data programmatically without human intervention.
6. Why Should I Use Google Cloud Storage? How Different is to Other Storage Solutions Offered by Google Cloud Platform Such as Google Datastore or Spanner?
Google Cloud Storage fits best for storing unstructured data. Data such as audio video files, logs, raw information, Blobs. Stuff which doesn’t has a fixed data model. Also, for archiving & backing up data.
On the other hand solutions like Google Cloud Datastore is preferred when in need of a scalable, high-throughput NoSQL data store. Google Cloud Spanner is preferred when we need a horizontally scalable SQL solution. The data stored in these solutions is structured or semi-structured at max. Primarily used as a source of truth for the mobile or browser-based apps.
For a detailed insight into how to pick the right storage solution here you go.
7. Integration with Other Google Cloud Services
Google Cloud Storage integrates pretty smoothly with other Google Cloud platform services such as the App Engine, Big Query, Cloud Dataflow, Genomics, Stackdriver logging etc. The data movement across the services is facilitated via the REST-based APIs.
8. More On the Blog
Well, Guys, this is pretty much it on Google Cloud Storage. If you liked the article share it with your folks.
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I’ll see you in the next article.
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