Cloud-Native Storage: A 10,000 Foot Overview For Beginners

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Cloud-native storage is relatively new, and it can be confusing for beginners. Simply put, cloud-native is a technology that utilizes the cloud from start to finish in software development.

This technology has allowed organizations to build applications more dynamically and with more scalability. These environments can be private, public, or a combination of both.

If you’re interested in cloud-native storage, the brief overview below can give you the information you need to set your sights on in the skies.

A core part of cloud-native storage

A core part of cloud-native storage

Within cloud-native storage, the so-called “containers” are a crucial component. These containers simplify code movement to other cloud infrastructures by using the same processes and tools. You can easily create containers and quickly relocate or delete them.

Kubernetes, a computer application creation and management system, has become a popular tool to manage such containers. Official CNCF projects like this offer a robust cloud-native distributed storage for Kubernetes.

These tools can be game-changing for teams with distributed networks or intense scalability requirements.

Attributes of a cloud-native storage system

With multiple storage systems available, it’s crucial to consider key features that enhance the user experience.


To successfully use cloud-native storage, it must be readily available. Users will need to access data quickly if a failure requires a closer look.


Scalability within cloud-native storage is essential for multiple reasons. There needs to be an ability to increase the number of users who access the storage system. The system should also have the ability to grow storage capacity as well as the ability to add more components when needed.


Performance is a crucial ingredient when using a dynamic storage system. You can measure it by the time it takes to complete a read or write operation, the maximum number of storage operations per second, and data stored or retrieved.


A strongly consistent system should show no delay between data modification and the ability of new data.


You can think of durability in cloud-native storage as data protected against loss. Not only is the system accessible, but the system can hold onto data for a long time. The durability of a storage system consists of layers of data protection, levels of redundancy, and the ability to detect corruption and restore corrupted data automatically.


Both hardware and software deployments should provide data quickly on demand. Hardware is the physical storage equipment within a data center, while you can install cloud-native software in both cloud and local environments.

Standard cloud-native storage solution models

Standard cloud-native storage solution models

Multiple models consume cloud-native data. Choosing the proper storage solution model will depend on the desired use of cloud-native storage.

Public cloud storage

Public cloud storage allows businesses and individuals to license data storage from a third party. Examples of companies that offer public cloud file storage and backup services include Dropbox, Google, and Apple iCloud. Users can easily store, access, manage, and share their data.

Commercial cloud storage

Organizations that build private clouds will often utilize commercial cloud storage services. Commercial cloud storage gives users convenience, scalability, and high data reliability. Private cloud storage providers can provide their users with modern and mature cloud-native storage solutions.

User-created or self-maintained storage services

User-created or self-maintained storage services allow users to build their own storage services for their business data. There are two types of storage services that businesses can make in-house.

One option is block storage, considered a more mature solution for users who need more out of their storage. Because this solution is so complex, it usually requires a specialized team for maintenance and support.

Simple storage solutions include GlusterFS, CephFS, and NFS. CephFS and GlusterFS capabilities are not mature enough and do not adequately meet the needs for high-performance frameworks.

NFS (Network File System) is a mature option that offers high security, but its performance in self-maintained clusters does not adequately meet the needs of high-performance applications.

Local storage

Local storage solutions are high-performing and suitable for businesses that don’t require highly available distributed storage. Options for local storage include database services or storage as cache.

Database services are best for users looking to achieve high storage I/O performance with low access latency. Most block storage services do not meet these needs, and if applications are designed for high data availability, a multi-replica design is essentially wasting resources.

An example of this is MySQL, which has a team that offers development and management.

Caching storage is weaker than block storage in many aspects. However, it makes the most sense in specific scenarios. To save unimportant, discardable data once programs are executed, utilizing storage as a cache is a logical option.


Cloud-native storage is somewhat new to the scene but is essentially a high-tech storage solution for holding data. There are multiple forms of storage solution services, and the benefits of each depend on what the individual user or business requires.

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