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Background: Cloud computing and Cloud-based Storage

Discuss about the Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Storage.

Cloud storage is one of the most popular models of data storage, where digital data or information is stored in logical memory slots. It can also be defined as a service model that maintains, manages and stores data remotely (Wang et al 2013). Users can then access this data over any network, typically over the internet (Drago et al 2013). Cloud storage technology is a need of the hour for almost any large scaled or medium scale business, in the modern times. Ji etal (2013), says that big data industry specifically makes use of cloud services. However, many are in the dilemma about the pros and cons of this remote storage technology. This report aims at describing all the varied aspects of cloud computing or cloud storage by thoroughly visiting every details of the technology. The report shall further outline the history of data storage over the cloud-based network and finally highlight the advantages and disadvantages of this technology.

Cloud computing has brought about a major change in the style of information storage and the execution of varied applications more efficiently.  Cloud storage is a crucial part of this entire concept (Arora, Parashar and Transforming 2013). It curbs off the need to store huge amounts of data and programs on a local desktop storage and instead provides a larger memory space for storage on cluster of remote computers and or servers. In general, a cloud storage architecture consists of a master control server and numerous storage servers that work concurrently. According to Kavis (2014), typically, there are four types of scenarios where cloud storage is used. They are as follows:

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): The service providers manages large sets of digital resources. They use virtualization to intelligently use these resources in order to build an ad-hoc system for the customer to rely on. This is a service-based scenario. This include servers, networks, and storage modules and so on.
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service): Clouds may also provide a platform for the clients to build and execute their applications on. This is done by providing an additional abstraction level.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service): Software and applications are meant to run on these cloud servers (Paraiso et al 2012).
  • StaaS (Storage as a Service): This facilitates the cloud applications to scale beyond their server limits. This is what allows users to store their data in remote memory locations with the key to access them at any time and from anywhere. Cloud storage is meant to fulfill tons of client side information about performance, reliability and data consistency (Martini and Choo 2013).

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider is known to have invented the cloud storage technology back in the 1960s. He developed this technology while working on the ARPNET network architecture, in order to connect humans with data from anywhere and everywhere (Vibhute 2017). Back in 1983, CompuServe is believed to have offered the very first cloud storage facility to their customers. They were given little amount of space to upload and store their data, remotely. Since then, cloud service has become a crucial part of the digital society. Hosting companies host remote servers and offers their clients with cloud based facility. Recently, Amazon Web Services is considered to be the largest cloud service provider in the world. They have grown enormously since their initiation in 2006. Google, IBM, SUN Microsystems and Microsoft are the other famous competitors who excel in cloud-based service (Liu 2012).

A brief history of Cloud Storage

A recent survey claims that the adoption rate of cloud based services and storage has doubled in the past five years and the cloud services market is predicted to have reached nearly $250 Billion by the dawn of 2018. However, debates about the acceptability of cloud-based services over the traditional or local server-based storage have always been in the news. Below, the advantages and disadvantages of adapting to the cloud based storage shall be discussed in order to throw some light over the right uses of it.

Methodology is the theoretical and systematic analysis of the methods applied to any study of field. It defines the methods adapted towards to researching on a particular topic and listing down the finding from it.

Here in this report, 12 quality research articles and web resources have been studied thoroughly, in order to gain knowledge on the subject matter, that is being discussed.

The advantages of using cloud storage are as follows:

  1. Cost and Maintenance: Cloud storage helps to cut back on the budget allocated for data storage. It is much cheaper than implementing any in-house hosting or storage solution. Moreover, it also takes off the burden of the maintenance cost from the respective individual or company. Large business organizations are not needed to build nad maintain huge servers for storing their data.
  2. Accessibility: As it has been thoroughly stated in the earlier sections, cloud storage allows file access from any place in the world. The data stored in the cloud is always just a click away for its respective owner. A stable internet access and the valid identity credentials facilitates remote access of the data (Cao et al 2012).
  3. Recovery: It is a known fact that if data is deleted, it may sometimes be gone forever. With the increasing digitalization of the modern society, the need to back up data is also an urgency. Cloud storage provides that facility. Even if the user accidentally deletes crucial data from his or her computer, it can easily be retrieved back if the data had been uploaded on the cloud.
  4. Synchronizing: The improved cloud servers allow their users to commit changes on several files and folders, which are then automatically synchronized on the cloud server, and are simultaneously made accessible across all devices. This facilitates the sharing and concurrent analysis of data. In cloud servers that are meant to provide for software or website based platforms, data synchronizing helps a great zeal to produce real-time updates to both, the client and the administrator.
  5. Enhanced Security: Being under the control of a hosting company who specializes in cloud services, they tend to undertake every possible measure in order to ensure security. They tend to add extra security layers and emphasize on added protocols to keep their clients data safe. This prevents the data from being lost into wrong hands.
  6. Avoid data redundancy: Typical cloud storage systems use high-end algorithms that checks for data redundancy and eradicate the older versions of modified data, by updating the contents with the recent modifications. This serves the purpose of efficient memory management.

            The general challenges to be faced on cloud storage are:

  1. Depending on Internet connection: As cloud applications can only run on the internet, the experience is heavily dependent on how stable the user’s internet connections is.
  2. Individual costing: Cloud storage service might be financially beneficial for large to small-scale business forums; however, it may prove to be a costly choice of home devices.
  3. Customer Support: Studies suggest that customer support is a weak aspect of many cloud storage service providers. They generally tend to ask their users to follow the FAQs and online forums to resolve common issues that might generate on the client side.
  4. Privacy issues: This is the most crucial challenge that cloud service have had to face since the initiation of it. As the individuals or groups have to hand in their data to Third-party storage providers, the risks of data breach arises. Certain ownership dilemmas are also seen to rise in such situations, where it is hard to determine whether it is the client or the hosting company, who shall be considered as the rightful owner of the respective data (Drago et al 2013).

The points listed above, help to observe the reasons that give rise to the debating minds in several community groups around the world. While the advantages of adapting to a cloud storage technology are vast, however, the disadvantages sometimes demean the quality of it. It certainly takes off the maintenance burden from the respective groups or individuals and lowers the storage costing for large companies. Nevertheless, it is the duty of the hosting company to ensure that the security measures are tight and of the correct standards, but however, a dilemma exists in the minds of the data owners of whether to trust them in the process. This is a crucial step that every company or individual must take before leveraging their data to the hosting service providers. To excel in their services, the hosting companies must as well upgrade their customer support facilities. However, for individuals this might be a simple option to simply backup their important files and data, keeping in mind the purchasing prices of cloud hosting services.

Conclusion

The report helps to conclude that cloud storage, since the day it was invented have had its eyes set to conquer the data storage facilities. Cloud technology also offers enormous data storage capabilities to any individual or company. This enables the ability to store boundless quantity of data and perform big data analysis. Big data is the current trend. Furthermore, the report conveys the knowledge that cloud storage is just a coherent part of the larger picture that is cloud computing, which allows more features. Finally, the discussion about the pros and cons of the technology help to observe the advantages that an individual or organization can gain through adapting to cloud storage. However, from the findings section it can be stated that the cloud service providers may try to upgrade their security services and customer support facilities, apart from legally committing to thread the ownership of the data solely to their owners.

References

Arora, R., Parashar, A. and Transforming, C.C.I., 2013. Secure user data in cloud computing using encryption algorithms. International journal of engineering research and applications, 3(4), pp.1922-1926.

Cao, N., Yu, S., Yang, Z., Lou, W. and Hou, Y.T., 2012, March. LT codes-based secure and reliable cloud storage service. In INFOCOM, 2012 Proceedings IEEE (pp. 693-701). IEEE.

Drago, I., Bocchi, E., Mellia, M., Slatman, H. and Pras, A., 2013, October. Benchmarking personal cloud storage. In Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Internet measurement conference (pp. 205-212). ACM.

Drago, I., Bocchi, E., Mellia, M., Slatman, H. and Pras, A., 2013, October. Benchmarking personal cloud storage. In Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Internet measurement conference (pp. 205-212). ACM.

Hashem, I.A.T., Yaqoob, I., Anuar, N.B., Mokhtar, S., Gani, A. and Khan, S.U., 2015. The rise of “big data” on cloud computing: Review and open research issues. Information Systems, 47, pp.98-115.

Ji, C., Li, Y., Qiu, W., Awada, U. and Li, K., 2012, December. Big data processing in cloud computing environments. In Pervasive Systems, Algorithms and Networks (ISPAN), 2012 12th International Symposium on (pp. 17-23). IEEE.

Kavis, M.J., 2014. Architecting the cloud: design decisions for cloud computing service models (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS). John Wiley & Sons.

Liu, W., 2012, April. Research on cloud computing security problem and strategy. In Consumer Electronics, Communications and Networks (CECNet), 2012 2nd International Conference on (pp. 1216-1219). IEEE.

Martini, B. and Choo, K.K.R., 2013. Cloud storage forensics: ownCloud as a case study. Digital Investigation, 10(4), pp.287-299.

Paraiso, F., Haderer, N., Merle, P., Rouvoy, R. and Seinturier, L., 2012, June. A federated multi-cloud PaaS infrastructure. In Cloud Computing (CLOUD), 2012 IEEE 5th International Conference on (pp. 392-399). IEEE.

Vibhute, M.S.R., 2017. Three Factor Data Sharing Mechanism for Cloud Storage System. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL, 2(12).

Wang, C., Chow, S.S., Wang, Q., Ren, K. and Lou, W., 2013. Privacy-preserving public auditing for secure cloud storage. IEEE transactions on computers, 62(2), pp.362-375.

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