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Understanding Cloud Native Storage

What is Cloud Native Storage?

Cloud native is a new paradigm for developing and operating software applications, including technology trends like cloud computing, containerization, serverless, and microservices. Cloud-native storage is a storage technology designed for use in a cloud-native environment.

A cloud-native storage platform provides data management for stateful applications, and provides solutions to ongoing data storage challenges in cloud-native environments based on Kubernetes or other cloud native infrastructure. Object storage solutions can be based on modern object storage technology, block storage, or traditional disk drives in a distributed architecture.

Most cloud-native storage solutions mimic the nature of cloud-native tools and environments as described by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). These features include scalability, high availability, vendor neutrality, security, resiliency, manageability, observability, declarative deployment and API-based automation.

In this article, you will learn:

Cloud-Native Storage: Key Characteristics

The key characteristics that define cloud native storage are availability, scalability, consistency, durability, and dynamic deployment.


Cloud native storage must be highly available. Storage system availability is the ability to access data in the event of a failure—whether in the storage medium, transmission system, controller, or any other component. There are three elements to storage availability:

Availability can be measured using several metrics:


Cloud native storage must be easily scalable. The scalability of a storage system can be defined in four dimensions:

Related content: read our guide to distributed storage

Storage Performance

Cloud native storage should support predictable, scalable performance and service levels. Storage system performance is typically measured from one or more of the following perspectives:


Cloud native storage should support consistency as follows:

In an eventually consistent system, the read delay can be considered as a recovery point objective (RPO), because it represents the maximal amount of data loss in case of component failure.


Cloud native storage should be durable, meaning it protects data against loss. Durability goes beyond accessibility—it describes the system’s ability to ensure the data remains stored for a long period of time. The following factors affect the durability of a storage system:

Dynamic Deployment

The final desired criterion in cloud native storage systems is the ability to deploy or provision them easily on demand. Storage systems can be deployed or instantiated in a variety of ways, including:

Common Cloud-Native Storage Solution Models

Here are the most common models under which cloud native storage is consumed.

Public Cloud Storage

Public clouds provide a range of cloud native storage options, including object storage (such as Amazon S3 and Azure Blob Storage), cloud-based file shares (such as Amazon EFS or Azure Files), and managed disks attached to compute instances (such as Amazon EBS and Azure Managed Disks).

Commercial Cloud Storage

When organizations build private clouds, they often turn to commercial cloud storage services that can provide high data reliability, easily scalability and convenience. Many of these services offer post-production support, and operations and maintenance (O&M) services. As the demand for cloud-native storage grows, private cloud infrastructure vendors offer more mature cloud-native interfaces that allow on-premise resources to consume cloud storage.

Self-Maintained Storage Services

There are two main types of storage services companies can build in-house: block storage and simple file storage. For block storage, Ceph RBD and storage area networks (SANs) are considered relatively mature solutions. However, due to their complexity, they often require a specialized support and maintenance team.

Services like NFS, GlusterFS, and CephFS provide file storage services for companies that decide to create their own distributed storage systems. Although NFS is relatively mature, it is usually insufficient to address high-performance application requirements. GlusterFS and CephFS are often unable to meet performance and reliability needed for mission-critical applications.

A new trend in on-premises cloud native storage is S3 compatible storage—local storage devices that support the S3 API, and provide similar capabilities to elastic cloud services such as Amazon S3.

Local Storage

In cloud native applications, there are many use cases in which it doesn’t make sense to use a distributed storage service. Here are two common cases in which edge devices or components in a cloud native system use local storage:


Object Storage in the Cloud

Object Storage Deployment

On-Premise Cloud Native Storage with Cloudian

Cloudian HyperStore is an on-prem, enterprise storage solution that uses a fully distributed architecture to eliminate single points of failure, and enable easily scalability from hundreds of Terabytes to Exabytes. It is cloud native and fully compatible with the Amazon S3 API.

The HyperStore software implementation builds on three or more distributed nodes, allowing you to replicate your objects for high availability. It lets you add as many storage devices as needed, and the additional devices automatically join an elastic storage pool.

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