As the world becomes increasingly digital, the need for efficient and secure storage solutions has become more important than ever.
The most common method used to store data right now has been through cloud storage, however, the rise of blockchain technology has brought about a new way to store and share data.
As blockchain-based systems continue to gain popularity, it’s worth exploring how they compare to the traditional cloud storage solutions that we’ve grown accustomed to.
What is the difference between cloud storage vs blockchain storage? While both are viable data storage solutions and have many similarities there are differences in security, privacy, scalability, cost, and ease of use that should be considered.
In this blog post, we’ll compare blockchain storage and cloud storage, looking at the pros and cons of each.
First, let’s start with a brief overview of each technology.
ArDrive: blockchain storage provider
What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage brought the concept into reality of storing data not on your own device(s) but on a company’s servers in a location that was far away from your residence all the while being able to access it from any location.
In other words, cloud storage is a centralized data storage system that allows users to store their data on remote servers. These servers are usually maintained by third-party companies like Google, Microsoft, or Amazon, which charge users a fee for using their services.
Users can access their data from any device connected to the internet and can easily share files with others.
It has been a powerful advance in data storage as it has brought an ease of use to personal data storage, and has created numerous business uses including applications and streaming services.
What is Blockchain Storage?
Blockchain storage is a decentralized system that uses a distributed ledger to store data.
Instead of data being stored all in one spot (or a couple) like a centralized service, it is being stored on a network of nodes all over the world.
A ledger is a digital log of all the transactions (and data) that is maintained by this network of nodes as they work together to validate old transactions and add new blocks (of data) to the chain.
Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, creating an immutable (unchangeable) record of all the transactions on the network. Users can store their data on the blockchain, and access it from any device connected to the network.
It needs to be noted that different blockchains have different uses.
For instance, some blockchains are used to verify financial transactions, which have low storage needs.
However, there are blockchains – such as Arweave, Filecoin, and Storj – that are primarily designed for data storage. These blockchains were specifically made to store all different types and sizes of files.
Now, let’s compare the two technologies based on several factors.
Comparing Blockchain vs Cloud Computing Benefits
When it comes to security, blockchain storage has a clear advantage over cloud storage. Blockchain networks are designed to be tamper-proof, with each transaction validated by the network’s nodes. This makes it nearly impossible for anyone to alter or delete data stored on the blockchain without being detected.
In contrast, cloud storage relies on centralized servers that can be vulnerable to hacking or data breaches. Although cloud storage providers take measures to secure their servers, they are still susceptible to attacks.
Privacy is another area where blockchain storage has an advantage. With blockchain, users can store their data without revealing their identity. Transactions on the blockchain are anonymous, and users can encrypt their data so that only authorized parties can access it.
Within the blockchain world the authorized access to data falls on the responsibility of the user and not the blockchain. Your access to your accounts happen through ‘keys’ that you will be asked to manage versus a managed password system that you are used to from a cloud provider.
Cloud storage, on the other hand, requires users to reveal their identity and personal information to the provider. This raises concerns about data privacy and security, especially when it comes to sensitive information.
For instance a cloud storage company will say that they do not look at someone’s data, and they may not, but it is easily within their power to do so. It basically comes down to taking their word for it.
Scalability is an important factor for any storage solution, and both blockchain and cloud storage have their strengths and weaknesses in this regard.
Blockchain storage is designed to be highly scalable, with the ability to handle large amounts of data and transactions. This is because the blockchain network is distributed, with many nodes working together to process transactions. However, blockchain storage can be slower than cloud storage due to the time required to validate transactions and add them to the chain.
There have been scalability issues within the blockchain world, and much work is being done to solve this problem.
Cloud storage, on the other hand, is designed for high-speed data processing and is highly scalable. Cloud storage providers can easily add more servers to their network to handle increased demand, making it a good option for businesses that need to store and process large amounts of data quickly.
Cost is always a consideration when it comes to storage solutions, and the cost of blockchain storage and cloud storage can vary significantly. Blockchain storage is often more expensive than cloud storage due to the complexity of the technology and the cost of running nodes on the network. With that being said, blockchain storage prices have been decreasing over time and that trend looks to continue.
However, blockchain storage can offer cost savings in the long run due to its security and immutability, which can reduce the risk of data breaches and tampering.
Cloud storage, on the other hand, can be relatively inexpensive, with providers offering a range of pricing plans to suit different needs. However, the cost can quickly add up as the amount of data stored and processed increases.
Pricing within cloud storage is often not transparent, and for both business and individuals it is usually more expensive than advertised.
5) Ease of Use
Finally, ease of use is an important factor to consider when comparing blockchain storage and cloud storage.
Cloud storage is often easier to use, with providers offering user-friendly interfaces and easy-to-use apps for accessing and sharing data.
Many of the companies that provide cloud storage such as Dropbox and One Drive have a large lead in the development of their products and user experiences, and the newer blockchain technologies have a long runway to catch up.
As the years pass, look for the blockchain storage applications to be feature agnostic (basically, have all the same capabilities) and the user experience to keep on getting better.
So which type of storage is best for you?
The decision will likely come down to the exact use case that you need it for.
For instance, are you saving a file that is for an immediate use and doesn’t have much long-term value then cloud computing is the way to go.
However, if you are saving some photos that you plan on keeping for decades then blockchain makes a lot of sense.
The most likely scenario at the moment is that people and businesses will start using a combination of both of these services, much like we get our food from a number of different stores.
As blockchain becomes more mature as a product more data storage will shift to it, but cloud storage will still maintain a good share of the market.