Object and Block Storage: How They Differ?

by | 05.06.2021 | Comparisons

The difference between block and file storage makes heads spin due to the complexity of definitions and technical jargon across the internet. Even a technical person sometimes forgets the business value and makes decision fatigue their best friend when trying to figure out the value proposition of one over the other.

In this post, we would go through the difference and simplify things so that you know which bookmark to click whenever you’re stuck.

Let’s start!

What is Block Storage?

Block storage is the most basic and oldest type of data storage. Data is stored in fixed-sized chunks known as — you guessed it — ‘blocks’ in block storage.

A block often only contains a fraction of the data. The application uses SCSI calls to determine the correct address of the blocks and then organizes them to construct the entire file. Because the data is fragmented, the address is the sole way to identify a block; there is no metadata connected with blocks. When the application and storage are close together, this structure results in quicker performance, but it can cause additional latency when they are apart.

If you want examples: ISCSI, SAN, and local disc are the most common types of block storage. 

Advantages of Block Storage

Lowest Possible Latency

Block storage provides with lowest possible latency due to high performance.

Highly Redundant

Block storage has high redundancy (Redundancy in cloud architecture ensures that any individual failure has a fallback within the architecture). All of the blocks contain their own address by which the data can be called up.

High Speed

Block storage has a very high speed compared to other storage systems.

High Performance

Block storage has very high performance due to the high number of IOPS and the low latency it provides.

Decoupled Data

Block storage allows data to be spread around multiple environments because of the decoupling of data from user environments.

Disadvantages of Block Storage

  • Storage is linked to a single server at a time.
  • You must pay for all block storage space allocated to you, even if you are not utilizing it.
  • Only an active server (VM in cloud) can provide access to block storage by establishing a file system and then you’re immediately ready to access it.

What is Object Storage?

Object storage is a storage module that resorts to data storage by taking a piece of data and designating it as an object.

Metadata drives object storage. In an object storage system, the data are kept in separate storehouses instead of files and folder. The data are associated with metadata and a unique identifier to form a storage pool.

Advantages of Object Storage

Greater Data Analytics

Data analytics is done vigorously in object storage as metadata drives it. As a result of this, classification of every piece of data is possible, leading to a greater opportunity for analysis.


Infinite scalability is one of the most critical advantages of object storage. We can keep on storing data without a limit and easily accessible through HTTP requests.

Fast Data Retrieval

Categorization of data and absence of folder hierarchy makes us faster retrieval of data in object storage.

Optimization of Resources

As the filing hierarchy is absent in object storage and as the metadata is completely customizable, fewer limitations are present in object storage than block storage.

Low Cost

Object storage is scale-out in nature due to which all of the data are stored at a very low cost.

Disadvantages of Object Storage

  • Excessive latency when compared to block storage
  • Because Object Storage does not permit the alteration of a specific data blob, each object must be read and written in its entirety, which may cause performance concerns.
  • An object store cannot be mounted in the same way that a conventional disc can.

How Object and Block Storage Differ?

From the advantages and disadvantages of both object storage and block storage, we can clearly see that both of the storage modules differ a lot.

Object and Block storage
Comparison table: block, and object storage Source: OpenIO


The main difference that will catch everyone’s eye is that object storage is very inexpensive compared to block storage. As scalability is not an issue in object storage, customers can store a humongous amount of data without a problem. Popular cloud storage platforms like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform use object storage as their storage module.

For object storage, let’s use Amazon S3 as an example. It saves the object in a resource known as “buckets.” Another case in point is the Azure Blob storage. For users that need to store a large amount of unstructured data on the cloud.

In the cloud, there is also a block storage option. As an example, consider AWS Elastic Block Storage (EBS). They also offer raw storage to which you may connect your EC2 instance. When you connect the EC2 instance to your storage, it establishes a file system and is immediately ready to access it. Premium Storage in Microsoft Azure provides high performance, low latency disc running on Azure virtual machines with up to 32TB of storage.


Object storage uses metadata, but block storage uses the file hierarchy system. The use of metadata facilitates object storage a lot, and due to it, greater classification of every piece of data is possible. Web application giants like Facebook and Spotify use object storage to store photos and other rich media. Data centres also use object storage to store the same types of data as it ensures high availability and reliability.

Block Storage Vs object Storage
Block Storage Vs object Storage Source: Druva

Data Manipulation

In block storage, we can edit a part of a file, while in object storage, we can’t do that. In object storage, the whole object is considered a unit. As a result, it can be viewed, updated, and rewritten as an entire object, which can negatively affect performance depending on the object’s size.


Object Storage can’t be accessed without a running operating system, whereas block storage can do it by trading in the option of connecting as a traditional disk.


Also, we can see that block storage requires a lot of maintenance, like remapping volumes and others, while object storage requires none.

How are Object and Block Storage used?

The usage of object storage and block storage is very different. If we look at some of the prime use cases of block storage, we can find that it is an ideal match for databases as they require consistent I/O performance and low-latency connectivity. Also, block storage can be used for RAID volumes where multiple disks are combined and organized through mirroring.

An application requiring server-side processing will require block storage. Many on the list are Java, PHP, .Net, etc. Also, running mission-critical applications like Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SAP, etc., uses block storage.

On the other hand, object storage is used in delivering rich media. It is used to define workflows for managing unstructured data by leveraging industry-leading solutions. It manages distributed content and also helps in optimizing the value of our data throughout its lifecycle and as a result of which helps in delivering competitive storage services.

Another important usage of object storage is found in IoT (Internet of Things) and machine learning. It helps in the efficient managing of machine-to-machine data. It is again used for intelligent analytics, and because of which it helps in compressing the cost and time of the design process.

Value Proposition of Block Storage vs Object Storage

Object storage comes in handy if you have loads of data and traffic incoming (particularly several TBs) or want to store a backup as it saves a lot of your money by very cost-efficient.

For a mid-market level, you can always use block storage as most of your data will be stored in databases, and because of the low quantity of data, the file hierarchy system will not be a problem. Both object storage and block storage have unique advantages and disadvantages. So, you have to choose one fully on your needs.

Personally for me, I will prefer object storage because of the infinite scalability and the cost-efficiency.

Final Thoughts

With the end of this post, I hope you won’t be needing to drown in the spiral maze of thoughts while choosing object storage and block storage. Feel free to scroll down to read some superb posts and if you want them delivered to you into your mailbox directly, subscribing to our newsletter is the way.

Happy Learning!

Join the Community

The DevOps Awareness Program

Subscribe to the newsletter

Join 100+ cloud native ethusiasts


Join the community Slack

Discuss all things Kubernetes, DevOps and Cloud Native

More stories from our blog

Linkerd: Looming on Service Meshes

Linkerd: Looming on Service Meshes

Microservices and service meshes have become a staple of the industry as companies realize the full potential of creating an independent architecture that allows for easier scale up, agile development, resilience and streamlined deployment. Many of these applications...

What’s new in Flux v0.17.0?

What’s new in Flux v0.17.0?

Flux2 came with its new update a while ago, and it is sheer exciting for the users because it brought a lot of new features. It also made a lot of new enhancements and updates. We will take a look at the entire catalogue in this article. So, without further a due,...

What’s new in Portainer v2.7.0 BE?

What’s new in Portainer v2.7.0 BE?

A few days ago, Portainer Business Edition came up with their new update. It is quite a massive update with many new features, bug fixes, enhancements and much more. In this article, we will see all of those in a nutshell. Let's start What is Portainer? Portainer is...

DVC (Git For Data): A Complete Intro

DVC (Git For Data): A Complete Intro

As a data scientist or ML engineer, have you ever faced the inconvenience of experimenting with the model? When we train the model, the model file is generated. Now, if you want to experiment with some different parameters or data, generally people rename the existing...

Recap of the Cloud Native Meetup Saar #3

Recap of the Cloud Native Meetup Saar #3

We are looking back on a very successful third edition of our Cloud Native Meetup Saar #3! Togetherer with our co-host anynines, we enjoyed a fun afternoon filled with great speakers, intriguing topics and thoughtful conversations! We welcomed a total of three...

Portainer Ambassador Series ft. Fabian Peter

Portainer Ambassador Series ft. Fabian Peter

Portainer arranged a fun and informative discussion through a one-hour special named “Ambassador Series” on 1st July 2021. It was pretty amazing to see Savannah Peterson as the host and two other guests. One is our very own CEO of p3r.one, Fabian Peter and the other...

What’s new in Longhorn v1.2.0?

What’s new in Longhorn v1.2.0?

Longhorn came with their new update. It is full of surprises. We will peel off one by one to see all the latest updates, features, bug fixes and much more. This one is a much-awaited update, and we will see all of it in a moment. So, without further a due, let's...

Kubernetes Stateful Friend: What’s more to etcd?

Kubernetes Stateful Friend: What’s more to etcd?

The Kubernetes control plane consists of various components, and one of such components is etcd. Anyone starting to learn k8s come across it and memorizes quickly that it’s a key-value pair for Kubernetes with persistence store. But, what’s more to it? Why do we need...

What’s New in Flux 1.24.0?

What’s New in Flux 1.24.0?

Flux 1.24 is out this month with couple of updates and Important notices. Let’s get around what are the updates in the new release. But, first, let’s do a quick intro on Flux. What is Flux? Flux is a tool that checks to see if the status of a cluster matches the git...

Event Driven Architecture Demystified (For Pros)

Event Driven Architecture Demystified (For Pros)

Event-Driven Architecture or EDA is talked about with pride inside any organization. But, through last few months, I have noticed a trend that the definition of EDA is not consistent across people and organizations. It’s vague. EDA is something where you have events...

Interested in what we do? Looking for help? Wanna talk about software strategy?