Google announced the launch of Google Cloud Storage Nearline, a new service for cold (or infrequently accessed) data storage. The company touts its fast performance and low cost. Data is made immediately available with about 3-second response times, and the cost is 1c per GB for data at rest.
The service is for data in which you're willing to pay less for "slightly lower" availability and "slightly higher" latency. Businesses may wish to use it for data that's stored specifically for legal or regulatory reasons, for example.
"Cold storage and disaster recovery are both considered 'backup' or 'archival' storage scenarios. In both scenarios, data is accessed infrequently after initially being written, and data reads do not require the same extremely high availability and low latency as online serving scenarios. In this way, the scenarios are very similar," Google says. "However, cold storage and disaster recovery also differ in a very important way. In a disaster recovery scenario, when you need to read the archived data, you likely need to read all of it, and you need to read it quickly so you’re back up and running as quickly as possible."
Cold storage, on the other hand, is basically an archive of data you might need at some point.
For security purposes, Nearline includes redundant storage at multiple physical locations, as well as OAuth and granular access controls. It's fully integrated with other Google Cloud Storage services, so access is consistent across products. Data manipulation behavior also remains consistent, so you won't have to adopt any new programing models.
"The amount of data being produced around the world is staggering and continues to grow at an exponential rate," says product manager Avtandil Garakanidze. "Given this growing volume of data, its critical that you store it in the right way – keeping frequently accessed data easily accessible, keeping cold data available when needed, and being able to move easily between the two. Organizations can no longer afford to throw data away, as it’s critical to conducting analysis and gaining market intelligence. But they also can’t afford to overpay for growing volumes of storage."
Google compares online data storage solutions to Nearline and traditional cold storage offerings:
Nearline is enabled at the bucket level, during bucket creation. When you create a Nearline bucket, all bucket and object operations are the same as with the standard storage class, according to Google. New objects are stored with the Nearline configuration, and billing for said objects will reflect the lower prices.
You can change a bucket from Nearline Storage to another class, but be aware of the costs associated with retrieval costs for accessing the data and early deletion. You can get all the pricing details here.
After you create a bucket, you'll want to verify it in the Developer Console as Nearline. Then, the bucket's data can always be accessed the same way as that of a standard bucket.
"The same APIs, tools, and UI that are used for Standard Storage are also used for Nearline Storage including the XML API and JSON API, the command-line gsutil tool, the Google Developers Console, and the client libraries," Google says.
Google is working with Veritas/Symantec, NetApp, Iron Mountain, and Geminare to make adoption of the product easier for businesses.
"With Google Cloud Storage Nearline, you can now benefit from a very low-cost, highly-durable storage that can be used to store limitless amounts of data and have access to that data at any time," says Garakanidze. "Our primary focus is to help you bring new use cases to life, and this is why we’ve worked with some of the leading backup and storage providers and are focused on growing this ecosystem. We look forward to seeing the great, innovative ways you’ll use this distinctive new storage option.
Nearline is in beta, and isn't covered by any SLA or deprecation policy. Google notes that it may be subject to backward-compatible changes.
For more on Nearline, Google has a white paper available here.
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