Cloud file storage is a data storage method that delivers data remotely to servers and applications through file-sharing systems. Mostly used for unstructured and semi-structured data types, cloud file storage allows for access to files with streamlined integration into apps.
Companies with workloads that rely heavily on sharing files between users and offices can use cloud file storage to sync files, such as documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, instantly and automatically.
See below to learn all about the global cloud file storage market:
Cloud file storage market
The cloud file storage market is a segment of the global cloud storage market, which was valued at $70.19 billion in 2021. The market, and all its segments, is expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24% during the forecast period from 2022 to 2029, reaching $376.37 billion.
Globally, the cloud storage market is driven by a handful of regions:
- North America had the largest market share in 2020 with 41.10% and a value over $25 billion
- The cloud storage market segment in China was valued at an estimated $19.45 billion in 2020 and is expected to rise to $67.64 billion by 2024
- The Asia-Pacific region had the second-largest market in 2020 at 28.25% and a value of $43.14 billion
By industry vertical, the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector accounted for 32.13% of the cloud storage demand in 2020.
Other industries driving demand for cloud storage services include:
- Retail and consumer goods
- Health care
- Life sciences
- Media and entertainment
Overall, consumption of cloud products grew by 37% in the first quarter of 2020, according to PWC.
“The cloud’s distributed nature is a natural fit and will be the hero in a future landscape that features survivors and victims,” says Emil Sayegh, president and CEO of Ntirety to Forbes.
“Businesses using the cloud effectively will benefit the most by quickly leveraging the ability to create resilient and disaster-averse systems anywhere around the world, protecting data and business application integrity, as well as support an increasingly remote workforce.”
Cloud file storage features
Cloud file storage offers persistent, fast, and flexible file storage that can be integrated with apps and user devices for easy and swift file sharing and access. With a hierarchical storage system, users can create, delete, move, read, write, and modify files, keeping them organized and secure.
Cloud-based file storage offers a variety of features that make it suitable for storing files that are accessed from numerous locations and influenced by multiple users with varying degrees of access permissions.
Some cloud file storage features include:
File storage clouds keep anywhere from a few to an indefinite number of versions of the same file for a set period of time. This allows users to write over and modify existing files without fear of losing the original copy.
Cloud file storage services retain deleted files for a set period of time. File retention saves companies from the possible issues of wrongly deleted files.
The structure of cloud file storage environments is designed with simultaneous access in mind. They ensure high availability and durability of the files while accessed, reducing the rate of failure and loss.
At-rest data encryption
The provider of cloud file storage is responsible for encrypting the data at rest, without compromising the performance or accessibility of files.
Flexible expandable storage volumes
Cloud file storage solutions often follow a pay-per-use pricing model that enables end users to expand the storage volume dynamically, depending on their workload requirements.
Snapshot replication of files promotes business continuity by enabling users to capture point-in-time snapshots of files, creating an identical replica either on the same storage or moving it to other data centers.
Benefits of cloud file storage
Cloud file storage allows companies to store files separately at remote locations, owned and managed by third-party cloud service providers.
While the benefits vary depending on applications of the cloud storage, they allow remote workers to access and share files with coworkers and keep files up-to-date. Other benefits of cloud file storage include:
- On-demand scalability
- Cost-effective with a pay-per-use pricing model
- Eliminating the need for in-house maintenance
- Outsourcing data security and privacy requirements
- Automatic file syncing
Cloud file storage use cases
Cloud file storage solutions are increasing as more companies shift toward remote and flexible work models.
The following case studies show how organizations in different industries are using cloud file storage solutions:
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private research university based in Pasadena, California.
The university’s IT personnel support the institution’s 300 faculty and administrator’s technical needs. The university also hosts over 200 public-facing apps and high-performance computing environments.
Using Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), Caltech moved their applications to the AWS cloud. By moving from on-premises to the cloud, the university was able to scale up to meet the increasing demand for their services.
“With Amazon EFS and Amazon ECS, we’re aggregating CPUs across a handful of CPU instances. That removes the capacity and scalability problems we had before, and we no longer have any limits on what we can do,” says Dan Caballero, senior systems administrator, Caltech.
“Relying on Amazon EFS and Amazon ECS, we can decouple our storage from our application containers, so we can scale dynamically and make containers disposable.”
Caltech was able to set up new application environments in two hours instead of two days and reduce the number of systems from 500 to 150.
Jenzabar is a provider of higher education software solutions for universities, colleges, and learning institutions worldwide. Founded in 1998, Jenzabar supports over 1,300 campuses with cloud-based student-centric learning management systems.
Jenzabar’s clients are evolving to meet the growing expectations of their students. The company must keep up with their clients’ growing expectations when supplying them with cloud-based systems to replace on-premises infrastructure.
Using IBM Cloud File Storage and IBM Cloud Infrastructure, Jenzabar transformed their SaaS solution. IBM enabled them to compete with the effectiveness and cost of universities’ on-premises solutions.
“The IBM methodology, delivery system, the client interface, the ability to scale — all those things that were essential to making IBM Cloud our first choice have remained in place,” says Gus Ortiz, managed services program manager, Jenzabar.
“By selecting IBM Cloud compute, storage, and network infrastructure, we have opened up a wealth of opportunity for streamlining our business, creating additional service options for clients, and for generating additional revenue streams through new service offerings. We are excited to see where the future will take us.”
With IBM solutions, Jenzabar made their business model more secure and scalable, helping clients avoid the costs and time of on-premises deployments.
PUMA is a German multinational corporation that designs and manufactures athletic footwear and apparel.
PUMA needed to improve connectivity with their offices around the globe. Using multiple Microsoft Azure solutions, such as Azure Files and Azure Virtual WAN, the company was able to propel their digital transformation.
“Now we have one Azure file storage account that we sync across the globe to keep everyone collaborating easily. Everyone works together easily,” says Sebastian Lilienthal, senior IT cloud architect, PUMA.
“It’s super easy, super smart, and there isn’t much to consider, because the routing is already in place. We just connect a virtual network with two clicks in the portal.”
With Microsoft Azure, PUMA reduced latency for all locations and achieved worldwide file syncing.
Cloud file storage providers
Some of the leading cloud file storage providers include:
- Google Cloud