Alibaba Cloud: Object Storage Service (OSS)

With availability of IPv6, high internet bandwidth, smart devices and the booming iOT eco-system there is need for storing huge amounts of data in different forms like Video, Audio and text on cloud. Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS) is solution for such a requirement.

All the features that you would expect from such a service are present for this specific service. Like:

  1. RESTful API – Available
  2. Durability – 99.999999999%
  3. Availability – 99.99%
  4. SDK – Available
  5. Authentication & Authorization
  6. Image Processing
  7. CDN Integration
  8. Unlimited size and number

For the data that you feel that would not be accessed frequently can be easily moved to Infrequent Access (IA) or Archive storage class. This is a low-cost solution for backup and archiving of this infrequently accessed data.

When we talk about Audio and Video data – one thing that comes immediately to mind is streaming. Yes that is supported by OSS very well. This enables a smooth user experience when dealing with large audio video files. And also helps in keeping your applications responsive.

Not only that but you can also manage the lifecycle of the objects. It enables you to either delete the data that is considered expired as per the OSS lifecycle policies. In case you feel that data might be required later for auditing purpose or some other analysis, the life cycle management allows you to transition the data to Infrequent Access (IA) with the same ease.

Let’s talk a bit more about the few of features listed above. Notably the Authentication & Authorization, RESTful and Image Processing. In my opinion these three features when combined together can solve some huge problems easily.

RESTFul – By using a stateless protocol and standard operations, REST systems aim for fast performance, reliability, and the ability to grow, by re-using components that can be managed and updated without affecting the system as a whole, even while it is running.

Image Processing – Supports format conversion, generation of thumbnails. Operations like cropping, watermarks and scaling. It has support for a wide variety of formats like jpg, png, bmp, gif, and tiff.

Authentication & Authorization – it supports features like – STS, URL, whitelist, antileeching, and RAM account.

Before you get started right away with the development using Alibaba OSS – there is a very important point that you should consider in your app design. This is something that we missed and required quite a bit of reengineering later on.

Direct Data Transfer for the mobile apps to the Alibaba OSS with all the authentication – without having to go through the Application server is a huge advantage.

What this does is that while maintaining the high level of security in the application it allows to circumvent the load on the application server. And this results in huge cost savings as the load is born by the Alibaba OSS easily. It is a win-win situation for Enterprise Apps. We will discuss this feature along with how the same facility is allowed for Web based applications in a later article.

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