Cloud Storage Re-Defined — Alibaba Cloud OSS (Part 1)

By Shantanu Kaushik

Cloud computing has redefined the way data works. The processing and delivery of data have been revolutionized over time by implementing different algorithms and assessments based on real-life challenges.

In this ever-changing industry, data storage needs have also changed considerably. It is not only about data as text, but it is also about data request-to-delivery of image and video, among others. Alibaba Cloud developed the Object Storage Service (OSS) to offer a reliable, secure, and cost-effective solution.

The Object Storage Service (OSS) has default support for Rest APIs. This enables users to store and access data from practically anywhere without using the console associated with OSS. On top of that, Alibaba Cloud guarantees 99.9999999999 % durability and 99.995% availability in the first year of operation.

How It Works

The Object Storage Service was built for large data operations, such as storage and delivery. It has been modeled to work with API Gateway (API operations) and SDKs right out of the box. Objects have been well defined within the OSS framework to support different types of storage needs. If you need to migrate your storage to and from Alibaba Cloud, the OSS migration tool has been designed to work for almost every scenario.

The Object Storage Service can be easily managed using the web-based console. You can use the console to fully control your storage deployment scenarios. Alternatively, you can manage the Object Storage Service using REST APIs and software development kits using various programming languages.

  • OSS Buckets

The container that is used to store data within the OSS is called a bucket. Every object within the OSS is stored in a bucket and allows different attributes to be associated with different objects. Various types of buckets can be created to store data, depending on the storage class and requirements. Some of the attributes are region, ACL, and storage class.

  • Storage Class

Different storage classes are assigned to different objects or different types. As an example, let’s take up the Object Storage Service (OSS) IA storage class. This storage class is suitable to store long-lived data, but the access frequency of this data should average to once or twice per month. Similarly, the Object Storage Service Archive Storage is suitable for long-term and infrequently accessed data. On the contrary, the standard storage class provides high-performance, reliable, and highly available object storage services with support for frequent data access.

  • Object

Objects are files stored within the OSS. Object has its own metadata, key, and data. The metadata of an object defines the attributes associated with an object, its size, its creation, and modification time. The key of an object is the unique name of the particular object in a bucket.

  • Region and Endpoints

While deploying using the Object Storage Service, you can choose which data center you wish to use. In the case of multi-region deployment, regions are the physical location of the data center you select to work with or the data center that is used to cater to a specific region.

The endpoint is the domain name used to access the Object Storage Service (OSS). Different regions may have different endpoints that are used for external services provided by the OSS using HTTP REST APIs.

  • AccessKey Pair

AccessKey pair is a combination of AccessKey ID and AccessKey Secret. It is used for identity verification and encryption services within the Object Storage Service. The AccessKey ID is used to identify a user and the AccessKey Secret is used for encrypting a signature string.

  • E-MapReduce

Built with the industry-leading Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS), E-MapReduce is a big data processing system based on Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark that is primarily used for data analysis and processing.

  • Content Delivery Network

Alibaba Cloud CDN stores the content as a cache and delivers it on-demand. Alibaba Cloud CDN stores the cached version on different edge nodes that are located in different regions for faster content delivery.

  • Image Processing (IMG)

As the name suggests, IMG is a service that can be used to format, convert, crop, resize, and perform various other image processing operations on images stored with the Object Storage Service.

  • ApsaraVideo for Media Processing

ApsaraVideo is an intelligent media processing service that can process audio and video files into a number of formats to support different devices and platforms. It uses multi-model analysis based on large amounts of data.

Tools | OSS

  • OSS-Emulator

Based on Ruby, the OSS-Emulator is a very lightweight emulator used for testing and debugging. It simulates the OSS environment and provides support for the same APIs OSS.

  • OSS-Import

It can be used to migrate TB-grade data volumes. It supports distributed deployment and can leverage multiple servers for simultaneous data migration. As the name suggests, you can import data to the OSS using this tool from any third-party source.

  • RAM Policy Editor

This automated tool can be used to generate permission policies for different OSS modules. These permissions include Identity and Access related policies that can be added as custom policies in Resource and Access Management (RAM).


The Object Storage Service makes use of this tool to attach a bucket to the local FS (File System.) You can use OSSFS to perform access and share operations with the objects. It also supports the partial upload functionality for large objects with MD5 verification for data integrity.

  • OSSbrowser

The OSSbrowser provides a graphical object management functionality. Using this tool, you can easily navigate and browse objects. You can also use this tool to upload and download objects with the resume functionality. Like other OSS tools, the OSSbrowser tool can be configured with RAM to create authorization policies and permission handling.

Wrapping Up

The Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS) is a secure, available, and highly reliable storage platform that can be customized for your needs. The strong product line-up from Alibaba Cloud backs the OSS to make it a strong contender for any cloud storage needs.

  • Benefits of Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service
  • Features and different scenarios of OSS
  1. Cloud Storage Re-Defined — Object Storage Service — Part 2
  2. Best Practices for Migration using Alibaba OSS

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Alibaba Cloud

Follow me to keep abreast with the latest technology news, industry insights, and developer trends. Alibaba Cloud website: