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Block-Level Storage

Forrest Stroud
Last Updated May 24, 2021 7:36 am

Block-level storage is a type of storage commonly deployed by larger businesses and enterprises in storage area networks (SANs) and similar large-scale storage systems. Each block in a block-level storage system can be controlled as an individual hard drive, and the blocks are managed by a server operating system.

Block-level storage protocols like iSCSI, Fibre Channel and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) are utilized to make the storage blocks visible and accessible by the server-based operating system. This is in contrast with file-level storage, in which the storage drives are configured with a storage protocol like NFS or SMB/CIFS.

Block-Level Storage vs. File-Level Storage

Another key difference between block-level storage and file-level storage is that while individual files and folders can be accessed and managed by the storage system in file-level storage, these storage systems are unable to directly control the smaller storage blocks that make up the files and folders.

File-level storage is simple to implement and use, and it’s also less expensive to manage than block-level storage, which are key reasons for it being the predominant storage technology used on hard drives, network-attached storage (NAS) systems and similar storage systems.

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