The cloud ecosystem is now gigantic, it goes from low-level machines to fully managed services. But still, a significant part of cloud usage comes from Instances, also called virtual machines. And instances users have plenty to choose from within our cloud ecosystem: you can choose based on your GPU needs, or have fun with different numbers of cores, size of RAM, local storage, and bandwidth.
Today, let’s zoom in on storage.
What is Block Storage?
Block storage is a way to store data with volumes acting as individual hard drives. In this model, data is saved to the storage media in fixed-sized blocks. Each of them has a unique address assigned. Block Storage enables a more efficient and flexible way to support workloads, as block storages volumes are treated as individual hard disks.
All the machines you get from Scaleway come with storage space for your data. Historically, our Stardusts, dev, GP and GPU instances came with an irreducible amount of Local Storage that you had to use. So booting was only possible on Local Storage, and you had to consume it when you might not need it.
So starting with ENT1, we choose to go on block-only mode - so you'll enjoy all the block storage benefits by default. We are also expanding the boot-on-block usage to all of our instance types so you will be able to scale up and down horizontally or vertically.
Install your OS on a remote Block Storage volume
The boot-on-block feature allows to use a Block Storage volume as a root device for your Instances, the same way you'll use an usb flash drive. Boot-on-block is available on all types of Instances across our regions including: Stardust, DEV1, GP1, ENT1, and GPU RENDER.
Reduce Local Storage to zero
Boot-on-block comes with the “Loose Constraint" feature to reduce the size of Local Storage that was compulsory until now down to 0 (zero). This helps you use only Block Storage (without Local Storage).
When creating an Instance, you can choose to not add any Local Storage. When using an existing Instance, after a properly validated backup, you can remove all Local Storage volumes.
Please note that from now on, Local Storage is an option only available for what we prefer you to consider as temporary storage. We advise you to choose the more flexible and secure option: Block Storage.
What will change for my Block Storage?
Increase resilience when things go wrong
As we all know, eventually problems occur. This is when you want to avoid relying only on Local Storage, being temporary by design. In addition, all Block Storage data benefits from triple replication on three different servers in an Availability Zone. This is why using Block Storage volumes by default is a best practice for data resiliency.
Scale vertically and horizontally
Block Storage is easily plugged and unplugged between different Instances, so you can easily scale vertically and horizontally. We might even add another handy feature soon, but don’t tell anyone.
Limit idle resources
Stop guessing your capacity needs, just scale up your Block Storage when your needs increase, and fine-tune your consumption and billing.
How can I use flexible storage?
Flexible storage is available on all Instances. Go to your console, or create your account here to add new secure volumes in less than one minute. All the technical details are on our documentation website, for instance our tutorial to create your first volume.