Structured vs. Unstructured Storage

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All of Nfina Storage and Hyperconverged data storage systems support structured and unstructured data types. So, what is the difference?

– Structured Data Storage organizes data in a database. Examples of structured data storage include relational, object, and distributed databases.

– Unstructured Data Storage is a way of storing data without any specific structure. Examples of unstructured data storage include images, text, audio, and video files.


All data in the computer word is digital (ones and zeros). There are two fundamental types of data: Structured and Unstructured. There are references to a third sub-class category in the literature (semi-structured) that is just a combination of both structured and unstructured.

According to IDC®, the total volume of data created, captured, and consumed by 2024 will exceed 149 zettabytes, and most of it (upwards of 80%) will be unstructured.

Structured Data

Like it sounds, structured data is defined and stored in a uniform structure. Examples are DBMS (Database Management System) and RDBMS (Relational Database Management System). Examples of applications that utilize structured data are ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), MRP (Material Resource Planning), and SQL/ MYSQL. For instance, Microsoft® Excel™ accesses stores structured days in definable rows and columns.

Structured data is human-readable. It consists of alphanumeric text in an organized way to convey meaning by its location in the database. Typical information includes Vendor name, part number, addresses, zip codes, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.

The main drawback of structured data is that it is structured. That means the data must rigidly adhere to the pre-determined locations within the database. That makes the data inflexible.

Also, as these databases grow, the performance degrades for the query/search and access of data. That’s why this structured data type lends itself to high-performance flash (SSD & NVMe w/ cache) storage to offset the overhead in accessing and processing the data within the structure.

Structured data is inherently more secure because it can be password protected.

Unstructured Data

All data that is not structured is unstructured. Meaning it is not organized in a rigidly defined way with a schema. Examples of this data include text files, Social Media, Websites, Audio, Video, pictures, email, etc.

In some cases, there is structure around the data (i.e., The Metadata prefix to an MP3 Video file specifying the resolution, encoding, and Frames per Second) but the data itself is binary and is not in a human-readable format.

Most of the data collected at the Edge is unstructured.

Data Security

Data protection and privacy are paramount to any company and individual consumers. Cyber attacks are now commonplace, and ensuring that the data is protected and recoverable (if all else fails) becomes one of the primary responsibilities of the IT organization. Threats to data security can also include short or long-term disasters or other disruptions, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, explosions, terrorism, tornadoes, extended power interruptions, hazardous chemical spills, and other natural or man made disasters.

There is also a need to restrict access to data because of regulations and compliance standards. You can perform this by passwords and permissions, but it can be very challenging.

Immutable snapshots take a recoverable image of your current IT Ecosystem at a particular instant in time. Immutable snapshots are read-only (unchangeable) – providing air-gap quality functionality to disaster recovery plans to stop ransomware intruders from moving or deleting snapshots. Hence, customers know they can restore clean copies of data anytime.

In addition to protecting against malicious Ransomware data corruption, having an immutable backup helps you conform to regulatory data-compliance requirements—ensuring the retention of accurate copies of data.


Both structured and unstructured data types are fully supported by all of Nfina’s Storage and Hyperconverged solutions.

Nfina is a US provider of Data Protection Services including; Edge, Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, Compute, Storage, HCI, IaaS, STaaS, HaaS, and DRaaS.

Nfina now has a new Edge-Optimized solution developed to streamline cost effectiveness, provide high availability (HA) compute and storage with a reduced footprint, and has a highly efficient plug-and-play offering for Disaster Recovery, Hybrid Cloud, and IaaS.


[5]  OCI®

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