How cheap can cloud object storage be?

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

There are a lot of providers offering cloud storage for businesses, they all use a REST API for access data objects. Some of them provide cheaper tiered storage for longer-term slower access storage or more redundant multi-region storage, but for a fair comparison, we will only consider their standard single region hot storage.

  • Amazon S3 — The defacto standard for cloud-based object storage. The S3 protocol being a common interface that multiple storage providers support. Using regional hot storage for comparison.
  • Microsoft Azure — Microsoft’s cloud service, relatively new to the cloud market but has a significant number of regions and datacenters. Using Hot Data Lake Storage Gen2. Azure specific protocol does not support S3.
  • Backblaze — Backblaze is highly focused on storage. The Backblaze storage service has been going for years, but their new-ish B2 service is trying to compete in the business object storage market. B2 specific protocol, not S3 compatible.
  • Brightbox — A UK based cloud provider with two UK based datacenters. Orbit is based on the OpenStack Swift storage is S3 compatible.
  • CloudWatt — A French cloud provider with two French data centres running Openstack. OpenStack Swift, S3 compatible.
  • Digital Ocean — A US cloud provider with multiple data centres across the globe. S3 compatible.
  • Google — Comparable in size to Amazon in scale and scope. Google Cloud Storage protocol with an optional S3 compatible interface.
  • GridScale — A German cloud provider, with hosting in Germany. S3 Compatible
  • IBM Cloud — A large provider that is relatively new to public cloud. Openstack Swift, S3 compatible.
  • Exoscale — A Swiss cloud provider with data centres across Europe. S3 compatible.
  • Scaleaway — A french cloud provider with hosting exclusively in their French datacenters. S3 Compatible.
$ Price per GB stored per Month

Most of the providers are around the $0.02 per GB per month mark, with a few much higher. On the lower end, we have Scaleaway, which are also a low cost compute provider and the breakaway lowest cost option of Backblaze. Backblaze is by far the lowest cost option at $0.005 per GB per month.

$ price per GB egressed

Egress charges are for data transfers from the cloud provider to the internet. There is a huge amount of variation between cloud providers for egress and the big three Amazon, Azure and Google are all quite expensive for egress charges. The cheapest option with zero egress charges is Gridscale as they don’t seem to charge for egress, but considering they charge quite a lot for the storage it may not be the most cost-effective option. For the other providers, the cheapest options are Backblaze and DigitalOcean.

It seems clear that by far the overall cheapest option for cloud storage is Backblaze. a disadvantage is that it uses its own REST API and may require some development to integrate into your processes. So depending on your use case it may not be a good option. If you need something ready to go using hot storage and S3 compatible then for a good balance of storage and egress cost Digital Ocean is a very competitive option. For tiered storage requirements with cheaper nearline, cold and deep cold storage options, Amazon S3 with glacial storage will be very cost-effective. As with any tiered storage, the effectiveness of the solution is going to be down to the management software that drives the tiering.

I've a writer, film maker, team leader and technologist. Working on the forefront of creative technology for over 20 years. https://www.openthought.com

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