Are you paying too much for cloud storage?
January 8th, 2022

Many businesses pay more than they need to for data storage, especially when moving data between public and private clouds. Here’s how to take back control.

Enterprises are increasingly turning to cloud storage as a way to reduce the heavy cost burden of on-premises data centers. By storing data online, organizations can greatly reduce the costs of maintenance and hardware upgrades. Moreover, cloud solutions allow them to access data from any device in any location, which has proven essential in the era of remote work.

As data storage technology continues to advance and the cloud storage landscape becomes ever more competitive, the cost per gigabyte is constantly dropping. However, this is frequently offset by the fact that organizations are generating more and more data every year. There is also a persistent risk of vendor lock-in, whereby it can become prohibitively expensive to move your data to another provider or to a private cloud. Different performance and availability tiers also have a direct impact on costs. For example, it typically costs far less to keep data archived in the cloud than it does to store it in a readily available system. Costs may also vary depending on the region where the data is stored — even if it is still within the same country.

Let’s take Amazon Web Services’ S3 cloud storage as an example. Storing data in the London region under the S3 Standard tier costs $0.024 per gigabyte for the first 50 terabytes, $0.023 per gigabyte for the next 450 terabytes, and $0.022 per gigabyte for data over the 500 terabyte limit. The cost per gigabyte falls by around 40% for data in the Infrequent Access tier and to just $0.0018 per gigabyte for the Glacier Deep Archive tier.

Microsoft Azure has a similar pricing structure, which spans four service tiers and three data tiers. In the West US 2 region, for example, their Premium tier costs $0.15 per gigabyte, while the Archive tier costs only $0.00099 per gigabyte.

Implementing a solution for automatically archiving old and unused data is vital for staying in control of storage costs. However, even archiving costs can get out of control once you start reaching the petabyte scale — which is increasingly likely among today’s larger enterprises.

It is also important to remember that the actual storage of data is not the only cost associated with cloud storage. It also costs money to move data around and complete other operations. These include write operations and data egress fees. Deletion operations are usually free with most vendors.

Storage operation costs can increase dramatically when working with huge numbers of small files. For example, the costs of moving a handful of huge files is typically negligible, even when their total size spans dozens of terabytes. However, if you’re moving millions of small files, the number of read and write operations increases dramatically, as do the costs.

Data egress fees are those you pay to retrieve data from your cloud storage, transfer it out of the region, or transfer it to another vendor or proprietary data center. Egress fees may also be charged for taking data out of archival tiers. Unsurprisingly, inbound data transfers are usually free. However, transferring data out of a Microsoft Azure data center costs $0.087 per gigabyte for the West US 2 region, with costs dropping after 10 TB. Fortunately, for organizations with automated storage tier transfers and carefully executed data retention policies should find that egress costs are negligible.

When it comes to regaining control over the costs of cloud storage, things become significantly more complex for organizations using multiple cloud vendors and internal data centers. In this case, it is helpful to have a cloud storage connector that offers a single pane of glass into your entire data storage infrastructure. That way, you can more accurately determine the long-term costs of cloud storage over many months and years.

Decentralized Web 3.0 storage solutions, such as IPFS, Arweave, and Filecoin, are also set to shake things up in the coming years. With these solutions, businesses can achieve better redundancy and enjoy greater control over their data and the costs of storing it. While solutions like Filecoin are open markets that anyone can participate in, storage costs still tend to be far lower than with conventional cloud storage. Other services, such as Tardigrade, have a set price of $55 per month for 1 TB, which makes it easier to budget for.

Mineral is a storage connector that centralizes and optimizes your cloud storage solutions to match your unique workflow requirements. Sign up for our early access program today to find out how it works.

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