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Requests Prices in Azure, Google and AWS Compared

Requests Prices in Azure, Google and AWS Compared

Besides data volume charge, using cloud storage you pay for data transfer and operation requests. In this post, we will consider these fees for the most popular cloud storage systems: Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

Table of Contents

    Based on the required access frequency, all data is subdivided into 3 categories (tiers): hot, cool and cold, which is explained in our article with top cloud storage providers pricing comparison. The storage tier defines the price for data transfer, so let’s check all of them.

    Each user’s data access activity consists of two parts with respective fees:

    • Data transfer is charged for every GB downloaded from the cloud or moved to another cloud facility. Transfer within one cloud region and upload is usually free.
    • Requests are data operations within storage, e.g. copying data or adding new objects. As a rule, all requests are paid except commands for data deletion.

    Cloud providers usually charge for 1,000 and 10,000 request packs. The pack size depends on the request cost. For example, PUT requests are resource demanding, so they are more expensive and are usually distributed by 1,000 packs.

    In reality, each data transfer needs at least one request for each object in the cloud, so it’s an integral storage bill part.

    Comparison of Requests and Data Transfer Prices in Azure, Google and AWS

    Hot Data

    All standard cloud storage facilities are designed as hot tier storage. That means that a user can frequently upload, download and restructure files. For backup, hot data means working documents and recent backups. In practice, backup data is moved to a cooler tier after a few months upon creation.

    Now let’s consider offerings and prices*. In the comparison below, the monthly transfer volume is 5TB and the cloud region is the US:

    Data Transfer (per GB)
    OperationAmazon S3 StandardGoogle Cloud StandardMicrosoft Azure Blob Hot tier
    Download$0.09$0.11-$0.22**$0.087-0.181***
    UploadFreeFreeFree
    Transfer within one cloud regionFreeFreeFree
    Transfer to another cloud region$0.02$0.01-0.11*$0.087-0.2***

    *Depends on if the region is out of the multi-regional location, e.g. the US.
    **Download to China costs $0.22 and to Australia – $0.18.
    ***Depends on the source datacenter.

    We chose 10,000 requests as an example for requests pricing comparison. Each download/upload iteration requires one request per object. So, if you upload 100 files and download 300 files daily, 10,000 packages will last for 25 days.

    Requests (per 10,000)
    Request TypeGeneral PurposeAmazon S3 Standard PriceGoogle Cloud Standard PriceMicrosoft Azure Blob Hot tier Price
    GET (GET, etc.)Data retrieval$0.004$0.004*$0.004
    PUT (PUT, COPY, POST, etc.)Data upload and object management within a cloud$0.05$0.10$0.05-$0.01
    Other (LIST, HEAD, etc.)Metadata retrieval, communication, authentication, etc.$0.004-$0.05*$0.05*$0.004-0.5*
    DeleteData deletionFree

    *Prices vary depending on the request

    The more data you transfer, the cheaper one GB is. For instance, if your download exceeds 10TB, Amazon charges next 30TB within the current month for $0.085 per GB which is $0.005 less. It works exactly like the storage volume discount, which we mentioned in our comparison of cloud storage for backup.

    Another concern is the distance, as some cloud providers increase the fee if you download data from particular regions. On the Microsoft Azure data transfer pricing page, you can see that it’s twice more expensive to retrieve from Brazil. But the best way to accelerate the transfer speed is to choose a datacenter close to prospective users, even if the cost will increase.

    Cool Data

    Cool storage is intended for data which is rarely required but may suddenly become crucial. These are disaster recovery data, backups, outdated sync data and files with a long retention cycle.

    The storage cost is lower for cold data, but it has extra data operation fees:

    • Requests may be more expensive.
    • There is data retrieval charge for every GB of downloaded data. It’s an additional service fee charged besides data transfer.
    • Early deletion fee is another expenditure item. If you remove files before the minimum storing period is up, you will have to pay for every remaining day.
      Let’s take Google Nearline with 30 days storing period as an example. If you store 1,000GB on day 1 and then remove it on day 15, the fee will be:

      • $0.01 * 1,000 GB * 15/30 = $5 for storage from day 1 to 15,
      • $0.01 * 1,000 GB * 15/30 = $5 for 15 days of early deletion from day 16 to 30, $10 in total.

    Note: object overwriting is considered as early deletion too.

    Let’s check offerings. In the comparison below we took the price* for the monthly transfer volume equal to 5TB and the cloud region is the US:
    *Actual prices as of August 28, 2017.

    Data Transfer (per GB)
    OperationAmazon S3 Infrequent AccessGoogle NearlineMicrosoft Azure Blob Cool tier
    Download$0.09$0.11-$0.22**$0.087-0.181***
    UploadFreeFree$0.005
    Retrieval$0.01$0.01$0.01
    Storage Period30 days30 days 30 days
    Early Deletion$0.0125 per day$0.01 per day $0.1 per GB and lower
    Transfer within one cloud regionFreeFreeFree
    Transfer to another cloud region$0.02$0.01-0.11*$0.02

    *Depends on if the region is out of the multi-regional location, e.g. the US.
    **Download to China costs $0.22 and to Australia – $0.18.
    ***Depends on the source datacenter.

    Requests (per 10,000)
    Request TypeGeneral PurposeAmazon S3 Infrequent Access PriceGoogle Nearline PriceMicrosoft Azure Blob Cool tier Price
    GET (GET, etc.)Data retrieval$0.01$0.01-0.10*$0.01-0.10*
    PUT (PUT, COPY, POST, etc.)Data upload and object management within a cloud$0.1$0.10$0.10
    Other (LIST, HEAD, etc.)Metadata retrieval, communication, authentication, etc.$0.01*$0.01-0.1*$0.01-0.1*
    DeleteData deletionFree**

    *Prices vary depending on the request
    **Free if there is no early deletion charge

    As you can see, the major cool data concern is planning. If you access data too often, the request cost will be inadmissibly high, and cool storage price advantages disappear.

    Cold Data

    Cold storage is a facility for inactive data, which is unlikely to be accessed more than once a year. This is the best solution for large old backup archives.

    Nevertheless, there are some additional nuances compared to cool data storage:

    • There may be a delay between the request and the actual data access. As a rule, it is about 3-5 hours.
    • The minimum storage period is 90 days.
    • Requests are more expensive for cold storage within one cloud system.

    Learn the best practices around cold storage in the following whitepaper:

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    Let’s have a look at exact offerings. In this comparison below, we took the price* for the monthly transfer volume equal to 5TB, and the cloud region is the US.
    *Actual prices as of September 3, 2016.

     

    Data Transfer (per GB)
    OperationAmazon GlacierGoogle Coldline Microsoft Azure Archive
    Download$0.09$0.11-$0.22* N/A
    UploadFreeFreeN/A
    Retrieval5 GB per month free, then $0.01 $0.05N/A
    Storage Period90 days90 daysN/A
     Access Delay3-5 hoursMillisecondsUp to 15 hours
    Early Deletion$0.021 per day$0.007 per dayN/A
    Transfer within one cloud regionFreeFreeN/A
    Transfer to another cloud region$0.02$0.01-0.11*N/A

    *Prices vary depending on the request

     

    Requests (per 10,000)
    Request TypeGeneral PurposeAmazon Glacier PriceGoogle Coldline Price Microsoft Azure Blob Archive tier
    GET (GET, RETRIEVAL, etc.)Data retrieval$0.5$0.01-0.05*N/A
    PUT (UPLOAD, PUT, COPY, POST, etc.)Data upload and object management within a cloud$0.5$0.10N/A
    Other (LISTVAULTS, LIST, HEAD, etc.)Metadata retrieval, communication, authentication, etc.Free$0.01-0.05*N/A
    DeleteData deletionFree*Free*N/A

    *Prices vary depending on the request

    **Free if there is no early deletion charge

    If you want to benefit from cold storage, make sure that you use it just in case of an emergency. Early deletion and any operations are more expensive than cool storage ones, and the access delay period doesn’t fit for crucial data.

    Conclusion

    Even though prices may change, the billing model remains the same:

    • If you often use data in the cloud, requests are cheap.
    • Infrequent access cool storage facilities have the minimum storage period with a penalty fee for early deletion.
    • Cold and cool archive storage also has a retrieval charge.
    • Data relocation within one cloud region is free. Transfers within a cloud system are cheaper than outbound download.
    • The cost of data transfer to particular countries can be considerably higher.

    Almost all cloud providers have a free-tier limit that allows testing the system before making a decision. If you need a cloud backup solution, check out MSP360 Backup that supports more than 20 cloud storage providers and has a 15-day free trial.

    Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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    Which Is Best for Backup: Amazon S3 vs Microsoft Azure Blob vs Google Cloud Storage
    • Get acquainted with terminology, storage and pricing principles of AWS, Azure and Google Cloud
    • Define the features you need for backup
    • Compare prices for all storage classes of these solutions