Pay as you play Cloud Storage about to get cheaper

Thu, 4th April 2013, 20:43

Pay as you play cloud storage provider Amazon Web Services has cut the cost of getting data out of its storage service, putting pressure on rivals Google Cloud Storage and Microsoft Windows Azure. Request pricing for S3 Storage GET operations across the company's nine globe-spanning data center hubs has been reduced by 60 per cent, and prices for PUT, LIST, COPY, and POST requests have been cut by 50 percent.

Announcing the change on the Amazon Web Services website, the company wrote: 

We are happy to pass along these savings to you as we continue to drive down our costs. New pricing is effective April 1st and will be applied to your bill for all requests on or after this date. PUT requests now cost $0.005 per 1,000, compared with $0.01 previously, and GET requests have fallen fro $0.004 per 1,000 from $0.01.  

Comparison of Data Storage Pricing 

  • Amazon Web ServicesChart showing Storage cost using Amazon Web Services S3 cloud storage 

Although the image show US standard pricing from Amazon, Ireland (EU), and Singapore (Asia) pricing is equal to the USA. Further information with a region-by-region breakdown is available on Amazon's pricing page 

  • Windows Azure Cloud StorageChart showing Storage cost using Microsoft Azure cloud storage 
  • Google Storage PricingChart showing Storage cost using Google cloud storage 

For the moment anyway it appears that Google Cloud Storage Data Storage is cheaper than both Amazon or Windows Azure.  

Comparision of Network Transfer Prices 

  • Amazon Web ServicesChart showing network transfer costs using Amazon Web Services cloud storage 

Amazon's EU pricing appear similar to US pricing shown. Asian pricing structure is higher 

  • Windows AzureChart showing network transfer costs using Microsoft Azure cloud storage 

Microsoft Azure considers North America and Europe as Zone one.. Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are Zone two. 

  • Google Cloud StorageChart showing network transfer cost using Google cloud storage

Comparision of Cost when 'Getting' or 'Putting' that Data

As noted earlier, Amazon Web Services has lowered the PUT request costs to $0.005 per 1,000, and GET requests have fallen fro $0.004 per 1,000.

Google PUT and GET requests are still priced at $0.01 per 1000. Further information on pricing is available on Google Cloud Storage pricing page. 

Microsoft Azure is slightly more confusing in their language:

Service Bus is charged at the following rates: 

  • $0.01 per 10,000 messages
  • $0.10 per 100 relay hours (this only applies when using the Service Bus Relay capability) 

Messages are charged based on the number of messages sent to, or delivered by, the Service Bus during the billing month. This includes delivery of “null” messages in response to receive requests against empty queues/subscriptions. Messages over 64KB in size will be charged an additional message for each additional 64KB of data (rounded up).

There is no relay hour charge if you are only using Service Bus Queues and Topics.In addition to the prices noted above for Service Bus, you will also be charged for the associated data transfers for egress outside the data center in which your services are provisioned... Microsoft Azure Pricing. 

Windows Azure does appear to be the winner in this category.


The Free Trials

Many people prefer set monthly fees and are wary of the unknown and potential impact inherent with usage based rate structures... but just in case your curious...

AWS Free Usage Tier

Amazon Web Services lets you start with Amazon S3 for free. Upon sign-up, new AWS customers receive for one year... 

  • 5 GB of Amazon S3 standard storage
  • 20,000 Get Requests
  • 2,000 Put Requests
  • 15GB of data transfer out each month 

Windows Azure offers 90 days free and includes: 

  • 70 GB Storage
  • 50,000,000 storage transactions
  • unlimited inbound transfer
  • 25GB outbound transfer


Google Cloud Storage offers a free trial quota until June 30, 2013. This quota is only applicable to your first project that uses Google Cloud Storage and gives you free usage of resources within that project, up to: 

  • 5 GB of storage
  • 25 GB of download data (20 GB to Americas and EMEA*; 5 GB to Asia-Pacific)
  • 25 GB of upload data (20 GB to Americas and EMEA*; 5 GB to Asia-Pacific)
  • 12,000 class A operations
  • 60,000 class B operations 

Regardless of which is the best deal, Amazon's pricing cuts will likely yield a wave of tit-for-tat price reductions across the cloud storage service sector!