Amazon’s Simple Storage Service Isn’t so Simple

Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan
Senior Vice President, Product

Amazon may want to come up with a new name for their Simple Storage Service.  As it turns out, selecting the right S3 storage plan and forecasting your monthly expenses is anything but simple.  Amazon offers a range of S3 storage classes for different use cases.  But figuring out the best storage class for your particular application, and projecting your recurring S3 costs can be a challenge.  With so many choices and pricing variables, it is nearly impossible to make a well-informed decision or accurately budget expenses.

Not so Simple Storage Classes

Amazon claims to offer three different S3 storage classes to satisfy different requirements:  General Purpose, Infrequent Access and Archive.  But when you delve into the details, they actually sell five different storage plans, each with distinct performance and availability characteristics, and pricing structures:

  • Amazon S3 Standard – a general-purpose object storage service for frequently accessed data. 
  • Amazon S3 Standard-Infrequent Access – a lower-cost storage service for less frequently accessed data.
  • Amazon S3 One-Zone Infrequent Access – a discounted, lower-cost storage service for less frequently accessed data– with lower availability commitments.
  • Amazon Glacier – a long-term data archival service for rarely accessed data.
  • Amazon S3 Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS) – S3 Standard with lower data durability commitments.

Choosing the right option can be a daunting proposition.

Not so Simple Pricing

Amazon’s pricing is complicated to say the least.  S3 pricing is usage-based and includes a storage component and an access component.  You pay a monthly per GB storage fee, which varies per storage class and across Amazon S3 regions.  And you pay additional access fees to move data in and out of S3.

Storage Pricing

Amazon S3 monthly storage fees are based on:

  • Baseline storage fees – per GB storage fees based.   Each storage class (S3 Standard, S3 Standard-Infrequent Access, S3 One-Zone Infrequent Access, Amazon Glacier and S3 RRS) is covered by a different pricing scheme.  S3 Standard is covered by a tiered pricing model.  (Amazon charges a fixed per GB fee for the first 50 TB of data, a slightly lower per GB fee for the next 450 TB of data, and a slightly lower per GB fee for over 500 TB of data.)  Other storage classes are covered by flat-rate, usage-based models.
  • Location where data is stored – Amazon pricing varies from region to region.

Access Pricing

Amazon charges separately for:

  • Data request fees – separate transactional fees for accessing cloud storage via API calls (PUT, COPY, GET, POST, LIST, etc.)
  • Data transfer fees – separate, individual fees for transferring data:
    • From S3 to other Amazon sites.
    • From S3 to the internet.
  • Transfer acceleration fees – separate, individual fees to accelerate performance when transferring data:
    • From the internet into S3.
    • From S3 to other Amazon sites.
    • From S3 to the internet.
  • Amazon Glacier requests – separate Glacier lifecycle transition request fees.

Wasabi is Simply a Better Choice

As you might expect, many S3 customers have a difficult time managing expenses.  Surprise bills are fairly common. When you factor in all the added access fees, the total monthly cost is often much higher than anticipated.

At Wasabi, we believe cloud storage should be truly simple and truly affordable.  And we put our money where our mouth is.  We offer one product—with straightforward, predictable and economical pricing—that satisfies virtually every cloud storage requirement.  With Wasabi you won’t have to try to make sense of confusing storage classes.  And you won’t have to worry about surprise data request fees and transfer charges. Wasabi hot cloud storage costs only $.0059 per GB/month ($5.99 per TB/month), with no fees for egress or API requests.

Wasabi is significantly easier to understand and significantly less expensive than S3.  As our detailed pricing example shows, you can pay over $3,500/month to store 100 TB of data on Amazon S3 Standard compared to just $599/month with Wasabi.   We believe Wasabi is simply a better choice.

Want to learn more? Read more about Wasabi’s simple, usage-based pricing. And try our cost calculator to see how much you can save with Wasabi hot cloud storage.

Jim Donovan
Written By

Jim Donovan

Senior Vice President, Product