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AWS celebrates 15th anniversary and announces grim milestone for storage customers

March 15th marked the 15th anniversary of AWS cloud services. In a tone-deaf act of self-congratulation, AWS also announced that it has reached the milestone of storing 100 trillion objects. In his AWS blog announcing the news, AWS Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Jeff Barr, went on to state “… and regularly peaks at tens of millions requests per second.” Left out of the announcement is the millions of dollars that AWS pocketed charging its customers for the API requests associated with the trillions of objects it stores and the “tens of millions of requests per second”. 

To store an object in AWS, customers pay an API PUT charge. To list stored objects, customers pay an API LIST charge. To return an object from the AWS cloud, customers pay for an API GET request. Every action in the AWS cloud has a charge associated with it. These charges look low on paper, as low as $0.005 per 1,000 S3 API PUT requests, but they can add up, and AWS knows this. Using S3 API PUT request charges for example (other tiers such as Infrequent Access, Glacier, Deep Archive have API PUT costs 3x to 10x more expensive than S3), these fraction of a penny charges have added up to over $500 million dollars. That’s an average of over $33 million dollars per year in API PUT request costs. 

That is 100,000,000,000,000 x $0.005 / 1,000 / 15-yrs

And that’s just for API PUTs. It’s impossible to calculate the additional millions in revenue generated from the other types of API requests.

The whole pricing scheme reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies, the 1999 Mike Judge classic, Office Space. In it, the main characters design a computer application that diverts fractions of pennies into their own bank account. They believe that the transactions are so small that people won’t notice or care but the sheer number of them will accrue a substantial amount of money over time. The software application actually generates $300,000 in only a few days, which is far more conspicuous.

Obviously, AWS isn’t up to the same kind of illegal penny shaving shenanigans as the Office Space protagonists, but the outcome is the same. Make the transaction charges so ridiculously small that customers don’t notice, don’t care, or can’t figure out how to calculate them. Then do this for all of your hundreds of thousands of customers and trillions of objects, and kick back and watch your coffers overflow as time goes by. Did AWS come up with this pricing architecture themselves or was a decision maker a fan of Office Space too? We’ll probably never know. 

Some customers shrug and accept the AWS API charges. Many are annoyed by being “nickel and dimed”. Others are probably looking back over the years of doing business with AWS and wondering how much of their capital was slowly bled from them. Regardless, in the past, you had no choice but to accept API request charges. That was the cost of doing business with mega-cloud service providers like AWS.

AWS will continue to be one of the biggest players in the cloud services game, and we realize that moving away from AWS products and services may not seem like it’s an option for every business situation. Nonetheless, unlike the early days of cloud storage, there are other options that allow customers to avoid inflated AWS storage pricing, or any outdated cloud pricing models.

Wasabi offers simplified cloud storage services with no additional cost for API requests, data retrieval, egress charges or the other half dozen hidden charges that AWS “nickel and dimes” their customers with.  

Wasabi hot cloud storage is significantly less expensive and markedly faster than AWS S3, meaning it can be universally applied to any storage use case such as active archiving, backup, disaster recovery, storage for a custom application (active data), and more.

With Wasabi, switching to a more cost-effective cloud storage setup is quick and easy, and it allows you to immediately reduce costs. And, perhaps most importantly, it will help you simplify your cloud storage budgeting with intuitive pricing.

AWS introduced cloud storage to the world 15 years ago. Wasabi made it simple, predictable and affordable. While it was a big idea when it made its debut, Wasabi made it MAKE SENSE in today’s Cloud-driven world.

Oh yeah, Happy Birthday AWS.

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