How Much Does Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Storage Really Cost?

September 13, 2022By Drew Schlussel

Of all the classes I recall from my days at the University of Southern California (Go Trojans!) I still fondly remember my Economics 101 class and learning the qualifier ceteris paribus, “all other things being equal,” as the precursor to discussing shifts in the supply and demand curves. I rarely hear it today, except when I say it to my team, and they look at me [over Zoom] and wonder why I’m speaking in tongues. Regardless of the frequency of the phrase’s use, it is a critical concept, usually simplified as “comparing apples to apples,” and one that needs to be consistently applied to cloud services, like storage…

Of all the hyperscalers we butt heads with, Azure is the most annoying to me. Their tiering structure is simpler and easier to compare with our single-tier approach, especially when other services are rolled into the offer. All that ends today. Through extensive analysis and simulation (I used Excel, how ironic), I present the mathematical proof that storing data in Azure is a complete “bait and switch.”

Let’s define a few variables and set the scenario…

Azure cold tier storage is priced at $15.56 per TB using “Pay as you go,” so right out of the chute; you’d be paying 2.6x more than Wasabi.

screenshot of Microsoft Azure storage account set up

It gets worse for Azure blob storage users… much worse.

Let’s say your dataset is 5TB (5,120GB/5,242,880MB) with a weekly rate of change of roughly 3%, already uploaded to the cloud. Without making this too complicated, let’s assume your dataset isn’t growing, just changing. At a 3% weekly rate of change, that’s 154GB (157,286MB) of new data written weekly. At 1MB per object, that’s 157,286 WRITE operations per week, costing you $82/year just for Write transaction costs and $24/year in upload costs.

Wait, there’s more! Let’s also assume that there are a reasonable number of API requests (LIST, CreateContainer, and READ operations), adding another $27 per year. Let’s assume you want to check the integrity of our cloud copies, so you download the dataset 4x a year, which adds another $61/year in download fees.

The costs for Azure keep piling up…

table showing azure cloud storage costs being way higher than wasabi

Storing a 5TB dataset for a year with Azure will cost $1128 compared to $359/year for Wasabi.

That’s a savings of $769 per year, showing how Azure costs 3x more than Wasabi due to the baseline storage cost per terabyte and all of the API/operation fees. These fees seem benign, but they add up quickly, even if you can maintain a regular dataset size.

This is not an exercise in creating and spreading FUD. This reasonably conservative estimation exposes the truth about egress and API fees when using Azure. The number of API operations is probably underestimated and does not even begin to reflect the impact of using immutability for your backups. Wasabi doesn’t charge additional API fees for using Object Lock for data immutability. If you’ve got more than 5TB of data (perhaps you’re backing up some Microsoft 365 data) to protect against ransomware using immutability, get your line of credit squared away with the bank because you’re going to be spending a LOT more than $94/month with Azure.

Factor in the fact that Azure’s offering is a “cool” tier, also known as “lower response time, lower overall performance,” and you probably should at least consider taking Wasabi for a test drive (1TB free for 30 days) to see how you can avoid taking out a second mortgage to afford your storage needs. On top of all that, if you need help migrating your data from Azure to Wasabi, we have a solution for that as well.

Back to Econ 101. As you can see from my estimations, all things are not equal regarding cloud storage. Price, performance, and protection are just some critical differences between Wasabi and Azure (as well as Google, AWS, et al.) for backing up your data. There is no doubt that data is growing, and the demand for cloud storage is increasing with it. There is doubt about who has the most affordable, performant, and secure cloud object storage – Wasabi. Check it out; you’ll like what you see.

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