This year at Re:Invent, Amazon announced two more tiers of object storage. \u00a0Now they have: six!\r\n\r\n \tS3 Standard\r\n \tS3 Intelligent-Tiering\r\n \tS3 Standard-IA\r\n \tS3 One Zone-IA\r\n \tS3 Glacier\r\n \tS3 Glacier Deep Archive\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nAdd to this decisions about what regions you choose to use (different pricing depending on the location), the features you use, the number of API calls, and of course the much-despised egress fees, and you have a bewildering matrix of storage tier options. \u00a0Thank you, Amazon, for even more choice, but are more choices what we really need?\r\n\r\nAt last year\u2019s Gartner Conference, a storage analyst told the audience that if they are going to be moving their storage to the cloud, they should be prepared to have a full-time headcount dedicated to determining what data goes in what tier of storage. They suggested a $250,000 per year budget for this position.\r\n\r\nTo underscore how complicated everything has become with cloud storage, a cottage industry of consultants has sprung up promising to save customers money by optimizing the use of different tiers. In fact, you can now get a PhD in Cloud Economics from institutions like the University of Bristol.\r\n\r\nIn my opinion, more choice may seem like a good idea because in theory you can buy exactly what you think you need, but in fact too many choices leads to paralysis because you don\u2019t want to end up making the wrong choices.\r\nThe \u2018Jam Experiment\u2019\r\nThe famous \u201cJam Experiment\u201d shows the danger in too many choices.\r\n\r\nIn 2000, Psychologists Iyengar, Jiang and Huberman hypothesized that we are more motivated when we see lots of options because we believe that our chances of finding the right one for us are increased. They set up two tasting tables for exotic jams at a grocery store in California. \u00a0One table had 24 different jams, the other only 6.\r\n\r\nAs the saying goes, the difference between theory and practice, is in theory, they\u2019re the same, but in practice, they aren\u2019t.\r\n\r\nWhat they found was that the display with 24 jams was approached 150% more frequently than the display with only six jams. On the surface, that seems that more choices do in fact increase sales.\r\n\r\nHowever, when they considered the number of purchases made they discovered that 30% of people purchased from the \u2018six-jam display\u2019 while only 3% purchased from the \u201924-jam\u2019 display.\r\n\r\nToo many choices creates paralysis. Full stop.\r\n\r\nS3 users I\u2019ve talked to are always worrying about whether they are storing their data in the \u201ccorrect\u201d tier. Of course the problem with that is those choices are completely independent of the data itself, and the value of that data changes over time.\r\n\r\nIn practice, you are either overpaying or underpaying to store your data when you have too many choices.\r\n\r\nA partial antidote to this challenge is what AWS calls their new \u201cintelligent tiering\u201d tier, which tries to move data to the \u201cmost cost-effective tier\u201d based on when it was last accessed. At best, you get a delayed financial savings compared to the more expensive tier your data started life on, but it probably still isn\u2019t truly \u201cthe right tier.\u201d\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s a better way to address this.\r\nWhy Not Have \u201cOne-size-fits-all\u201d Cloud Storage?\r\nIt\u2019s pretty well known in the industry that most of Amazon\u2019s storage tiers are actually the same product under the hood. \u00a0Just as car companies like GM and Ford build a many brands of cars ranging from luxury to economy on the same chassis, with cloud storage the data for all these tiers ends up on the same disks.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s a lot more profitable for GM to sell a Cadillac than to sell a Chevy, so it has to protect the high margin products by making sure that the Chevy doesn\u2019t compete on all the \u201cextras.\u201d But GM has had to eliminate a number of major brands over the last 25 years because the distinctions grew too fine and customers, instead of feeling like they could choose what\u2019s just right for them, ended up going elsewhere because they were too afraid of buying the wrong thing.\r\n\r\nWasabi\u2019s approach is different. \u00a0We have one class of storage.\r\n\r\nIt happens to be cheaper than Amazon\u2019s cheapest storage, Glacier, and faster than their fastest storage, S3 Standard. \u00a0So there\u2019s no need for tiers.\r\n\r\nWe believe that cloud storage should be a commodity like electricity or bandwidth.\r\n\r\nWith the exception of edge cases like super-fast (and super-expensive) storage, one-size should fit all. And this isn\u2019t a matter of compromising - it\u2019s about where you should be putting your focus, and frankly, where we should be putting ours.\r\n\r\nThe benefits for the user are enormous.\r\n\r\nYou don\u2019t need yet more software to help you figure out optimum tiering strategies. \u00a0You don\u2019t need to hire that guy that Gartner says you\u2019re going to need. You don\u2019t need consultants. \u00a0You don\u2019t need to write your software so that it is aware of storage tiers.\r\n\r\nYou just plug in to Wasabi\u2019s cloud and start storing.\r\nTiers are Bad Enough - What Else is Blowing Up Your Bill?\r\nAnother aspect of Amazon\u2019s complexity is all the extra charges that appear on your bill. \u00a0Yes, you are charged for the amount of storage you use, but you also have egress\/bandwidth fees for any data you take out of Amazon\u2019s walled garden. \u00a0And you have charges for http operations like PUT, GET, LIST, etc.\r\n\r\nThere at 39 separate line items on Amazon\u2019s \u201cSimple Monthly S3 Calculator.\u201d\r\n\r\nWasabi has one.\r\n\r\nNo wonder people get surprised by their Amazon bill. \u00a0That\u2019s why there are so many consultants around to help you figure out what you\u2019re likely to be spending.\r\nOur Focus Simplifies Your Life\r\nAs an entrepreneur, I like simple. \u00a0I like to spend my time thinking about the bigger issue of what my business is about and why people should care.\r\n\r\nIf I\u2019m buried in detail, I don\u2019t have time to think about the big picture and really add value to my organization, and to you, our customer.\r\n\r\nI like services that make my life simple, whether it\u2019s ordering goods online, choosing a vehicle (or just using Lyft), an all-you-eat cell phone plan, etc.\r\n\r\nIn my last company, Carbonite, we introduced the idea of unlimited backup for a flat price because we found that people hated not knowing how much their backups were going to cost.\r\n\r\nNobody seems to know what their Amazon bill is going to be month-to-month, and I can tell you that your CFO does not like radically unpredictable costs. It\u2019s bad business.\r\n\r\nWhile IT organizations know roughly how much data they have, generally nobody has a clue how often they access it or how many disk operations they use.\r\n\r\nSimple, predictable pricing will always win. \u00a0Nobody likes to run over budget.\r\n\r\nNo tiers = no tears.