Cloud storage prices keep dropping – Comparing Amazon, Google and Rackspace

Hard drive vs cloudAmazon has just announced another decrease for their standard cloud storage customers. This is their fifth in five years and it reinforces the attractiveness of using the cloud to store an organization’s data.

Amazon says in their announcement “With this price change, all Amazon S3 standard storage customers will see a significant reduction in their storage costs. For instance, if you store 50 TB (terrabytes) of data on average you will see a 12% reduction in your storage costs, and if you store 500 TB of data on average you will see a 13.5% reduction in your storage costs.will see a significant reduction in their storage costs.”

That sounds good, but it’s important to dig in a little. A terrabyte (TB) is 1024 gigabytes (GB), which is 1024 megabytes (MB). New laptops are now delivered with 1 TB disks. In very round numbers, a TB of storage will hold about 200,000 high-resolution photos, 100,000 large Power Point presentations, 250,000 songs or 350 HD movies. While data storage needs are growing rapidly in all organizations, most small to medium size organizations will not need anywhere near 50 TB, even if they move all of their data into the cloud.

So how do Amazon’s prices compare with the two other big providers, Rackspace and Google, for typical amounts of data? Here’s a table of monthly storage costs constructed using the current published prices:

Company –– 1TB (1,024 GB) –– 10TB (10,240 GB) –– 50TB (51,200 GB)

For small amounts of data, the differences are not large and remain close for the normal storage needs of many small to medium sized organizations. As the amount of data stored increases, Google compares favorably with Amazon, and is in fact slightly lower at 50 TB. Prices for Rackspace increase faster as the amount of data stored increases and are well above Google and Amazon at the 50 TB mark.

Price is not the only consideration when considering the use of cloud-based file storage, but it’s an important one. Amazon’s announcement will put pressure on the other providers to come down as well and continue to increase the attractiveness of storing data securely offsite where it can be accessed by and used by anyone who needs it.

The sources are: Google cloud storage pricing, Rackspace pricing calculator and Amazon web services blog.

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