With the amount of data being saved by businesses increasing year on year, it is no surprise that companies are moving away from maintaining traditional on premise servers and are investing in cloud storage solutions instead. With complete flexibility and scalability, while being safe in the knowledge that maintenance is the responsibility of the cloud owner, if offers a simple solution suitable for the future.
Competition in the Cloud Storage industry in the last decade has led to some big names entering the market, driving up innovation, suring up security and keeping down cost (which is all good news for consumers).
In this article, we will compare the biggest hitters in the field - Google Cloud Storage (GCS), Microsoft Azure Storage (Azure) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) - on cost, features and availability.
For this comparison, we will compare the data storage cost over a year for an average mailbox (26GB). Please note that there are many options that can be chosen for both solutions (which all have an effect on price) so we are using HOT options that offer relative accessibility and redundancy.
|Product||Rate||Region||Cost per GB||Cost per year|
|Google Cloud Storage||Standard||US Region||$0.026|
|Microsoft Azure Storage||HOT Blob Storage||US East (ZRS)||$0.023||~$7|
|Amazon Web Services||Amazon S3 Standard||US East (Ohio)||$0.023||~$7|
As you can see, Microsoft Azure Storage is slightly cheaper (in the review scenario) but there isn’t a big difference in price between the two.
All three products also have COOL and COLD tiers that allow you to archive information that does not need to be immediately accessed, but you may incur charges for retrieving this data early.
Please see the product calculators for more personalised estimates:
Google Cloud Storage
Microsoft Azure Storage
Configure your data with Object Lifecycle Management (OLM) to automatically transition to lower-cost storage classes when it meets the criteria you specify, such as when it reaches a certain age or when you’ve stored a newer version of the data.
Cloud Storage has an ever-growing list of worldwide locations where you can store your data with multiple automatic redundancy options. Whether you are optimizing for split-second response time, or creating a robust disaster recovery plan, customize where and how you store your data.
Storage classes determine the availability and pricing model that apply to the data you store in Cloud Storage. Tiers include Standard, Nearline, Coldline and Archive.
Sixteen nines of designed durability with geo-replication and flexibility to scale as needed.
Authentication with Azure Active Directory and role-based access control (RBAC), plus encryption at rest and advanced threat protection.
File namespace and multi-protocol access support enabling analytics workloads for data insights.
End-to-end lifecycle management, policy-based access control, and immutable (WORM) storage
Data is stored as objects within resources called “buckets”, and a single object can be up to 5 terabytes in size.
S3 features include capabilities to append metadata tags to objects, move and store data across the S3 Storage Classes, configure and enforce data access controls, secure data against unauthorized users, run big data analytics, and monitor data at the object and bucket levels.
Objects can be accessed through S3 Access Points or directly through the bucket hostname.
|Google Cloud Storage||Azure Blob Storage||Amazon S3|
|24 Regions||56 Regions||24 Regions|
|Access API||S3 Compatible|
S3 Compatible (Using a S3 proxy)
As you can see from the table above, Microsoft Azure has more data centers positioned around the globe, offering more choice, compliance and resiliency. However, AWS and Google Cloud Storage offer considerable global coverage as well, especially in North America, Europe and Asia / Australasia (with more being added regularly).
All three products offer S3 Compatible storage that allows access and management of the data it stores over a compliant interface.
Furthermore all three products offer an availability SLA of over 99%. This means that all three solutions claim to have almost constant uptime (with a downtime of less than 6 minutes per year).
Google regions (2020)
All three storage options have their advantages and disadvantages for each use case. Please visit the following links for a more in depth look at what each solution can offer.
Google Cloud Storage
Microsoft Azure Storage
Amazon Web Services
No matter which supplier you choose, cloud storage is an effective way to store data, but in particular well suited to archived user data. Read more about how you can save money by taking advantage of cloud storage for your archived user data by reading one of our other articles: Archived User Licenses vs. Cloud Storage.