Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge

Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge

Summary: If you're using a ton of S3 space, your bill's going down next month. Even if you're not using a ton of space, your bill is probably going down. Can't beat that with a stick.

TOPICS: CXO, Amazon, Hardware, Storage

I have often written about how innovative Amazon is as a company. It's probably the online company I respect the most, from its amazingly valuable (to my family, anyway) Prime service to its works-on-all-devices Kindle format.

I haven't really talked much about one area where Amazon innovates, its S3 online storage service. S3 is a service that essentially virtualizes storage and then makes it accessible through an API. As a result, S3 is a cloud storage "device" that can (and has been) baked into many applications as an alternative to storing things locally.

The thing is, S3 is also quite inexpensive. Certainly, as you scale up into the holy-cowabyte level, it gets costly, but for many of us, the amount Amazon charges us for this service is astonishingly low.

For example, one of the servers I back up (it's got a couple of gigabytes or so) cost me all of $0.11 last month. Seriously. Here's the payment notice.

It's astonishing. Now, I'm always a little concerned that I'll configure something incorrectly, or read something and not quite interpret it right, and one day I'll get a monster bill, but that hasn't happened yet -- and I actually pretty much doubt it will.

Note to literalists (you know who you are!): The title of this post is meant to be sarcastic. I don't believe $0.11 is too much to charge. I think it's an amazingly good deal for what I get.

One reason I feel pretty secure that I'm safe with my 11-cent bill from Amazon is that the company today announced a 12% to 13.5% reduction in prices, depending on your usage pattern.

Seriously. Reduction. Here's the chart.

Now, ask yourself this: when was the last time your power company or your cable company wrote you a note and let you know they were reducing prices because they were innovating and driving down prices? Yeah, I know. Crazy, eh?

So there you go. If you're using a ton of S3 space, your bill's going down next month. Even if you're not using a ton of space, your bill is probably going down. Can't beat that with a stick.

See also:

Topics: CXO, Amazon, Hardware, Storage


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I don't get it.

    The chart seems to show there is no way you could be charged 11 cents for "couple of gigabytes or so."
    • RE: Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge

      @ron.cleaver@... It is $0.14GB per month up until you hit 1TB, then you hit the next price level. So that means he's using less than 1GB (.11 / .14). As cool as I think Amazon and S3 services are, it's misleading for him to claim that he backed up a server for 11 cents. Most people have more than 1GB of pictures alone and usually more.
  • CFOs love AWS

    Why?<br><br>If you've done your risk management and using cloud is ok for your organization, then you benefit from:<br><br>o Shift of fixed assets to the cloud<br>o Elimination of assets from balance sheet<br>o On-demand resource allocation, use it, then turn off or dispose of <br>o No more IT asset amortization<br>o No more IT asset tracking for assets moved to cloud<br>o Pure Monthly 'predictable' expense driven operation<br><br>Not bad if you ask me.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
  • RE: Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge

    While $.11/GB/Month seems/sounds small, it can be expensive for larger quantities, over a year. I have been looking for a "cloud based backup solution" for a church with 120GB to backup. Annual cost with Amazon would be $158 (.11*120*12). Acronis offers 500GB for $75/year or $.0125/GB/Month ($75/12/500).
    • RE: Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge


      What backup application are you using to store to the cloud?
    • RE: Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge

      @zforray@... Just use Carbonite. For $59 a year you get unlimited online backup.
  • Google storage costs less

    Google is at $20 for 80Gb per year compared with Amazon's new $120 for 80Gb per year. A 1/6 of the price...

    This is not to say Amazon's service is not valuable, it is but mostly as a storage for organizations. They are very innovative there but there is definitely a pressure from below...

    • And this, folks, is precisely why Amazon is lowering its S3 prices. It has

      nothing to do with innovation and everything to do with them being undercut by competitors.
    • RE: Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge

      @drorharari I might understand using Amazon or Google if you're a company, but as a consumer, i'd probably go with Carbonite or some other service. If I wanted to back up 1TB of data on Amazon, it'd cost $125/month. You could buy a few hard drives and just back up to those. Move your first back up offsite (say your safety deposit box), and then backup daily to another drive (or 2). Once a month take your most recent full backup and put it in the bank.
    • RE: Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge

      @drorharari : Ever thought that google doesn't offer some services that Amazon offers that can be valuable? Maybe that's why there is a big difference in price. Sort of comparing a Ferrari with a Celica.
      • Why still to use GoogleDrive over Amazon S3?

        What might those services be? I was using GoogleDocs storage now GoogleDrive (same 20$/year for 80Gb) and I get quite a number of services around pictures with Picasa (syncing to all my devices) and am able to view my documents from everywhere. Sure, for high sensitivity documents or very private stuff others are probably offer better options but Amazon is not there and for the bulk of files, GoogleDrive is simple, effective and low cost.

        Same goes for Carbonite - it is after all a backup service which neither S3 nor GoogleDrive are (though some 3rd party could/did build one on top of them)
  • RE: Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge

    Well depending on what your backing up and what the size is for a $2GB backup I pay basically nothing because I just have it backed up on my webhost in a folder that isnt shown online with all encrypted passwords on the files.
  • RE: Amazon reduces S3 prices, because $0.11 is too much to charge

    I must agree with the statements made here... while Amazon may be convenient in some instances, it's far from being something that consumer will find a bargain (see the example by user "zforray" about the 120GB backup solution).

    As stated by others there are several options for paid/free services that are much more affordable whether it's backup or online storage, photos, videos, documents, etc. carbonite and google were a couple mentioned.

    More options are out there (free/paid) that makes Amazon not the first choice for many. Of course one must choose according to needs and principles. Some users who dislike a specific company would never store a single bit on that company's servers, but that doesn't make it any less useful to others.

    That said, services such as Picasa for instance, offer free photos & videos storage up to 1GB, which becomes unlimited when subscribing to Google Plus (some caveats apply) that allows free photos, videos, hosting no matter whether content is or not shared with anyone.
    That's a viable solution for many who want to keep photo albums accessible to friends and family living abroad or across the street/hallway, without having to pay for extra hosting services, setup complex NAS and dynamic DNS, set up a PHP hosted gallery, or upload photos to facebook where will be kept forever even after deletion (as covered by another ZDNet article).

    So what are the caveats? Storage remains unlimited without eating into the 1GB max allowance as long as:
    - videos will not exceed 15 minutes in length,
    - photos will not exceed 2048x2048 pixel in dimension,
    - documents created in Google Docs and converted files won't count towards 1GB doc storage, but docs have specific limitations which you can read in more details on Google help pages

    All in all just minimal limitations IMO, especially for average non-professional use.
    To this we need to add free email space of over 7GB and after the launch of Google music service, users are now able to store up to 20,000 songs (average encoding 128kbps). About songs storage, considering that the average song is about 4 min. this translates into storing 80,000 minutes of music which at 128kbps is 1MB/min, for a total of roughly 80GB of storage. Enough to store ~1,333 hours, or 55.5 days, almost 2 months of uninterrupted music playback. I uploaded about 9,200 songs so far which is ~35GB of data... free.

    When in need of more space for photos and videos Google offers a rather simple storage pricing model which it's priced at $0.25 per GB per year (not month!) whether getting 20GB for $5/yr or 16TB for $4096/yr.

    The amount could then would make for an even more sarcastic article title than the current one since the monthly cost per each GB ends up being 2?? which is the same for all storage tiers since $5/yr divided by 20GB = $0.25/yr per 1GB, which consequentially means $0.25/12months = $0.02083 or about 2??/GB/mo.

    That makes 11?? look very costly since it's 5.5 times more expensive!

    Obviously cost analysis aside it's not all about money and other factors will be involved in choosing the solution that best fits each case, that will include features offered by services, ease of use, scalability, reliability, personal preferences, company reputation, etc. Note also that not all is error free with google free services like Picasa for instance so "caveat emptor".

    Beside the described offering from Google there are other options users may consider:

    - mediafire Unlimited free or premium paid accounts of $9/mo to $49/mo,
    - ADrive 50GB free storage for personal use only,
    - 4shared 10GB free plan (or 100GB premium at $9.95/mo and $6.5/mo prepaid yearly),
    - sugarsync free 5GB storage (or or premium paid accounts up to 500GB at $399.99/year... don't you hate those 99.99 when advertising prices it's so 1960s! ;D),
    - Box free 5GB ($15/user/mo and custom unlimited - must call),
    - OpenDrive 5GB free (up to $250/yr for 1TB max 7 user access + custom plans),
    - Dropbox 2GB free (up to 100GB for $19.99/mo and 1TB+ for teams $795/year for first 5 users and $125/year for each additional user),
    - Justcloud no free plan, but unlimited plans are $9.99/mo or 4.95/mo for 2 years,
    - mypcbackup a repacking of justcloud. Site is a copy, different logo, same pricing,
    - zipcloud another copy of justcloud offers a laughable 15MB free storage on 14 day trial. Paid accounts are 4.95/mo for unlimited storage.

    There will be few more option and the above are just a few examples of what's available.

    - Mozy com has no free offers, only paid up to $9.99/mo for 125GB and 3 computers
    - 5GB free iCloud storage does not qualify due to its being restricted to Apple ecosystem when it comes to content other than photos)
  • One word: CrashPlan

    You owe it to yourself to check out CrashPlan. It's possible you could take advantage of your friends & family's off-site locations to back up for free (after the purchase of a few HDs). Restore is probably much quicker than from the cloud, too, since you could likely just go pick up the backup drive!