Microsoft joins cloud storage price war with 28 percent Azure cut

Prices for cloud storage have plummeted on the three major platforms just within the last couple of weeks, but who provides the cheapest service?

Microsoft has cut the price of its Windows Azure Storage service by up to 28 percent, just days after key rivals Amazon and Google dropped their cloud storage pricing.

The big providers are clearly engaged in a price war. On 26 November, Google Cloud Storage pricing saw a 20-percent cut. Amazon countered two days later with a 24-27 percent cut, and Google struck back a day later with a further 10 percent drop.

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Now it is the turn of Azure, which last saw a price cut back in March.

"Today we are happy to announce another price reduction for Windows Azure Storage by as much as 28 percent, effective on December 12th," Azure general manager Steven Martin said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The first terabyte of standard, geographically redundant storage now costs $0.095/GB on both Windows Azure Storage and Amazon S3, but Google Cloud Storage is the winner here at $0.085/GB. Price is not everything, of course, but Google continues to undercut its rivals as volume increases.

However, Martin used his post to sing the praises of various features Windows Azure Storage has recently gained, such as "deployment of a flat network for Windows Azure across all of our datacentres to provide very high bandwidth network connectivity for storage clients which significantly enhances scenarios like MapReduce, HPC, and others".

Martin also revealed some stats about WAS usage: the platform has over four trillion objects stored and processes 270,000 requests each second on average, and 880,000 requests per second at peak.

When the Amazon S3 team cut their pricing last month, they said the service stores 1.3 trillion objects and "is regularly peaking at over 800,000 requests per second".

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