Microsoft launches 'cool blob' Azure storage - at 1¢ per GB monthly

Microsoft has rolled out a new cheap tier of storage for data that isn't accessed frequently, offering a kind of answer to Amazon's Glacier.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft's Block Blob storage now has Hot and Cool pricing tiers. LRS, GRS, RA-GRS are the redundancy options.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has moved Cool Blob Storage to general availability, offering space at a cost of 1¢ per GB per month, depending on the region.

The new 'cool' tier of storage offers Azure customers something akin to what AWS offers with Glacier, or Google does with Nearline, both of which cost 1¢ per GB monthly, although Microsoft's service focuses on fast access, even if it's infrequently needed.

Now, Microsoft has a 'hot', higher cost per GB storage tier for object data as well as a 'cool', lower cost one. Prices vary according to the redundancy plan, the cheapest being locally-redundant storage.

Cool storage is currently available in certain regions in the US, Europe, Japan and South East Asia, although prices vary between 1¢ and 1.6¢ per GB per month depending on the region.

It's not available on the US West region, Australia, and Brazil, but Microsoft says more regions are coming online.

The other factor influencing cost and the decision whether to store data as cool or hot is the frequency of access to the data required. Cool access prices are roughly double the cost of hot access prices.

For example, Put Blob/Block, List, Create Container Operations on locally-redundant cool storage costs 10¢ per 10,000 actions, compared with 5¢ per 10,000 actions for the hot tier.

Obviously, customers will need to assess their own data-usage requirements, but Microsoft suggests cool storage is suitable for data that lives for a longer period of time and is accessed less than once a month, such as backups, archival data, media content and scientific data.

Microsoft is also guaranteeing slightly higher availability on its hot access tier of 99.9 percent compared with the 99 percent availability guarantee for cool access.

While the 1¢ per GB per month price does put it in a similar category to Amazon's Glacier, Azure cool storage is closer to a storage tier on S3 that Amazon introduced last year, aimed at customers who rarely require access to stored data, but want fast access when it is required.

Price-wise, this Amazon tier sits between Glacier and S3's standard pricing. In the US, the storage cost for the low access tier is $0.0125 per GB per month.

Like Azure cool storage, Amazon's new S3 tier added an overhead for access where data retrieval is priced at $0.01 per GB; $0.01 per 1,000 PUT, COPY, or POST requests; and $0.01 per 10,000 GET requests or 10,000 requests to move data into the Standard IA class.

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