The cloud price war continues: Amazon cuts its cloud storage prices, again

AWS reduces S3 and Glacier prices, and adds new data retrieval options.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director on

Glacier customers will see a 43 percent decrease in storage prices.

Image: iStock

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is cutting the price of its S3 cloud storage service and Glacier cloud archive service, as well as adding new options for companies wanting to retrieve data from Glacier.

AWS said it is cutting the per-gigabyte price of its S3 Standard Storage in most AWS regions as of 1 December, and reducing it down to three pricing tiers. It is also cutting the price of Glacier storage in most AWS regions.

The S3 price cuts vary by region and by the amount stored, ranging from 16 to 28 percent. Storage per gigabyte across all regions is now around two cents per gigabyte per month -- in 2006, when S3 first launched, prices stood at around 15 cents per gigabyte per month, reflecting the downward pressure on prices.


AWS has cut its S3 storage prices

Image: Amazon Web Services

As far as Glacier is concerned, customers can store 1GB for one month in the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), or EU (Ireland) Regions for just $0.004 -- a 43 percent decrease.

When Glacier debuted in 2012, a gigabyte for a month would have cost $0.010: the last Glacier price reduction, in September last year, dropped that by 30 percent to $0.007.

"The lower pricing is a direct result of the scale" of Amazon's cloud storage service, said Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS.

Glacier is used by customers as the archive element of their tiered storage architecture, and AWS is offering two new retrieval options for archived data: customers can either pay more to get faster data retrieval, or pay less if speed is not a priority.

'Standard retrieval' is the new name for what Glacier already provides, and is the default for all API-driven retrieval requests.

Customers will "typically" get their data back in three to five hours using the standard retrieval service, and pay $0.01 per GB and $0.05 for every 1,000 requests, the company said.

'Expedited retrieval' customers will usually get their data in one to five minutes. Retrievals cost $0.03 per GB and $0.01 per request. Customers needing to ensure data retrieval in that time frame even when demand on the system is high can provision retrieval capacity, which costs $100 per month. This ensures that they can perform at least three 'expedited retrievals' every five minutes, with up to 150 MB/sec of retrieval throughput.

For customers with planned or non-urgent data retrieval needs there is a bulk retrieval option, which typically takes five to 12 hours at a cost of $0.0025 per GB (75 percent less than for standard retrieval) along with $0.025 for every 1,000 requests.

Cloud services have been cutting prices for storage and processing for some time now. Part of this is due to the economies of scale that come from building ever larger cloud data centers. The main players -- AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google -- are also battling to attract first-time cloud customers while also holding onto existing price-sensitive customers. The big cloud players are also trying to differentiate their services in an attempt to move away from the price war towards a 'cloud features war' instead.

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