Cloud computing is all the rage these days, and cloud storage is a vital component of it. Having a place to store your data is critical for using that data with cloud-based services or applications, including BI tools, data warehouses, and web services. Cloud storage is typically more reliable than on-premise storage systems, with effortless scalability to incorporate growing data needs.

An enterprise cloud computing survey of 300 companies conducted by Clutch in 2016 found that the highest priority use case for cloud computing is file storage at 70 percent. Application deployment came in second at 51 percent. Therefore, it’s no surprise that cloud service providers strongly market their data storage services.

AWS leads the way with its cloud storage services such as Amazon S3, Amazon EBS, and AWS Storage Gateway. Amazon’s cloud computing services deliver a market share of 31 percent, which is nearly three times greater than that of closest competitor Microsoft.

But what’s the deal with AWS storage costs? Is AWS an affordable cloud provider for your business needs? How can you calculate AWS storage costs? You’ll find out the answer to these questions in this post, and by the end, you’ll be better placed to choose an AWS storage solution that meets your needs.

AWS Storage Pricing

Storage is one of five categories used to price the main AWS services. AWS storage costs aren’t standardized per GB across all services—particular storage costs depend on the cloud storage service of your choice. Let’s drill down into the costs of storing data on different AWS services.

Amazon S3

Amazon S3 provides simple cloud storage that lets you store and retrieve data at any time from anywhere on the web.

Amazon S3 has an initial 5 GB of free storage when signing up, although such small storage won’t suit any business use case.

Pricing varies by region—on the east coast of the United States in  the AWS centers of Ohio and Northern Virginia, the cost structure is as follows:

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Other charges to manipulating S3 data apply, but we are focusing only on AWS storage here. Amazon Glacier is a secure, durable, and low-cost cloud storage service for data archiving and long-term backup, and it is available as a storage option for S3 data.

Best For: Amazon S3 is commonly used for storage and distribution of static web content and media. The service is also useful for hosting entire static websites or as a store for computation and large-scale data analytics, such as financial transaction analysis.

Amazon EBS

Amazon EBS provides persistent block level storage volumes for use with the Amazon EC2 web service.

Storage costs on EBS vary depending on the type of storage volumes provisioned, as follows:

  • Amazon EBS General Purpose SSD (gp2) volumes: $0.10 per GB-month of provisioned storage
  • Amazon EBS Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volumes: $0.125 per GB-month of provisioned storage
  • Amazon EBS Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) volumes: $0.045 per GB-month of provisioned storage
  • Amazon EBS Cold HDD (sc1) volumes: $0.025 per GB-month of provisioned storage

Best For: EBS is best for use as the primary storage for a database or file system for frequently changing data, or for any applications that require access to raw block-level storage.

AWS Storage Gateway

This service connects an on-premises application with cloud-based storage to provide secure integration between an organization’s apps and the AWS storage infrastructure. Storage gateway uses a GB-month pricing structure.

Volume storage costs $0.023 per GB-month of data stored, virtual tape storage is $0.023 per GB-month of data stored, and archived virtual tape storage costs the same as Amazon Glacier at $0.004 per GB-month of data stored. A tape provides a gateway between on-prem applications and AWS cloud storage resources.

Best For: corporate file sharing, disaster recovery, and mirroring data to cloud-based compute resources.

Closing Thoughts

  • The cloud provides a cheap, efficient, and secure means of storing enterprise data. AWS is a leader in cloud-based storage, with a range of storage services available for your data.
  • AWS storage costs depend on the type of computing resource in which the data will be stored, the AWS location you want to store that data in, and in some instances, how frequently you want to access the data.
  • Bear in mind that storing data in an AWS location far from you will increase latency, so don’t just opt for a location with low storage costs.
  • When making a final decision on an AWS service for storing your data, consider how else you want to use that data.