Data storage is one of the primary use cases for the cloud model. The cloud gives you flexible, highly scalable storage at a price per gigabyte that generally beats on-premises alternatives. As with most cloud pricing, however, storage costs are more complex than they appear at first glance. Several variables come into play when calculating the total cost of ownership (TCO) of cloud storage.
Once you dig a little deeper into cloud storage pricing, you will find a number of fees that are commonly assessed by the major service providers:
- Per-gigabyte variables. The price you pay per gigabyte depends upon how much data you store — as the volume goes up, the price goes down. Additionally, you’ll pay more to store data in a “hot” or premium storage tier that allows immediate data access as opposed to a “cold” or archive tier that stores data on tape and therefore can take hours to access.
- Storage operation fees. You’ll pay a fee for various storage operations, such as listing a directory, reading or writing a file, copying data or moving it between tiers. The fees are generally quite small but can add up with workloads that perform operations on a large number of storage objects. The costs vary depending upon the storage tier.
- Egress fees. Most cloud providers will charge you for moving data out of their cloud, or when you move data from one region to another within the same service provider’s cloud. These fees are generally based upon the network bandwidth required to transfer the data.
- Replication fees. If you replicate your data across multiple cloud regions, you will pay additional fees for network bandwidth as well as storage. The increased cost can be significant but may be worth it to ensure the availability of your data.
- Regional variables. Cloud storage prices can vary depending upon the region where your data is stored.
In addition to tangible costs, you should consider some intangibles when calculating the total cost of ownership of cloud storage:
- Someone on your IT team will need to monitor your cloud data to ensure that it doesn’t become corrupted. You should also perform periodic audits so that you know exactly what’s stored in the cloud.
- It’s important to back up critical data to ensure that it’s protected. Whether you back up to another cloud or to on-premises storage, you’ll have the cost of implementing and managing the backup solution as well as the additional storage costs.
- Misconfigured cloud storage is a leading cause of data breaches. You’ll need to perform security audits to ensure your data isn’t exposed, and possibly implement encryption for regulatory compliance.
Is It Worth It?
Given all these costs, you may be wondering if cloud storage is worth it. It generally is when you consider all the costs of provisioning and maintaining an on-premises storage environment. Management is typically higher on premises, too, because you have to manage hardware and software as well as the data.
But now that you have a sense of all the variables, you can calculate the total cost of ownership of cloud storage. Depending upon your workload, how much data you need to move to and from the cloud, and other factors, you may find that on-premises storage is the better investment.
Technologent’s cloud experts can help you perform this analysis. Let our team analyze your storage needs and calculate the costs of moving your data to the public cloud.