Azure Storage is a cloud-based storage service from Microsoft Azure. It provides a scalable, secure and highly available data storage solution for businesses of any size.
The platform includes various services such as Azure Blob, which is a service for storing large amounts of unstructured data such as documents, images, videos and backups. Azure Files is a fully managed file share service for cloud-based applications. Azure Tables is a NoSQL key-value store used to store semi-structured data. Azure Queues is a messaging service used to store and process messages between applications or services.
Finally, Azure Disks is a service that allows you to store and manage data in virtual hard disks used in virtual machines. With Azure Storage, businesses can easily manage their data, control access and scale their storage as per their needs without worrying about hardware or infrastructure management.
How does Azure charge for storage space (bandwidth, capacity, number of transactions and quantity of transferred data)? What are the usage factors impacting Azure Storage fees: Region, account, access tier, replicas, egress?
How Azure Storage Pricing Works
Azure pricing for its storage services is based on several factors including storage capacity, data transfers and transaction counts. The cost of storage varies depending on the region and access tier selected, as well as the type of storage being used.
For Azure Blob Storage, customers are charged for storage capacity, data egress (outbound data transfers) and the number of transactions (read, write and list operations).
Azure Table Storage charges are based on the number of table entities stored and the amount of data transferred. Azure Queues are charged per transaction and data transfer, while Azure Disks are billed based on the provisioned capacity and the number of transactions.
Several usage factors can impact Azure Storage fees, including the region where the data is stored, the storage account type, the access tier selected, the number of replicas and the amount of data transferred out of the storage account.
Overview of Azure Storage Pricing
Azure Blob Storage pricing varies depending on the storage tier, data volume and whether customers opt for pay-as-you-go or reserved capacity.
For pay-as-you-go pricing, Premium storage is charged at a flat rate of $0.015 per GB/month, while Cool and Archive storage are billed at $0.01 and $0.0099 per GB/month, respectively, regardless of data volume. Hot storage costs $0.018 per GB /month for the first 50 TB with the rate gradually decreasing with higher usage. For instance, customers who consume more than 500 TB/month pay $0.0166 per GB.
Customers can also reserve blob storage in 100-TB or 1-PB blocks for one or three years. The prices for reserved storage vary by tier. A three-year Archive storage reservation costs $84 per 100 TB or $810 per PB/month, while Hot storage costs $1,244 per 100 TB/month for three years. For one-year reservations, Archive storage costs $91 per 100 TB or $883 per PB/month, and Hot storage costs $1,545 per 100 TB/month. For a one-year reservation, the cost of Hot storage is $15,050 per PB/month, and $11,963 per month for three years.
Microsoft charges customers for Azure Files depending on the storage tier and whether they reserve storage capacity. Pay-as-you-go pricing ranges from $0.015 per GB/month for Cool storage to $0.016 per provisioned GiB/month for Premium file storage.
Customers can commit to reserved storage capacity in increments of 10 TiB or 100 TiB for one or three years. A three-year reservation of 10 TiB Cool storage costs $101.39 per month, while one year costs $125.92 per month. However, the price increases significantly for the Premium offerings, with a three-year reservation of 10 TiB costing $1,081.34 per month and a one-year reservation costing $1,343.50 per month. 100 TiB reservations range from $983/month in the Cool tier for three years to $12,779.50/month in the Premium tier for one year.
Nevertheless, there are other fees that add to the total cost such as read and write transactions, snapshots, metadata storage and early file deletion fees. These ancillary fees can impact the overall cost of using Azure Files and customers should account for them when estimating their expenses.
Azure Tables pricing is available in various tiers, including locally redundant storage (LRS), geo-redundant storage (GRS), read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS), zone-redundant storage and geo-zone-redundant storage.
Customers are charged between $0.045 per GB/month for LRS and $0.01265 per GB/month for geozone-redundant read-only storage. Additionally, Microsoft charges a $0.0036 fee for each set of 10,000 transactions made on Azure Tables.
Compared to Blob and File Storage, the pricing model for Azure Queues is more straightforward. Customers are charged 4.5 cents to $0.075 cents per GB/month, depending on whether they choose local redundant storage (LRS) or read-access geozone-redundant storage (RA-GRS). Additionally, there is a $0.004 fee for every set of 10,000 operations in Class 1 and 2.
Azure Managed Disks have numerous pricing options that can be overwhelming. The cost of using Managed Disks depends on several factors, including the disk size, performance, reservation period, capacity and disk type.
The cheapest option for Managed Disks is the P1 disk, which costs $0.6 per month for 4 GiB of capacity in addition to $0.03 per mount/month. On the other hand, the P80 disk is the most expensive option, as it has a 32 TiB capacity costing $3,276.80 per month, in addition to $219/mount. However, the cost of a P80 disk can be reduced to $3,113/month (plus the $219/mount fee) with a reservation of one year.
Azure Storage Vs. AWS Storage Pricing
Here is a comparison of the pricing for similar storage services offered by Azure and AWS. As part of an Azure or AWS cost optimization strategy, you might consider combining services from both providers.
Amazon EBS is Amazon EC2’s basic storage device, with a price of $0.045 per GB for HDD and $0.10 per GB for SDD, with higher IOPS resulting in higher prices. The free tier includes 30 GB of SDD.
For comparable regions in the U.S., Azure charges $0.05 per GB for HDD and $19.71 for 128 GB of SSD per month.
Azure Managed Disks offer greater flexibility and easier backup than Azure Virtual Disks or Amazon EBS, with adjustable volume sizes and available IOPS. Managed Disks pricing starts at $19/month for a 128 GB disk, providing 500 IOPS.
Amazon S3 and Azure Blob Storage are both scalable services for storing objects (unstructured data) where data is stored together and cannot be changed in parts. Prices vary depending on the region, but for a comparable region in the U.S., Amazon S3 storage costs $0.023 per GB/month for the first 50 TB in addition to network usage fees. The free tier offers 5 GB of storage, while archive storage (Glacier) is $0.004 per GB/month.
Azure Blob Storage starts at $0.0184 per GB/month for hot storage, although prices decrease to $0.01 per GB per month for cool storage and $0.002 for archive storage. Prices for both services increase for greater redundancy.
Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) is an equivalent service to Azure File storage and allows users to mount files to Amazon EC2 servers. It uses NFS V4.0/4.2 to mount files and is not available in all AWS regions (currently, four are supported), requiring a Direct Connect line or VPN for on-premises mounting.
For a comparable U.S. region, Amazon EFS costs $0.30 per GB/month and the free tier offers 5GB on sign-up. Azure File Storage prices start at $0.06 per GB/month for local redundant storage, with prices increasing for more distributed redundancy setups. It is worth noting that both Azure and AWS charge additional fees for data access.
In conclusion, Azure Storage offers a range of services for storing and managing data in the cloud, each with its own pricing structure. While the pricing varies based on several factors including storage capacity, data transfers and transaction counts, it is essential to consider other usage factors, such as region, account, access tier, replicas and egress.
Customers should review these factors carefully and estimate their expenses to select the right storage service that meets their needs and budget. By doing so, they can leverage Azure Storage’s flexibility and scalability to store and manage their data efficiently in the cloud.
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