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Two Recommendations to Make Cloud Storage Simple Again

Cloud storage initially emerged to provide organizations with access to simple storage services (S3). The more organizations adopted S3 object storage, the more storage choices they requested of those who provided it. However, all these choices had unexpected side effects. Simple storage services became increasingly complex and costly to manage. To make cloud storage simple again, here are two recommendations for organizations to follow.

Making the Simple Complex

Organizations of all sizes adopt cloud-based storage services for simple reasons: they love its availability, cost, flexibility, and scalability. In fact, they loved it so much they wanted more of it with more cloud storage options.
Organizations requested multiple regions with different data centers in different countries. They wanted multiple cloud storage tiers in each region. They expected different costs based upon the tier and region where their data resided.
Cloud storage providers responded to these requests. However, in the process of doing so, simple storage services once again became complex. This complexity surfaces in the following ways:

  • Each storage tier has different per GB costs with charges for the same storage tier potentially differing by region.
  • Variable and randomly occurring data access, egress, and transfer fees make monthly cloud storage costs difficult to predict.
  • Managing data placement, data recovery, and cloud storage billing create complexities few organizations anticipate or want to deal with once they store data in the cloud.

To put the simple back in simple storage services, organizations should consider implementing one of the two following cloud storage options.

Recommendation #1: Store All Unstructured Data on Second Tier Object Storage.

General-purpose cloud providers give organizations the option to store data on second tier object storage. This tier costs about one cent per GB per month. In AWS, this is its S3 Standard Infrequent Access storage tier. In Microsoft Azure Blob, it is its cool access tier.
This storage tier delivers millisecond response times suitable for most unstructured data needs. Further, this second tier costs half as much as the standard object storage tier. Admittedly, this second tier lacks some availability features of the provider’s default standard S3 tier and the provide may charge data access fees. However, it meets the storage requirements for many organizations’ unstructured data needs while reducing their cloud storage costs and management.

Recommendation #2: Use a Purpose-built Cloud Storage Provider.

Purpose-built cloud storage providers have also emerged in recent years. Two notable ones include Backblaze and Wasabi. These providers only offer one low-cost storage tier that costs about one half of one cent per GB per month. This equates to half the cost of the second tier of storage available from general-purpose cloud providers for a comparable storage offering.
simplePurpose-built providers even go one step further than general-purpose cloud providers by simplifying billing. They do not currently charge any network usages fees for activities such as data access, egress, or transfer between regions. This eliminates the variable and unpredictable costs that general-purpose cloud providers charge for these activities.
It should be re-emphasized purpose-built cloud storage providers only provide a single tier of cloud storage. This is what makes them so simple to adopt and manage.
Even should organizations want or need other tiers of storage or to place data in other geographic regions, they can still do so. This frees them to immediately take advantage of the low-cost and simplicity that purpose-built cloud storage providers offers. Then, when and if their needs change, they can move their data out with minimal hassle and without incurring any unexpected network usage or data access fees.

Simple, Economical Cloud Storage is Back

Obtaining and using cloud storage from general-purpose cloud providers has become more complex and costly to manage in recent years. However, organizations adopting cloud storage for the first time or who need simple, economical cloud storage should look at alternative options.
Thankfully, new options exist from general-purpose cloud providers as well as from a growing number of purpose-built cloud storage providers. These new options offer the lower cost cloud storage organizations seek while keeping both management and billing simple initially and over time.

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