Ankur Mandal

Cloud Storage Pricing Comparison


Ankur Mandal

5 min read

Navigating the complexities of cloud storage can be daunting due to intricate pricing structures and the multitude of options from various providers. Finding the most cost-effective solution can be challenging when accounting for factors such as different types of storage, data transfer fees, and access requirements.

To help you navigate the complexities of cloud storage pricing, we offer a comprehensive guide that examines key aspects of pricing across various solutions from leading service providers. This in-depth analysis covers different types of storage options, essential pricing factors, and tailored recommendations for your business needs. 

Whether you require scalable data storage, high-performance computing, or secure backups, our guide provides insights to help you make informed decisions and confidently manage your cloud storage costs.

Understanding cloud storage pricing is crucial for making informed decisions that align with your budget, performance needs, and long-term goals. A thorough comparison of cloud storage pricing offers the following benefits.

  • Cost-Efficiency: By choosing the most cost-effective storage option, you can optimize your budget and minimize unnecessary expenses.
  • Scalability: Cloud storage needs can fluctuate over time. Evaluating different providers’ prices helps you find the most flexible scalability options, allowing you to adjust storage capacity as your needs change without incurring excessive costs.
  • Features: Each cloud storage provider offers unique features and functionalities. Comparing prices can help you identify the provider that best matches your specific needs and preferences, ensuring you maximize the value from your chosen provider.
  • Budget Forecasting: Understanding the pricing structure of cloud storage from the start allows you to forecast and plan your budget effectively. This helps you optimize resource allocation and avoid unexpected expenses.
  • Avoid Vendor Lock-In: Comparing pricing options across various cloud providers helps you avoid dependency on a single vendor. If you’re unsatisfied with your current provider or find a more favorable offer, you can switch providers without being limited by proprietary formats or facing high migration costs.

Aside from the reasons already mentioned, considering cloud storage is essential because storage can significantly impact your overall cloud bill. A study titled 'State Of Hybrid Cloud Storage' by Virtana, which surveyed 350 cloud decision-makers, found that:

  • 94% of respondents reported an increase in their storage needs
  • 54% expressed concern that their storage usage grew faster than their overall cloud bill

Investing in cloud cost management tools that focus on different aspects, such as cloud computing and storage, is crucial to optimize cloud costs.

Now that we understand the importance of cloud storage pricing comparisons, let's explore the various available options.

3 Types Of Cloud Storage

There are three main types of cloud storage.

  • File-Based Storage: File storage utilizes a familiar hierarchical structure of files and folders, maintaining data formats whether stored centrally or on clients. This setup simplifies file organization and retrieval, making it a popular choice for development platforms, home directories, and media repositories that handle video, audio, and other files.
  • Object-Based Storage: Object storage manages data as objects, each containing the data, associated metadata, and a unique identifier. Unlike file and block storage, which organize data hierarchically, object storage uses repositories that offer virtually limitless scalability. Object storage retains data in its original format and allows customizable metadata, improving accessibility and analysis capabilities. The lack of a hierarchical structure and flexible metadata customization enables efficient and cost-effective storage resource optimization.
  • Block-Based Storage: Block storage, commonly found in Storage Area Networks (SANs) and cloud environments, organizes data into large volumes known as "blocks," similar to individual hard drives. Cloud providers use blocks to distribute vast amounts of data efficiently across multiple storage nodes. Known for its low input/output (I/O) latency, block storage excels at managing large databases and applications.

In the cloud, block storage seamlessly scales to accommodate the growth of organizational databases and applications, making it an ideal solution for scenarios like websites with increasing visitor data. However, block storage can contribute significantly to high cloud bills without proper monitoring and optimization.

To understand the impact of cloud storage on overall cloud costs, we conducted an independent study on over 100 clients using cloud service providers such as AWS, Azure, or GCP. Our findings revealed:

  • Block storage, known as AWS EBS, Azure Managed Disk, and GCP Persistent Disk, was a major contributor to overall cloud bills.
  • Utilization rates for block storage in root volumes and self-hosted databases were extremely low.
  • Organizations tended to overestimate growth and overprovision storage resources.
  • Despite overprovisioning, organizations experienced at least one downtime incident per quarter.

These findings highlight the importance of focusing on storage usage and emphasize the need to understand block storage-related costs when comparing cloud storage options. 

Types Of Cloud Storage Providers

The market's leading cloud storage providers offer various solutions to cater to diverse storage needs.

Amazon Web Services: AWS offers a wide range of cloud storage solutions, highlighting such as

  • Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service): Known for exceptional scalability and durability, Amazon S3 provides reliable storage for various types of data. It offers extensive security features, seamless data management, and advanced analytics capabilities.
  • Amazon Glacier: Amazon Glacier is designed for long-term archival storage, ensuring robust reliability. This solution is ideal for infrequently accessed data, offering low-cost storage with secure and efficient retrieval options.
  • Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS): Amazon EBS is a robust block storage service used alongside Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. It provides reliable, scalable block-level storage volumes for storing applications and data. EBS volumes offer automatic replication within an Availability Zone, enhancing resilience and safeguarding against component failure.

Microsoft Azure: Microsoft Azure offers a comprehensive range of storage options tailored to diverse needs. 

  • Azure Blob Storage: This service is perfect for efficiently managing large volumes of unstructured data. It supports seamless file sharing and excels at handling unstructured data such as media files, documents, and backups.
  • Managed Disks: Managed Disks streamline disk management tasks by handling underlying infrastructure, including replication and data redundancy. Azure offers various disk types—Standard HDD, Standard SSD, and Premium SSD—to accommodate different performance and cost preferences. Managed Disks integrate seamlessly with Azure's capabilities, such as Availability Sets, Availability Zones, and encryption at rest, enhancing reliability, performance, and security.

Azure's seamless integration with Microsoft's suite of services and tools ensures excellent compatibility within enterprise ecosystems. The platform prioritizes robust security measures and compliance protocols, reinforcing data protection and adherence to regulations.

Google Cloud Platform: Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers versatile storage solutions to support a variety of applications.

  • Google Cloud Storage: This adaptable service caters to a wide range of use cases, from efficiently delivering website content to managing extensive databases. It prioritizes network speed and reliability, offering high performance and smooth integration with data analytics and machine learning applications. Security is a key focus, ensuring maximum data protection.
  • Persistent Disks: GCP's Persistent Disks provide a robust block storage solution designed for reliable, scalable storage for virtual machine instances and other resources. Persistent Disks enable separate data storage from virtual machine instances, ensuring data integrity even if a virtual machine is terminated.

Factors Affecting Cloud Storage Pricing

Cloud service pricing plans offer a variety of options based on different factors, including storage capacity, number of users, security features, and subscription choices. Additionally, some cloud storage providers may impose extra fees for exceeding plan limits or transferring data out of the cloud (egress).

Certain providers may also offer premium support options, such as phone assistance or priority email support, for an additional fee. The pricing structure of cloud storage is influenced by numerous factors, including but not limited to:

  • Company size: The size of an organization and its resource usage are key drivers of cloud storage pricing. Higher resource utilization can lead to higher cloud costs. However, larger organizations may benefit from volume discounts due to their significant storage needs. Cloud providers often offer enterprise agreements tailored to larger companies, including reduced pricing, dedicated account management, and other benefits designed for enterprise customers.
  • Data storage capacity: Cloud service providers charge based on the volume of data stored. Higher capacities may qualify for volume discounts, reducing storage unit costs.
  • Data transfer: Data transfer pricing depends on the frequency and size of transfers. Some providers charge for both incoming and outgoing transfers, while others offer free incoming transfers as an incentive.
  • Access frequency: Costs vary based on data access frequency. Providers offer different storage classes to suit various usage patterns, optimizing costs according to data access frequency.
  • Hidden egress fees: Many cloud providers charge fees for data retrieval or moving data out of their storage, known as "egress" fees. These fees can form a significant portion of cloud computing expenses and may impact a business's ability to transition between different cloud environments.
  • Data durability and availability: Providers guarantee data durability through redundancy and backup mechanisms. Enhanced redundancy and data resilience options may come with higher costs. Providers also offer different levels of availability (e.g., standard or high availability), which can affect pricing tiers.
  • Types of subscription plans: Cloud storage providers offer various subscription plans, including pay-as-you-go, monthly subscriptions, and annual contracts. Each plan type may have its own pricing structures and benefits.
  • Inclusion of users and devices: Some plans include a specific number of users or devices in the base price. Additional charges for exceeding these limits may apply, particularly for enterprise or team-oriented storage solutions.
  • Security and data encryption: Enhanced security features, such as advanced encryption and compliance certifications, may be included in premium pricing tiers. Enterprises seeking to protect sensitive data may choose higher-priced plans with stronger security measures.

There are several factors that impact block storage pricing as well. While it is highly efficient in storing data files for higher availability and data transportation, they will be available at varied pricing tiers, all of which are influenced by the following factors:

  • Storage capacity: In block storage, a certain capacity of storage is provisioned for data processing and transfer. Automated provisioning and rightsizing can help optimize costs by dynamically adjusting storage resources within the cloud. Taking up higher capacities can also entitle users to significant volume discounts to further save costs. 
  • Provisioned IOPS: Under this, users have complete control over their storage performance and can optimize it based on application needs and company requirements. Modifying IOPS levels also requires significant costs, especially when tweaking them for mission-critical workloads with high throughput. 
  • Data availability & redundancy: In block storage, the level of data access and redundancy affect storage service costs. Here, different tiers of block storage provide different levels of availability, impacting the price accordingly. 
  • Data transfer costs: Even in block storage, Ingress (Data In) transfers are usually free, although some providers might charge for a certain amount of data. However, Egress (Data Out) transfers are charged based on volume of data transferred out of the storage service. 
  • Snapshots & backup: Creating snapshots also have their own pricing structures attached to them. Improper management of snapshots can lead to higher and unnecessary usage costs, which has to be optimized. Pricing for backup services also will be higher as they may have additional features like long-term data retention and disaster recovery measures. 

Aside from the more apparent costs, hidden costs can drive up the cloud bill, such as:

  • Data retrieval fees: Regularly retrieving large amounts of data can incur significant expenses, particularly when using storage classes optimized for infrequent access.
  • API call charges: Service providers may charge for API calls, especially if you exceed predetermined limits, increasing overall expenses.
  • Minimum storage duration charges: Some cloud storage providers require a minimum storage duration, which can result in charges even if data is deleted early. This can impact your cost estimates.

To help you understand how cloud storage pricing works, we've provided an example of a comparison of monthly prices per gigabyte for Amazon S3, Azure, and Google Cloud Storage. Note that this table indicates pricing only for object storage. 

Pricing table for object storage in Azure, GCP and AWS

In contrast with object storage, block storage for Amazon EBS, Azure Block Blob Storage, and Google’s Data Storage are different and are highlighted below:

For Amazon EBS, you only pay for the storage you have provisioned:

AWS EBS pricing

For Azure Blob Storage, here’s an example of the pricing model with LRS redundancy and in West US 2 region. The structure is a Pay-as-you-go model.

Azure Blob Storage pricing

For Google Cloud platform, you can check out the multi-regional pricing under each cloud storage type:

GCP storage pricing at different locations

Use Cases

Now that we've explored the various cloud storage service providers and the factors impacting the overall cloud bill, let's examine the situations in which each of these storage classes is suitable.

1. Advanced Computing Needs

Amazon S3

For developers, those involved in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), or anyone with advanced computing needs, Amazon S3 is an excellent choice. As a leading object storage service, Amazon S3 offers remarkable scalability and availability, making it well-suited for extensive cloud computing requirements. Its robust architecture effortlessly handles massive data volumes, ensuring uninterrupted operations for your enterprise.

Adopting Amazon S3 provides limitless possibilities due to its unmatched flexibility in storing, manipulating, and retrieving data. With a simple internet-enabled device—such as a mobile phone or desktop computer—you can access, modify, and retrieve data from anywhere in the world.


Amazon S3's pricing covers multiple components that contribute to the overall cost structure, including the diversity of storage classes, the amount of data stored, data egress, and other factors.

Azure Blob Storage

Azure Blob Storage is a foundational element of Microsoft's Azure public cloud, redefining object storage with its unmatched capabilities. This storage solution supports large unstructured data collections in text and binary formats. It offers exceptional scalability and flexibility, making it ideal for organizations of all sizes.

Similar to Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage offers multi-regional backups and restores, enabling businesses to establish robust disaster recovery strategies across different geographic regions. Additionally, Azure Blob Storage goes beyond being a standard storage solution by seamlessly integrating with Microsoft's suite of advanced data security measures and analytical tools, including AI and machine learning.


Microsoft Azure's public cloud storage operates on a convenient pay-as-you-go model, which emphasizes simplicity and adaptability. This approach means you only pay for the resources you use, eliminating the need for upfront payments or long-term commitments.

Whether you're a startup exploring new opportunities or an established enterprise expanding your operations, Azure's pay-as-you-go structure ensures cost-effectiveness and flexibility, allowing you to align expenses with your usage patterns. 

Google Cloud Storage

Google Cloud Storage is a RESTful cloud storage service built on the Google Cloud Platform. It supports the storage of various data types, including images, texts, videos, and more. While primarily designed for personal use, Google Cloud Storage is also suitable for business applications due to its range of functionalities, such as ingestion, processing, retrieval, and more.


Google Cloud Storage's pricing model is influenced by factors such as location, data processing, networking, data transfer, and more. This comprehensive approach provides users with a range of options to tailor storage costs to their specific needs.

2. Mission Critical Databases

Block storage is an optimal solution when a company needs to host mission-critical databases for managing customer information, transaction records, and inventory data. This preference stems from block storage's ability to provide direct access to data blocks, ensuring consistent and reliable performance crucial for demanding database workloads.

Additionally, block storage offers valuable features such as snapshots and cloning, which enable seamless backups, data replication, and the creation of testing environments without disrupting production databases.

3. Deploying Virtual Machines

Block storage is highly advantageous when deploying virtual machines to support applications and other resources. It is a preferred storage medium for virtual machines (VMs) in cloud environments due to its ability to provide each VM with a dedicated block storage volume. This ensures quick data access for applications and allows for seamless migration of VMs across different hosts.

Moreover, block storage offers features like thin provisioning and snapshots, which enhance storage utilization and simplify the management of VM environments.

Cloud Storage Optimization To Enhance Savings

Mastering the intricacies of cloud pricing structures is crucial, but the true value lies in leveraging this knowledge to improve cost-efficiency and productivity in cloud utilization. By exploring strategies for optimizing cloud costs, users can identify practical methods to reduce expenses without sacrificing performance or scalability. This is where cloud cost optimization becomes essential.

Cloud cost optimization combines strategies and techniques to minimize cloud costs and run a cloud infrastructure as cost-effectively as possible. It aims to maximize business value while maintaining cost efficiency. However, organizations often overlook storage optimization for the following reasons.

  1. Need to create custom tools: The limited range of features provided by Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) necessitates the creation of customized tools for storage optimization. This can significantly increase DevOps efforts and time investment.
  2. Inefficient CSP tools: Relying solely on tools provided by CSPs can lead to inefficient and labor-intensive processes requiring substantial manual intervention and resource allocation. This daily continuation of resource-consuming work is impractical.
  3. Lack of live shrinkage: Major cloud service providers lack live shrinkage functionality for storage processes, necessitating manual methods. This process requires creating new volumes and snapshots, potentially resulting in downtime and further complications.

Optimizing storage and enhancing cloud cost efficiency is crucial for organizations striving to achieve cost-effectiveness and maintain uninterrupted cloud services. However, challenges often arise when attempting to improve buffer resources in the cloud.

  1. Manual intervention: Enhancing buffer performance entails several tasks, including deployment, alerting, and monitoring. Each task may require different tools, requiring dedicated effort and time from the DevOps team to ensure seamless setup and operation.
  2. Time inefficiency: Activities such as reducing disk space or upgrading disks often lead to extended downtimes, particularly with certain cloud service providers. For instance, reducing 1 TB of disk space can take at least 4 hours, while disk upgrades require a minimum of 3 hours. These restrictions pose challenges in maintaining continuous service, especially when uptime is critical.
  3. Increased latency: Disk upgrades can increase latency, affecting the responsiveness of networked applications and services. This rise in latency hinders overall performance and negatively impacts the user experience.
  4. Expansion delays: Organizations may encounter delays of at least 6 hours during subsequent expansion phases. These interruptions prevent the application from adapting promptly to changing demands, negatively impacting performance and responsiveness.

These challenges often lead organizations to overprovision resources to maintain sufficient buffer capacity and avoid potential downtime. However, overprovisioning can result in operational inefficiency and inflated cloud costs due to paying for unused resources.

Given these challenges, optimizing storage becomes pivotal for effective cloud cost management. Cloud cost automation is one of the most effective methods for optimizing storage and reducing costs. By automating storage optimization, organizations can streamline processes, reduce manual intervention, and minimize time inefficiencies. This approach helps maintain consistent cloud performance while lowering costs and improving resource utilization.

Monitoring Storage Wastage

The initial step in optimizing storage costs involves pinpointing the sources of storage inefficiencies, such as idle, unused, or overprovisioned resources. Organizations commonly attempt to identify these issues through manual discovery or by using monitoring tools. However, we recommend against relying solely on these methods.


Relying solely on manual discovery and monitoring tools can pose challenges due to the substantial DevOps effort and deployment costs involved. Managing complex storage environments effectively becomes increasingly critical as complexity increases. Without appropriate tools and automation, this complexity can quickly intensify, leading to potential issues and inefficiencies.

The Lucidity Storage Audit offers a streamlined solution by simplifying the process with a user-friendly, executable tool. This approach enhances your understanding of disk health and usage, allowing you to optimize resource allocation and minimize downtime efficiently.

The Lucidity Storage Audit is an intuitive monitoring tool designed to simplify resource management by automating the identification of redundant and underutilized assets. This user-friendly tool streamlines the optimization process, making it easy to execute with just a click. Lucidity Storage Audit offers valuable insights in the following areas.

  • Comprehensive disk expenditure analysis: Monitor and compare your current disk spending with potential optimized billing, identifying opportunities to save up to 70% on storage expenses.
  • Optimal disk space utilization: Efficiently pinpoint and remove unused or overprovisioned disk space, ensuring optimal resource allocation and minimizing waste.
  • Proactive disk downtime prevention: Stay ahead of potential disk downtime risks by proactively mitigating them. This helps safeguard your organization from financial losses and upholds its reputation.

The Lucidity Storage Audit offers outstanding capabilities in monitoring storage usage data and delivers the following advantages.

  • Advanced automation: Say goodbye to labor-intensive manual efforts and traditional monitoring tools. Lucidity Storage Audit streamlines the auditing process with its intuitive, pre-configured platform, alleviating operational burdens and simplifying storage management.
  • Comprehensive insights: Gain a thorough understanding of disk health and utilization effortlessly. The tool provides valuable insights for optimizing expenditure and proactively preventing downtime, ensuring peak performance across your storage environment.
  • Efficient utilization analysis: Make informed decisions about resource allocation and efficiency improvements. Lucidity Storage Audit enables precise analysis of storage utilization percentages and disk sizes, driving productivity and maximizing resource utilization.
  • Integrity preservation: Protect the integrity of your cloud environment and assets without hassle. Lucidity Storage Audit conducts seamless audits that do not disrupt your infrastructure, maintaining continuous system efficiency and upholding the highest security and reliability standards.

Once you have pinpointed the sources of storage wastage, you can take the following actions to optimize your storage resources.

  1. Delete idle resources: Remove resources that are no longer in use or have been sitting idle. This immediate action can significantly cut storage costs and free up valuable space.
  2. Rightsize overprovisioned resources: Adjust overprovisioned resources to match actual usage needs. This involves resizing storage allocations to suit your current and projected demands, ensuring efficient use of resources and preventing unnecessary expenses.

Auto-Scaling Storage Resources

You can implement auto-scaling with Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler to further eliminate the risks of overprovisioning or underprovisioning and achieve effective storage cost optimization in the cloud.

As previously highlighted, block storage plays a significant role in overall cloud costs. In response, Lucidity has developed the industry's first autonomous storage orchestration solution. This tool makes block storage more economical, reliable, and effortless by automatically adjusting storage resources to match your application’s requirements in real time. This means your cloud storage scales up or down based on your actual needs, ensuring efficient use of resources and reducing costs.

The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler effectively manages the resizing of storage resources, allowing for quick adaptation to fluctuating demands. Positioned atop block storage and cloud service providers, it offers the following key features.

  • Seamless integration: With just a few clicks, you can effortlessly integrate Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler into your storage management system, simplifying your storage management process significantly.
  • Optimized storage: Instantly enhance your storage capacity and achieve 70–80% utilization rates. This efficiency reduces costs and streamlines your storage management for greater economy.
  • Swift responsiveness: Easily address sudden surges in traffic or workload. The auto-scaler enables prompt expansion of storage capacity, ensuring that your systems can easily handle spikes in demand.
  • Performance impact minimization: Lucidity is designed to minimize its impact on your system's resources. The highly optimized agent consumes less than 2% of CPU and RAM during onboarding, allowing your workloads to run uninterrupted. This feature lets you focus on your core tasks without disruptions.

The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler brings together advanced features to deliver exceptional benefits, including.

  • Automated shrinkage and expansion: Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler enables rapid and seamless disk scaling, completing adjustments within 90 seconds. Unlike traditional storage solutions, which are limited to 8GB per minute, Lucidity's technology goes beyond these constraints, maintaining a strong buffer to handle sudden data surges while staying within throughput limits.
  • Storage cost savings: Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler helps avoid unnecessary expenses through dynamic resource allocation adjustments, resulting in potential savings of up to 70% on storage costs. Use the ROI Calculator to input details about your Azure expenditure, disk usage, and growth rate and receive a personalized assessment of your potential savings.
Lucidity ROI calculator to find out potential saving in storage
  • No downtime: Traditional provisioning methods often lead to multiple processes and subsequent downtime. Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler eliminates this problem by quickly adapting to changing storage demands, ensuring that downtime is a thing of the past.
  • Tailored policies: The "Create Policy" feature allows users to customize policies according to specific use cases, buffer needs, or loading time requirements. With Block Storage Auto-Scaler, storage resources automatically adjust based on the designated policies, ensuring optimal efficiency and resource utilization.
Lucidity custom policy feature to ensure zero downtime

To make well-informed decisions regarding cloud storage pricing, one must carefully evaluate several factors, including storage classes, data transfer costs, retrieval fees, and the management features offered by cloud service providers. By conducting this analysis, businesses can find the most cost-effective solution that matches their needs. Moreover, exploring options for cost optimization through efficient resource allocation, automation, and scalability can greatly enhance the value proposition of cloud storage.

If your cloud bill steadily increases without a clear explanation, it may indicate that storage resources are being wasted. Scheduling a demo session with Lucidity can help you understand how to identify storage wastage and optimize storage usage for a cost-effective cloud infrastructure. Lucidity offers automation tools that streamline resource management and provide insights to improve storage efficiency.

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