Azure Arrives at the Cloud Storage Price Cut Party

By Pedro Hernandez

Big cloud services providers are embroiled in a price war, and the victor in this case is the customer.

Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform, is trimming prices to keep up with its two biggest rivals, Google and Amazon. Starting December 12th, Windows Azure Storage subscriptions will be 28 percent less expensive to maintain. Microsoft last reduced its Azure storage pricing by 12 percent in March.

Azure's new pricing structure starts at $0.095 for the first 1 TB per month. Customers that use the Locally Redundant Storage service -- essentially Azure Storage with geo-replication turned off -- can get cloud storage even cheaper at $0.07 for the first 1 TB per month.

The cuts come amid brisk Azure adoption, according Steven Martin, general manager for Windows Azure Business Planning.

In a post for the official Windows Azure blog, he informed, "Our continued commitment to reduce costs and increase capabilities seem to be resonating with our customers based on tremendous growth we are seeing. We have over 4 trillion objects stored, an average of 270,000 requests processed per second, and a peak of 880,000 requests per second."

Cloud Storage Competition Heats Up

Late last month, Google fired the first salvo by slashing the price of Google Cloud Storage by over 20 percent. The news came as the company introduced a new, lower cost tier called Durable Reduced Availability Storage.

Durable Reduced Availability Storage, currently available to select customers as a limited experimental preview, is aimed at cloud-enabled workloads where price and data durability take precedence and high availability can take a back seat. Prices start at $0.063 for the first 1 TB per month.

Amazon quickly followed up with price cuts of its own. In a company blog post, the e-tailer turned cloud giant announced, "We're reducing the price of Amazon S3 storage by 24-28% in the US Standard Region, and making commensurate price reductions in all our nine regions worldwide as well as reducing the price of Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS)."

As it stands today, Amazon's prices generally match those of Azure by starting at $0.095 for the first 1 TB per month, down 24 percent from its earlier $0.125 rate. Google undercuts them both by offering its cloud storage for $0.085 for the first 1 TB per month, with prices dropping further to $0.054 for the next 4,500 TB per month.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

This article was originally published on December 06, 2012