Amazon slashes cloud storage rates, adds new data retrieval options

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Amazon Inc. took price competition in cloud computing up another notch recently by announcing a major cost cut for S3 Standard Storage, its object service, that will kick into effect next month across 11 regions.

Customers that keep their data at the company’s Northern Virginia, Ohio and Oregon facilities will see a 23 percent reduction in their bills, while West Coast pricing is decreasing by up to 21 percent. And on the other side of the pond, S3 rates are slated to drop by as much as 24 percent.

The remaining data center clusters affected by the price slash are in Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul and Mumbai, where reductions will range from 16 percent to a massive 28 percent on the high end. These cuts are set to be joined by an even heftier 43 percent decrease to Amazon’s Glacier archiving service that will bring the price per gigabyte below half a cent per month. Furthermore, the provider is adding two new access options designed to help customers retrieve their cold data more easily.

Pulling a file from Glacier normally takes three to five hours due to the limited performance of the low-cost storage medium on which the service runs. Starting this week, however, customers can buy “Expedited capacity units” for $100 each that provide the ability to perform a high-speed retrieval every 100 seconds at a rate of 150 megabytes per second. Jeff Barr, the chief evangelist for AWS, said that the feature can reduce access times to as a little as minute. He believes that it will appeal to many organizations within the Glacier user base.

News agencies, as an example, could use Expedited units to quickly pull up a piece of footage from their video archives when it’s needed for a breaking story. And companies such as satellite operators that make their living selling multimedia content can take advantage of the feature to speed up asset delivery to customers.

The other access option that is rolling out for Glacier, meanwhile, does the exact opposite. Amazon is offering to reduce its data retrieval prices by 75 percent to $0.0025 per gigabyte for non-urgent transfers if customers throttle the download speed. This price cut and the other new changes introduced should help Jeff Bezos’s firm up the ante against rivals such as Google that are also working to bolster their storage offerings. Last month, the search giant launched an archiving service called Coldline that costs just seven-tenths of a cent per gigabyte per month plus five cents per gigabyte retrieved.

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