Multiple methods of high performance storage options are available from a variety of vendors and offer an array of benefits [link to published version of “What Are the Benefits of Cloud Storage?”]. Here, we’ll discuss three primary storage systems: object, file, and block.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers object storage as its “simple storage service (S3)” with a variety of price points. Microsoft Azure provides object storage under the name of “Blob storage.” It has Premium, Hot, Cool, and Archive performance tiers with pay-as-you-go capabilities and volume discounts. Google cloud designates four performance tiers: Standard, Nearline, Coldline, and Archive. All services include versioning, encryption and fine-grained security with lifecycle management, archiving features and specific methods of handling infrequently accessed data.
Azure offers file storage under the service name “files” with the same performance tiers as blob storage, including additional charges for metadata backup and optional snapshots. AWS’ Elastic File System (EFS) includes a managed petabyte-scale NFS service with multi-availability zone redundancy in Infrequent and Standard modes, as well as auto-tier options. Google cloud’s Filestore is another managed NFS service with three options tiers: HDD, SSD, and High-Scale SDD.
AWS features a unique file storage server: FSx for Windows or FSx for Lustre. This managed file service is used by applications that may need specific integration with storage servers. Several performance and redundancy configurations are available. Azure and Google Cloud currently have no comparable services.
Azure uses its “Azure managed disks” service for block storage. It is designed for VM attachment and has Ultra, Premium, and Standard SSD tiers with an additional HDD tier. Azure also has page blobs that are 512-byte long pages built for random read/write operations. They are available in SSD and HDD-based performance tiers. AWS outfits its elastic block service with a variety of IOPS at multiple latency levels. Google Cloud provides persistent disk block storage at eight different tiers—each with performance and reliability parameters, as well as zonal and regional options.
Because cloud service pricing can become complex, review each service’s price breakdown. Generally, Google Cloud offers the most affordable solution for object and file storage services, while Azure is the least expensive option for block storage. AWS places in the middle range for each storage type.
As outlined above, the three major cloud providers offer multiple high performance storage options. Before committing to a single provider, consider creating a detailed pricing model to better understand data storage in each of the three clouds.