Stumped on Estimating Cloud Storage Costs for Backup? Here’s the Secret.

Here's how to understand the monthly fees cloud storage providers charge and how to weigh your options.

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When it comes to data transfer and storage, cloud storage providers vary widely in their pricing models. This comes down to a basic distinction: while some providers bill for every customer interaction, others charge just for storage services.

When considering what a cloud storage provider might charge, you should also keep in mind estimates for backup software and also recognize that the types of operations your business performs will impact your cloud storage usage and costs.

Key Cost Components

Cloud storage providers generally charge for the following four components:

  • Storage. The amount of data storage used by a company is the main cost component to which storage providers attach a fee. You might get a flat-rate bill for essentially unlimited storage or be charged for total usage.
  • Download It’s also typical for cloud storage providers to charge based on how much data is downloaded, so always check pricing with providers.
  • Uploads. While few cloud storage providers charge for data ingested, some do, so it’s best to confirm beforehand.
  • API requests. This is the least expensive component of cloud storage and refers to how many requests your backup software sends to the cloud storage provider.

Potential Cloud Storage Fee Structures

Different kinds of businesses can have different monthly fees depending on the amount of data they store, which of the four cost components above they use, and their selection of cloud service providers. Consider the following three types of small businesses using different providers, as well as a home office and a larger firm:

Type of business: small design office
Cloud storage provider: Backblaze B2
Storage: 5 TB at $0.005 per GB = $25 per month
Upload: Free
Download: 10 GB at $0.05 per GB = 0.50 per month
API requests: 10 GB at $0.004 per 10,000 GET operations = $0.01 per month; 10 GB at $0.004 per 10,000 PUT operations = $0.01 per month.
Average monthly bill: approximately $26

Type of business: small dental practice
Cloud storage provider: Wasabi
Storage: 5 TB at $0.0059 per GB = $29.50 per month
Upload: Free
Download: 10 GB at $0.04 per GB = $0.40 per month
API requests: Free
Average monthly bill: $30

Type of business: small law firm
Cloud storage provider: Google Cloud Storage
Storage: 5 TB at $0.01 per GB = $50 per month
Upload: Free
Download: 10 GB at $0.12 per GB = $1.20 per month
API Requests: 10 GB at $0.10 per 10,000 GET operations = 0.02 cents per month; 10 GB at $0.01 per 10,000 PUT operations = $0.01 per month
Average monthly bill: $51

Type of business: home office
Cloud storage provider: DreamHost DreamObjects
Storage: 1,000 GB at $0.025 per GB = $25 per month
Upload: Free
Download: 1 GB at $0.05 per GB = $0.05
API Requests: Free
Average monthly bill: $25

Type of business: large design firm
Cloud storage provider: Amazon S3
Storage: 10 TB at $0.023 per GB = $230 per month
Upload: Free
Download:  $0.09 per GB for 100 GB = $9 per month
API requests: 100 GB at $0.004 per 10,000 GET = $0.01 per month; $0.005 per 1,000 PUT for 100 GB = $0.01 per month
Average monthly bill: $240

It’s important to understand the monthly charges that various cloud storage providers charge for and to weigh your options depending on the needs of your business. By being armed with research on pricing structure before selecting a cloud storage provider, you’ll know exactly what you are paying for and what estimate to expect.


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JG Heithcock is GM at Retrospect, a StorCentric company. JG Heithcock has eighteen years of experience in the storage and backup industry. JG was the User Experience Architect at WildPackets (now Savvius) before coming back to recruit and manage the Engineering team for Retrospect at EMC. JG is one of the founding members of Retrospect, a StorCentric Company.