How Is Azure Storage Priced?
Azure Storage is a cloud computing service provided by Microsoft that allows you to store large amounts of data in the cloud. It is a highly durable, highly available service, supporting a wide range of data types and access patterns, from unstructured data such as files and media, to structured data in the form of tables and queues.
Azure Storage pricing operates on a pay-as-you-go model, with costs varying based on several parameters. These include the type of storage service used (Blob, File, Queue, Table, Managed Disk, Elastic SAN), the volume of data stored, and additional factors such as redundancy levels, performance tiers, and transaction rates. Costs can also depend on the geographic location of the data center where the data is stored.
Therefore, your total monthly bill for Azure Storage is a combination of storage costs, transaction fees, and data transfer charges, among other considerations.
This is part of a series of articles about Azure pricing
In this article:
- General Factors Affecting Azure Storage Pricing
- Azure Storage Pricing with Examples
General Factors Affecting Azure Storage Pricing
The location or region where your data is stored can have a significant impact on the cost of Azure Storage. This is because data transfer costs vary by region, and the cost of infrastructure and operations can also differ from one region to another. Therefore, it’s important to choose your storage location carefully, considering not just the cost, but also the proximity to your users, as this can affect the speed and latency of data access.
Azure Storage offers several redundancy options, each with its own cost implications:
- Locally redundant storage (LRS) is the least expensive option, as it replicates your data within a single data center.
- Zone-redundant storage (ZRS) is a bit more costly, as it replicates your data across multiple data centers in a single region.
- Geo-redundant storage (GRS) is even more expensive, as it replicates your data across regions.
- Read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS) is the most expensive option, as it provides read access to your data in the secondary region, in addition to replicating it across regions.
Azure Storage offers two performance tiers: standard and premium. The standard tier is designed for general-purpose storage and offers lower costs, while the premium tier is designed for high-performance scenarios and has a higher cost.
The choice between these two tiers depends largely on your specific needs. If your workloads are heavily I/O-bound and require low latency, the premium tier may be worth the extra cost. Otherwise, the standard tier may be sufficient.
Data Retrieval and Access Patterns
The way you retrieve and access your data can also affect the cost of Azure Storage. For example, frequent data retrieval can result in higher costs, especially if you’re using the cool or archive access tiers, which charge for data retrieval.
Similarly, certain access patterns, such as random access, can result in higher transaction costs. Therefore, it’s important to design your applications in a way that optimizes data retrieval and access patterns, to minimize costs.
Lastly, the number of transactions you perform can affect the cost of Azure Storage. This includes both read and write operations, as well as other types of transactions, such as listing and querying. Azure Storage charges on a per-transaction basis, so the more transactions you perform, the higher your costs will be. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your transaction rates and optimize your applications to minimize unnecessary transactions.
Azure Storage Pricing with Examples
Let’s break down the pricing for each Azure Storage service with examples.
1. Azure Blob Storage Pricing
Azure Blob Storage is a solution for storing large amounts of unstructured data such as text or binary data. The pricing for Blob Storage is based on the amount of data stored, the redundancy level, and the type of access (hot, cool, or archive).
For example, if your organization needs to store 1TB of data in a hot tier in the West US region with Locally Redundant Storage (LRS), the monthly cost would be around $15.33. Additionally, data transfer costs and operations costs would apply depending on the amount of data being read or written.
2. Azure Files Pricing
Azure Files offers fully managed file shares in the cloud that are accessible via the industry-standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. The pricing for Azure Files depends on the amount of data stored, the performance tier (premium or standard), and the redundancy level.
For instance, if you’re storing 1TB of data on the premium tier in the West US region with LRS, the monthly cost would be about $176. Remember, there would also be costs for operations and data transfer depending on usage.
3. Azure Queue Storage Pricing
Azure Queue Storage is a service for storing large numbers of messages that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. The pricing is determined by the amount of data stored, the redundancy level, and the number of operations performed.
As an example, if you’re storing 1GB of data in the West US region with LRS and performing 10,000 operations per month, the cost would be approximately $33 monthly. Note that additional costs would apply for data transfer outside the Azure region.
4. Azure Table Storage Pricing
Azure Table Storage is a service that stores structured NoSQL data in the cloud, providing a key/attribute store with a schema-less design. The pricing for this service is based on the amount of data stored, the redundancy level, and the number of transactions.
For example, if you’re storing 1TB of data in the West US region with LRS and performing 1,000,000 write operations per month, the monthly cost would be around $61. Remember, there would also be costs for data transfer depending on usage.
5. Azure Managed Disks Pricing
Azure Managed Disks are block-level storage volumes that are managed by Azure and used with Azure Virtual Machines. The pricing for Managed Disks is determined by the disk size, the disk type (SSD or HDD), and the redundancy level.
For instance, if you’re using a P50 (4TB) premium SSD in the West US region with LRS, the monthly cost would be about $495.57. Additionally, there would be costs for operations and data transfer depending on usage.
6. Azure Elastic SAN Pricing
Azure Elastic SAN is a scalable and high-performance storage service designed for Azure Virtual Machines. The pricing for this service is based on the disk size, the performance tier, and the redundancy level.
As an example, if you’re using a 1TB disk on the premium tier in the West US region with LRS, the monthly cost would be approximately $81. Note that there would also be costs for operations and data transfer depending on usage.
Related content: Read our guide to Azure spot pricing
Azure Storage Optimization with Spot by NetApp
Spot by NetApp provides everything that Azure users need to automate and continuously optimize their cloud storage and infrastructure. Spot’s automated solutions can improve resource utilization and efficiency on a variety of big data jobs, including workloads that take advantage of Azure’s many storage options.
Learn more about how Spot by NetApp can manage costs, autoscale workloads, and improve resource utilization for Microsoft Azure environments.