Azure Cost Management

Azure Blob Storage Pricing: The Complete Guide

What is Azure Blob Storage?

Azure Blob Storage is Microsoft’s cloud-based object storage service. It is primarily used for unstructured data, such as images, documents, files, video and audio, log files, etc. Blob storage can be accessed from anywhere via HTTP or HTTPS. The cost of this service depends on your storage account type, your storage tiers, and what redundancy your data needs. Understanding Blob Storage pricing can help you properly integrate blob expenses into your overall Azure cost management.

In this article, we’ll cover how various Blob Storage options affect your costs, how to calculate your expected spending, and what aspects to keep in mind for cost optimization.  In addition, we’ll show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help reduce your storage costs on the Azure cloud.

In this article, you will learn:

Azure Blob Storage Pricing for Common Scenarios

To understand what kind of pricing you can expect in Blob Storage, it helps to see what the cost breakdowns are. When you implement Blob Storage, you are charged separately for storage, data operations, and data transfer.

In particular, service costs depend on the following factors:

  • Region and availability zone of storage
  • Amount of data stored (volume discounts are applied in some cases)
  • Storage tier (premium, hot, cool, archive)
  • Redundancy level (LRS, ZRS, etc.)
  • Reserved storage (pay-per-use, 1 year, 3 years)
  • Operations performed on the data
  • Data transfer volumes

Below we show Azure prices updated as to the time of this writing, but prices can change from time to time. Also, naturally we cannot show all possible pricing combinations. Please consult the official Azure Blob Storage pricing page for full, up-to-date details. When planning storage costs you can also use the Azure TCO Calculator, to ensure optimal usage and reduce overall billing.

Per-GB Storage Costs in Azure Blob Storage

Below we show prices for the West US 2 availability zone, with a GPv2 storage account, pay-per-use, for the most common redundancy options.

Note that in the Hot Tier only, there is variable cost depending on the volume of data stored.

Redundancy Option Premium Tier Hot Tier Cool Tier Archive Tier
LRS

 $0.15 / GB

$0.0184 / GB (first 50TB)

$0.0177 / GB (51-500 TB)

$0.0170 / GB (500+ TB)

 $0.01 / GB

$0.00099 / GB

ZRS

N/A

$0.023 / GB (first 50TB)

$0.0221 / GB (51-500 TB)

$0.0212 / GB (500+ TB)

$0.0125 / GB

N/A

GRS

N/A

$0.0368 / GB (first 50TB)

$0.0354 / GB (51-500 TB)

$0.0339 / GB (500+ TB)

 $0.02 / GB

$0.00299 / GB

Reserved Storage

Microsoft provides preferred pricing if you are willing to reserve blob storage for one or three years (like reserved pricing for Azure VMs).

Below is a combined pricing table showing reservation options, redundancy options and storage tier options. The pricing shown is for reserving 100TB per month. If you reserve 1PB (Petabyte) per month, prices are considerably lower.

 

1-YEAR RESERVED

 

3-YEAR RESERVED

Redundancy

Hot

Cool

Archive Hot

Cool

Archive

LRS

$11,545

$840

$91

$1,244

$676

$84

ZRS

$1,932

$1,050

N/A

$1,555

$845

N/A

GRS

$3,090

$1,680

$273

$2,488

$1,352

$252

Data Transfer Costs

The following table shows the ingress and egress costs for blob storage redundancy options and archive tiers.

 

DATA RETRIEVAL (per GB)

 

DATA WRITE (per GB)

Redundancy

Hot

Cool

Archive Hot

Cool

Archive

LRS

Free

$0.01

$0.02

Free

Free

Free

ZRS N/A

$0.01

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

GRS

Free

$0.01

$0.02

Free

$0.005

N/A

Charges for Data Operations

Azure charges separately for the following data operations, with pricing calculated per 10,000 operations:

  • Write operations
  • List and create container operations
  • Read operations
  • Archive high priority read
  • All other operations (except Delete, which is free)

Here are the price ranges for the above operations, per redundancy option:

Per-Operation Costs for LRS Redundancy

 

Premium

Hot

Cool

Archive

Write operations

$0.0175

$0.05

$0.10

$0.10

List and Create Container Operations

$0.05

$0.05

$0.05

$0.05

Read operations

Archive High Priority Read

$0.0014

$0.004

$0.01

$5

$50

All other operations

$0.0014

$0.004

$0.004

$0.004

Per-Operation Costs for ZRS Redundancy

  Premium

Hot

Cool

Archive

Write operations

$0.0233

$0.0625

$0.10

N/A

List and Create Container Operations

$0.067

$0.0625

$0.0625

N/A

Read operations

Archive High Priority Read

$0.0019

$0.004

$0.01

N/A

All other operations

$0.0019

$0.004

$0.004

N/A

Per-Operation Costs for GRS Redundancy

  Premium Hot

Cool

Archive

Write operations

N/A

$0.10

$0.20

$0.20

List and Create Container Operations

N/A

$0.10

$0.10

$0.10

Read operations

Archive High Priority Read

N/A

$0.004

$0.01

$5

$50

All other operations

N/A

$0.004

$0.004

$0.004

Azure Blob Storage: Aspects of the Service Dimensions and How They Impact Pricing

To better understand how you can optimize pricing and the impacts that configurations have on your deployments, you need to understand what your options are and what they provide. 

Azure Storage Accounts

Blob storage is offered as part of several types of storage accounts on Azure. General Purpose v2 (GPv2) storage accounts are the current, recommended type, which supports all types of Azure storage—blobs, files, queues and tables.

There are also several legacy account types which you may be using in older deployments: GPv--year Storage Account (also supports all storage types), Block Blob Storage Account, and Blob Storage Account. The last two are legacy storage account types that only allow you to use blob storage, not any other storage services, within the account.

How does it impact Azure Blob Storage pricing?
Microsoft is encouraging Azure users to move to the current storage account type, GPv2, by offering the most competitive storage pricing on that type. If possible, use a GPv2 storage account. If not, consult Azure pricing to see which differential pricing applies to your legacy storage account.

Types of Blob Storage

Azure provides three types of blob storage:

  • Block blobs—store text and binary data, up to about 4.7TB
  • Append blobs—like block blobs but are optimized for data append scenarios such as logging.
  • Page blobs—store random access files up to 8TB. Used for virtual hard drive (VHD) files that can serve as disks for Azure virtual machines.

When most people refer to Azure Blob Storage, they refer to the first two types, which are general purpose object storage.

How does it impact Azure Blob Storage pricing?
Microsoft provides one set of prices for block blobs and append blobs, and has separate pricing for page blobs. These are based on the same underlying technology but are used as storage disks attached to Azure VMs. In this article we refer to pricing for block blobs and append blobs.

Blob Storage Tiers

There are four Azure tiers, letting you move data to a lower storage tier if you need to access it less quickly or less often.

  • Premium—for sensitive applications with high throughput.
  • Hot—for ordinary, frequently accessed data, with 99.9% availability. 
  • Cool—for less frequently accessed data that is likely to be stored at least a month.
  • Archive—intended for data that is likely to be stored for at least 180 days, where you can tolerate some retrieval latency.

How does it impact Azure Blob Storage pricing?
Tiers that are lower down (from Premium down to Archive) have progressively lower per-GB storage costs, but higher data access costs.

Redundancy Options

Azure Blob Storage offers five redundancy options.  

  • Locally redundant storage (LRS)—provides 11 9’s of durability and fault tolerance for storage within one Azure datacenter.
  • Zone-Redundant Storage (ZRS)—provides 12 9’s of durability and replicates data across three Availability Zones (AZ) in one region.
  • Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS)—provides 16 9’s of durability and data is stored in a primary and secondary region, with failover if the primary region fails.
  • Read Access Geo-Redundant Storage (RA-GRS)—replicates data to a secondary zone in another region, with access to a secondary location even if the primary location is still alive.
  • Geo-zone redundant storage (GZRS)—combines ZRS with GRS. Data is replicated across three availability zones in both a primary region and a secondary region. This option is only available in GPv2 storage accounts.
  • Read-access geo-zone-redundant storage (RA-GZRS)—like GZRS but enables read access from either replicated region. This option is only available in GPv2 storage accounts.

How does it impact Azure Blob Storage pricing?
A higher level of redundancy means higher pricing across almost all billable aspects of the service—per-GB storage cost, data use cost, and charges for data operations.

Reducing Azure Storage Costs with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides storage efficiencies, including thin provisioning, data compression, and deduplication, as well as data tiering, reducing the storage footprint and costs by up to 70%.

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