Around the Storage Block

5 hidden costs of cloud storage revealed


Cloud storage may seem cost effective with simple cost/capacity pricing models. But watch out for the 5 hidden costs revealed here. They can easily add up to more than the capacity costs.

5 hidden costs of cloud storage_blog.jpgA while back I wrote about the challenges customers were having in controlling cloud storage costs and how HPE Infosight can help in predicting costs and reigning them in. One culprit discussed was the lack of visibility as costs start to spiral out of control. Part of the reason for this is because that most people of not aware of a lot of hidden costs around cloud storage. You probably understand about capacity costs (costs/GB), but how many of you have heard about performance costs (cost/IOPS), snapshot (backup) costs, clone/copy costs, support costs, and data egress costs? Let’s examine these in more detail.

First, Capacity Costs (costs/GB/month)

OK this is not a hidden cost. This is the primary metric that everyone uses to compare cloud storage costs. But its only one factor, and in many cases can be exceeded by the other cost factors. But be careful, all capacity costs are not treated equally. Look at your cloud vendor and see if they force fit you into “t-shirt” sized capacities like 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. What if you need 600GB? You’re forced to pay for 1TB. HPE Cloud Volumes solves this problem by allowing you to configure exactly the capacity you need AND also allows you to resize for more or less capacity when you need to.

Now on to the hidden costs. . .

1. Performance Costs (costs/IOPS/month)

Performance is NOT a given with cloud storage. And enterprise applications need guaranteed performance. IOPS (Input/output Operations Per Second) determine how fast your applications can read and write data to storage. Some cloud storage bundles a certain amount of IOPS performance which on the surface is good. However, much like capacity, some lack the ability to configure for more or less performance. So you either end up paying too much or provide insufficient performance for your applications. HPE Cloud Volumes has options to bundle IOPS performance with our General Purpose Flash tier, but it allows you to provision more if you need it or provision the exact performance you need with our Premium Flash tier.

2. Snapshot (backup) Costs (costs/GB/month)

You know you need to backup and protect your data, but how much is this actually costing you?  Some snapshot approaches are much more efficient than others by tracking and storing only the incremental changed data vs. entire copies. HPE Cloud Volumes has this capability giving you drastic savings in snapshot costs (100x or more). Another benefit is the snapshots are completed in a matter of seconds with our approach vs. minutes or hours, reducing your backup windows as well as your RPO (recovery point objectives) and RTO (recovery time objectives).

3. Clone (Copy) Costs (costs/GB/month)

The ability to spin up and down and burst workloads is a great attribute of cloud. To best take advantage of this, you will need multiple copies of data to handle the additional resource burst.  This can be very slow and costly with traditional cloud storage. Data is copied back and forth from block and object storage and you end up paying for EVERY additional copy you make. With HPE Cloud Volumes zero-copy clone feature, you can have as many copies as you like for FREE! You only pay for new or changed data that written to the cloned volumes. This can give you’re a savings of 10x or more compared to traditional cloud storage.

4. Support Costs (fixed vs. variable)

When problems arise, most enterprise customer don’t want to dig through forum posts looking for solutions. You want someone to call who can answer and fix your issue(s). Because of this, I recommend not only looking at support costs, but also the quality of the support engineers.  HPE Cloud Volumes only uses highly trained Level 3 support engineers to help resolve any issues you run into. They also have access to HPE Infosight that uses AI-driven predictive analytics to predict and prevent problems and makes intelligent recommendations to optimize your hybrid cloud environment.

5. Data Egress Costs (costs/GB/month)

This is one hidden cost everyone should learn more about. Data egress is the costs of transferring your data OUT of your cloud provider. If you are looking to do hybrid cloud or multi-cloud (most recent research shows that more than 84% of people want multi-cloud and 58% want hybrid cloud*), it will require you to transfer data back on-premises or to another cloud provider, expect to pay a hefty premium for this from most cloud providers. With HPE Cloud Volumes, we do not have any data egress charges. However, since your cloud provider is sending data out of their cloud and into the HPE cloud, some data egress charges will show up on your cloud provider’s bill.  The good thing is our connections are setup such that you get a highly reduced rate for data egress charges.

When you’re ready to calculate your cloud storage costs. . .

As you can see capacity costs are one of six factors that add up into your total cloud storage costs. Now that I’ve exposed the other five hidden costs of cloud storage, you can sharpen your pencils and load up your Excel tables with formulas. But how exactly do you calculate these other hidden costs?

Not to worry, HPE has taken care of this for you and created a Cloud Storage Cost Calculator that calculates and compares all the hidden cloud storage costs for HPE Cloud Volumes, AWS EBS, and Azure Managed Disks. Head to my next post for a quick tutorial on our new Cloud Storage Cost Calculator.

Want to learn more?

Doug Ko_HPE Storage.jpgMeet Around the Storage Block blogger Doug Ko, HPE Storage. Doug is responsible for cloud strategy and go-to-market at HPE. His expertise is in data storage and cloud computing and he is interested in the role of cloud in enabling digital transformation in enterprises and service providers.

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