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Microsoft joins the 1c/GB/month cloud storage caper

'Cool Blobs' restore ASAP, 99 per cent of the time

Microsoft's joined the market for cold storage at a cent a gigabyte a month, with something called “Azure Cool Blobs”.

“Blob storage” is Redmond's special term for object storage and Azure's offered it for a while now. Now the bright blue cloud that Bill built has added a “cool” tier to the service that offers the US$0.01/GB/month price for the first 100 terabytes you store in certain Azure regions.

The service is notable because it gets Microsoft into competition with Amazon's Glacier cold storage and Google's Nearline, both of which already offer $0.01/GB/month plans.

Microsoft's variation is that it's offering object storage and suggesting it is “cool” rather than “cold”. Azure's definition of “cool” is data that's accessed about once a month. The Register understands that choice of words deliberately leaves the door open to a service more akin to Glacier in future.

Glacier's sold as super-redundant, but with gentle restore times that can run to hours. Cool Blobs are being sold on availability, not restore time. Redmond promises files stored as Cool Blobs will have 99 per cent availability, but restore ASAP when available. A more expensive tier can boost availability to 99.9 per cent. Microsoft's also proud of the fact the API for Cool Blobs is the vanilla Blob storage API, so you can use the new tier without having to rejig things.

The complexity of managing long-term archives and lots of data means cool and/or cold storage is an obvious use of the cloud, so Microsoft's entry to the market is to be expected. With all three of the leading public clouds now offering the service, let the price comparison and innovation race begin! ®

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