November 16, 2023

A Comprehensive guide to navigating AWS Storage Costs

3 min read

A Comprehensive guide to navigating AWS Storage Costs
A Comprehensive guide to navigating AWS Storage Costs
A Comprehensive guide to navigating AWS Storage Costs

Breaking down the costs across storage services offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) by itself is a challenge. Despite the numerous pricing charts and webpages that exist on the internet piecing it together to understand what it costs your businesses can prove difficult. In this blog, we try to simplify the different storage services (EBS, EFS, S3, and S3 Glacier,) and the costs to help you navigate offerings and their price points with ease. 

Deciphering Amazon Storage Pricing

Understanding the costs of storage services by Amazon can be a herculean task, and we're here to make it easier.

Here’s a simplified summary of the most critical pricing points for Amazon EBS, S3, Glacier, and Amazon EFS that will help you make an informed decision.

Please note: Unless specified otherwise, all the pricing information put forth in this piece is for the US East (N. Virginia) region, being a common reference point. Amazon's pricing is dynamic, so always make sure to check the official pricing page to stay acquainted with the latest pricing options.

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) – For High Volumes

EBS is like a precision tool for heavy lifting that offers block storage. If a storage option where processing high volumes of data high-speed is a priority, then this is one of the best options. EBS delivers block data on persistent volumes attached to Amazon EC2 instances. This is ideal for workloads requiring persistent storage accessible by single EC2 instances, such as relational and NoSQL databases, data warehousing, and stream processing.

Amazon EBS Pricing

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) pricing is reliant on the type of storage you use. Here's a detailed breakdown:

  • General purpose SSD (gp2) volumes: $0.10 per GB-month provisioned

  • Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volumes: $0.125 per GB-month provisioned

  • Throughput optimized HDD (st1) volumes: $0.045 per GB-month

  • Cold HDD (sc1) Volumes: $0.025 per GB-month

  • EBS Snapshots: $0.05 per GB-month

Additional charges:

  • For general-purpose SSD Volumes, there's an additional charge of $0.065 per provisioned IOPS month

  • For EBS snapshots, there's a charge of $0.01 for data transfer to the US East region, or $0.02 for data transfer to any other region

Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) – For Multiple Users

EFS, on the other hand, is a multi-user solution. Visualize a shared drive that can be accessed by multiple computers simultaneously – that’s EFS. It is scalable to petabytes and offers shared access to data across thousands of Amazon EC2 instances. Use cases include lift and shift scenarios, content management systems, dev/test environments, database backups, and persistent storage for Docker and Kubernetes.

EFS Pricing

Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) offers different storage classes, each with specific pricing:

  • Standard storage: $0.30 per GB-month, suitable for active file system workloads

  • Infrequent access storage: $0.025 per GB-month, with an additional fee when you read from or write to a file

  • Infrequent access requests: $0.01 per GB transferred, with no charges for bandwidth or requests. There's a baseline rate of 50 KB/s per GB

  • Provisioned Throughput: This option costs $6.00 per MB/second of provisioned throughput per month. You pay per MB-month, and you separately provision the throughput of your file system

Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) – For Versatility

S3 is like a vast digital closet in the cloud. It's the go-to storage solution for literally anything: pictures, important documents, videos! It's incredibly reliable and can handle unlimited data. It boasts 99.999999999% durability and unlimited scalability, making it suitable for backup, archiving, user-generated content, and data lakes for big data scenarios.

S3 Storage Pricing

Amazon S3 pricing is indeed complex but here’s a simplified breakdown:

  • For S3 Standard Tier, storage pricing per GB ranges from $0.023 for the first 50 TB/month to $0.021 for over 500 TB/month

  • For S3 intelligent-tiering, it's the same as the Standard Tier, with an additional $0.0125 per GB

  • S3 Standard IA costs $0.0125 per GB-month

Additional charge for S3 intelligent-tiering:

  • There's an extra fee of $0.0025 per 1,000 objects stored, as this tier automatically optimizes costs for dynamic data access patterns.


  • For the S3 standard, the cost is $0.005 per 1,000 PUT, COPY, POST, LIST requests and $0.0004 for GET, SELECT, and any other requests.

  • For S3 intelligent-tiering, the charges remain the same, except for lifecycle transition requests, that come at a cost of $0.01

  • For S3 standard-IA, it comes to $0.01 for PUT, COPY, POST, LIST requests, and $0.001 for GET, SELECT, and any other requests

  • Data retrieval requests in all Amazon S3 tiers come free

S3 Data Transfer 
  • Data transfer costs are variable as it depends on the destination. For example, when transferring data from the internet there’s no charge up to 1 GB/month, but for greater volumes, it costs $0.09/ GB

  • There’s no charge for transferring data to Amazon CloudFront

  • For data transfer to other AWS regions, it’s $0.02 per GB, except for transferring to Amazon EBS in the US East (N. Virginia) which costs $0.01 per GB

Amazon S3 Glacier – The Cold Storage

There are times when you have data that you don't need immediately or that often, but is important to be kept safely. That's where S3 Glacier comes in. Amazon S3 Glacier is the cold storage tier of Amazon S3, offering cost-effective cloud storage for archiving and long-term backups with additional charges for data retrieval.

Amazon Glacier Pricing

Amazon Glacier is all about cost-effective storage. It starts at $0.004 per GB. However, there are additional charges for requests and data transfers. Here's a breakdown of the costs for different access options:

  • Expedited: $0.02 per GB for data scanned in a query, and $0.03 per GB for data returned in a query

  • Standard: $0.008 per GB for data scanned in a query, while $0.01 per GB for data returned in a query

  • Bulk: $0.001 per GB for data scanned in a query, and $0.0025 per GB for data returned in a query

Amazon FSx for Lustre - For Swift Cloud Computing

Amazon FSx for Lustre is a high-performance, fully-managed file system designed to accelerate data-intensive workloads and provide seamless access to the storage and data processing capabilities you need. It's built on the powerful Lustre file system, a trusted and proven solution for high-performance computing. Whether you're involved in data analytics, machine learning, scientific simulations, or any other data-centric task, Amazon FSx for Lustre is engineered to meet your demands for speed, scalability, and cost-efficiency. 

Amazon FSx for Lustre Pricing

Persistent file systems

  • For 125 MB/s/TiB, the cost is $0.073 per GB-month (effective cost: $0.145 per GB-month)

  • For 250 MB/s/TiB, the cost is $0.105 per GB-month (effective cost: $0.210 per GB-month)

  • If you require 500 MB/s/TiB, it's priced at $0.170 per GB-month (effective cost: $0.340 per GB-month)

  • For the highest performance at 1,000 MB/s/TiB, the cost is $0.300 per GB-month (effective cost: $0.600 per GB-month)

Scratch file systems

Scratch file systems come at a lower cost

  • For 200 MB/s/TiB, it's priced at $0.070 per GB-month (effective cost: $0.140 per GB-month)

Backup Storage

If you need backup storage, it's priced at $0.025 per GB-month (effective cost: $0.050 per GB-month)

**Please note that these costs assume typical savings of 50% when data compression is enabled.

Amazon Windows FSx File Server - For Seamless Communication

Amazon FSx for Windows File Server is a powerful solution for businesses and applications that rely on Windows-specific software and require seamless access to the Windows file system in the cloud. It's like having a magic translator that ensures all your Windows software talks to each other in the cloud. Additionally, it takes care of all the complicated setup and maintenance tasks that come with running a Windows file server. This means you can have your Windows software up and running on AWS without all the fuss and at a reasonable cost.

Amazon Windows FSx File Server Pricing
  • SSD Storage Capacity: If you're using Solid State Drive (SSD) storage, the cost is typically $0.065 per GB-month. However, with data deduplication enabled, this cost is reduced to $0.130 per GB-month.

  • HDD Storage Capacity: For Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage, the regular cost is $0.0065 per GB-month, and with data deduplication enabled, it's $0.013 per GB-month.

  • SSD IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second): If you require additional IOPS, there's a cost of $0.012 per IOPS-month. This can be relevant for applications with high-performance requirements.

  • Throughput Capacity: For high throughput needs, the cost is typically $2.200 per MBps-month. This is important for workloads that demand high data transfer speeds.

  • Backup Storage: If you choose to enable backups of your file system, there may be additional costs. Backup storage typically incurs a cost of $0.025 per GB-month. With data deduplication enabled, this cost increases to $0.050 per GB-month.

AWS Storage Gateway - The Bridge

AWS Storage Gateway is a bridge between on-premises environments and cloud storage in Amazon Web Services (AWS). It lets organizations seamlessly integrate their existing on-premises applications and infrastructure with AWS's scalable and cost-effective cloud storage solutions.

Amazon S3 File Gateway Pricing

The pricing structure for those using Amazon S3 File Gateway:

  • Storage Pricing: Your storage is stored and billed as Amazon S3 objects. The exact cost implication is reliant on the amount of data you keep

  • Request Pricing: For data written to AWS storage by your gateway, you'll be charged at a rate of $0.01 per GB†. File storage in Amazon S3 is billed as Amazon S3 requests

Amazon FSx File Gateway Pricing

The costs for those utilizing Amazon FSx File Gateway:

  • Gateway Pricing: The cost for the gateway itself is $0.69 per hour.

  • Storage Pricing: Your storage is stored and billed as Amazon FSx for Windows capacity. This means that the cost is based on the capacity you use.

Let’s go over a few effective strategies to help manage your AWS storage costs the right way:

Make the right storage class decision: Selecting the right storage class that best aligns with your data access patterns is one of the most important things in the process. Use AWS' intelligent-tiering for automatic optimization

Leverage data lifecycle policies: Deploy data lifecycle policies to automatically transition data to cost-effective storage classes when it's not frequently accessed.

Constant regulation: Regularly monitor and evaluate your storage usage and cost implications using AWS Cost Explorer or third-party tools. Stay up to date on trends to make informed decisions. To partner with the best for effective monitoring and evaluation, consider the services offered by Amnic and get a more in-depth understanding of your cloud operations.

Implement Amazon S3 Select and Glacier Select: These features let you only retrieve the data you require, potentially cutting down retrieval costs. Select data retrieval lets you only pay for what you use.

Data Deduplication and Compression: Use data deduplication and compression techniques to bring down storage needs. This reflects well in volume minimization of the data stored, also impacting the outlays directly

Implement Object Tagging: Use object-tagging to label and compartmentalize your data, which can aid you in tracking and managing costs more effectively. It acts like labels for your storage items enabling you to easily find what you need.

Right-Size Your EBS Volumes: Adjust your EBS volumes to match your workload requirements, and avoid overprovisioning. Over and above performance optimization, it aids in keeping costs in check.

Concluding thoughts... 

Navigating AWS storage costs right

Amnic delivers a cloud cost observability platform that helps measure and rightsize cloud costs continuously. It is agentless, secure and allows users to get started in five minutes at no cost. 

Amnic provides a suite of features such as cost explorer, K8s visibility, custom dashboards, benchmarking, anomaly detection, alerts, K8s optimization and more. Businesses save 25-30% on their cloud costs, even on pre-optimized environments. 

Amnic provides precise recommendations across network, storage and compute, based on your cloud infrastructure to identify high costs and industry best practices to reduce them. With Amnic, organizations can successfully build a roadmap towards lean cloud infrastructure and build a culture of cost optimization among their teams.  

Visit to learn more about how you can get started on your cloud cost optimization journey. 

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