Cost analysis: Storage costs in Azure

Following on from my previous post about storage costs in AWS, I had a few people say “Hey Kirk, liked the post, could you show this for Azure please?”. So here it is.

Let’s take the same business scenario I worked on last week (5 x MySQL Servers) and use Azure services instead of AWS, here’s what it looks like from an architectural view:

The business I was working with uses AWS, however, I wasn’t that surprised to find that the same challenges exist in Azure:

  1. Cost – Storage represents 94% of the MySQL estate cost
  2. Performance – Azure provides disks with varying performance characteristics. The larger the disk, the higher the performance. Therefore with smaller workload footprints, you would purchase more capacity that required to meet your performance needs.
  3. Cloning – Azure stores snapshots in blob storage. However, in Azure, there is a limitation of a maximum snapshot size of 10TB per storage account. This would rule out the use of snapshots in Azure for this particular customer (as their DB is just over 10TB).

So let’s do the appropriate cost modelling:

From the modelling, we can see that the Azure storage cost represents 94% of the MySQL estate cost, pretty much identical to AWS as a percentage, but overall more expensive (AWS:£5503/mo vs Azure:£6190/mo).

So, it’s no secret that I work for a company that develops a cloud storage platform that overlays native premium/standard storage in Azure and adds storage efficiencies such as deduplication and compression, plus the added advantage of instant cloning, with no additional space consumed.

So here’s how that same scenario looks with the ONTAP Cloud storage running:

The first thing you’ll notice is that you no longer have to manage to premium storage disks. ONTAP takes care of this for you. That means no worrying about raid types, capacity or performance on a host-to-host basis. Win.

The second benefit is reduced costs. ONTAP brings deduplication and compression to the party. Your mileage will vary depending on your data’s suitability for storage efficiencies but it’s not uncommon to see >30% space savings. Win.

If we apply that logic to this scenario, the resulting storage expenditure will be reduced from £5,830/mo to £4,180/mo. That’s a saving of £1,650/mo representing a 28% reduction of the overall expenditure.

But wait, this all assumes that the customer is not using the instant cloning functionality that ONTAP has. This scenario has two servers (dev/test) that use copies from the main prod database (not uncommon).

So what does this look like if the business was to use both storage efficiencies and cloning for two dev/test databases?

The storage costs have reduced even further, from the original £5,830/mo to £2,310/mo, representing a saving of just under 40%. In addition, the customer now benefits from instant on demand cloning of their databases.

So this is looking pretty impressive, but of course, ONTAP has a licencing cost, what would our final savings look like once we take that into account? I’m basing this on the pay & go option (most expensive) over 12 months:

ONTAP Cloud Pay & Go (DS13V2) / 12 months = $14,731.20 ~ £11,567.30/year

Therefore the customer would be in line for a total saving of £30,672.70/year, saving almost 44% of their overall Azure cost, pretty impressive!

This solves the cost problem for the customer and provides the capability to perform instant cloning of their databases.

Not only that, ONTAP cloud has APIs, PowerShell, Kubernetes and CLI management, meaning that it can be seamlessly integrated into their developer toolsets and processes.

So, the customer is now able to rapidly develop in Azure with on-demand clones and further reduce their storage footprint with storage efficiencies.

So, it’s a no-brainer – try it today – free of charge for 30 days here.

Cost analysis: Storage costs in AWS

Earlier this week I was working with a cloud business to review their expenditure in AWS. The business had advised me of 3 challenges around their storage:

  1. Cost – EBS storage represented over 90% of the MySQL estate cost.
  2. Performance – The business was regularly purchasing more storage capacity than they needed (AWS EBS provides a baseline performance of 3 IOPS per GiB).
  3. Cloning – Cloning large 10TB databases resulted in reduced performance of the destination EBS volume whilst the blocks were rehydrated from the source S3 snapshot. It has taken 5 days in the past until full throughput was available to the system.

This was a really interesting experience that I’ve learnt a lot from, so I decided to take it further and do some modelling of the costs using 5 x MySQL servers each with 11TB of EBS storage attached:



In my modelling, the storage cost represented 94.3% of the total cost of running the 5 MySQL servers.

Now it’s no secret that I work for a company that develops a cloud storage platform that overlays native EBS storage and adds storage efficiencies such as deduplication and compression, plus the added advantage of instant cloning with no performance warm up time.

So, here’s how that same architecture looks with the ONTAP Cloud storage running:

This first thing you’ll notice is that you no longer have to manage the EBS volumes, ONTAP takes care of this for you. That means no worrying about raid types, capacity or performance on a host-to-host basis. Win.

The second benefit is reduced costs. ONTAP brings deduplication and compression to the party. Your mileage will vary depending on your data’s suitability for storage efficiencies but it’s not uncommon to see >30% space savings. Win.

If we apply that logic to this scenario, our resulting storage expenditure will be reduced from £5,188.92/mo to £3,329.56/mo. That’s a saving of £1859.36/mo!

But wait, this all assumes that I am not using the instant cloning functionality that ONTAP has. This scenario has 2 development servers (dev/test) that currently use EBS snapshots (S3). This is costly as each clone of the 10TB source database results in the full space consumption and costs from AWS. In comparison, clones created with ONTAP consume no additional space, therefore the cost of clones is significantly reduced. If the customer changes anything within the clone, those writes are the overall storage cost – again, significantly less that doing a full copy based clone from EBS to S3 back to EBS.

So what does this now look like if we start to use storage efficiencies AND instant cloning for the two dev/text databases?

The storage cost has reduced even further, from our original £5,188.92/mo to £1997.73/mo! That’s a saving of £3,191.19/mo or £38,294.28/year.

That’s all well and good, but of course ONTAP has a licencing cost, what would our final savings look like when we take that into account. I’m basing this on the pay & go licencing (most expensive option) over 12 months:

ONTAP Cloud Pay & Go (R3.2xlarge) / 12 months = $19,307 ~ £15,183.22/year

Therefore, the customer would be in line for a total saving of £23,111.06/year, saving almost 35% of their overall AWS cost, pretty impressive!

This solves the cost problem for the business I was working with, and also fixes the performance issue that they currently experience when working with native AWS cloning.

Not only that, ONTAP cloud has APIs, PowerShell, Kubernetes and CLI management, meaning that it can be seamlessly integrated into their developer toolsets and processes.

So, the customer is now able to rapidly develop in AWS with on-demand clones and further reduce their storage footprint with storage efficiencies.

So, it’s a no-brainer – try it today – free of charge for 30 days here.