Cloudflare R2 storage service targets Amazon S3 • The Register

Cloudflare announced its R2 storage service on Tuesday with a promise that it will store customer data without holding them hostage.

R2 Storage stands for “Really Requestable,” “Ridicully Reliable,” and several other ambitious formulations endorsed by marketing editors. It is designed to be compatible with S3, Amazon Web Service’s simple storage service, at least at the API level.

Where R2 diverges from S3 is its approach to billing – that and not yet publicly available. In July, Cloudflare tackled AWS ” huge ‘egress fees – what AWS charges customers to move their own data off of its servers – by charging $ 0.015 per GB of data and a limited egress fee. .

AWS responded at the time by defending its need to recoup its investment in the network and noting that it had “made eight price cuts related to data transfer (egress) in the past 11 years.”

But Cloudflare continues to put pressure on pricing, perhaps having sensed an opportunity to flip Jeff Bezos’ famous saying, “Your margin is my opportunity,” to the company that first applied it.

Prince not interested in the charm of Amazon

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince challenged AWS ‘cost reduction demand on Monday evening, noting via Twitter that the cloud giant’s cost-cutting scissors have rusted: “Fun fact: AWS hasn’t cut the price of S3 since December 2016.”

AWS has scaled down a different service, Glacier, this year. And the company added S3 functionality during this period, such as strong consistency. So it’s not as if AWS has rested idly on its annual execution rate of $ 59 billion; it’s just not meant to be the low price leader.

Characterizing the exit fee as a tax that does not translate into value for customers, product manager Greg McKeon argued that R2 demonstrates Cloudflare’s commitment to the Bandwidth Alliance, an anti-exit fee consortium, by providing free transfers for storage objects, regardless of the request rate.

“Throughput bandwidth is often the highest load for developers using object storage and is also the most difficult load to predict,” McKeon said in a blog post. “Eliminating it is a huge victory for open access to data stored in the cloud.”

To turn its declared victory into a loss for AWS and other competitors that support exit fees, Cloudflare provides developers with a free migration service that works with any other S3-compatible storage service.

McKeon insists that R2’s low price is not offset by the costs shifting elsewhere. “Cloudflare R2 will be priced at $ 0.015 per GB of data stored per month, which is significantly cheaper than the major legacy providers,” he said, adding that there would be no charge for operations. infrequent storage – less than 10 requests per second – and that R2 charges less per operation than other large vendors.

Better yet from a customer perspective, R2 appears to be even simpler than Amazon Simple Storage Service and its not-so-simple tiering system. According to McKeon, R2 manages data prioritization to maximize performance during peak loads and to avoid costs associated with rarely requested objects.

“We got rid of complex manual tiering policies in favor of what developers always wanted from object storage: unlimited scale at the lowest possible cost,” he explained.

Everyone is shaking

In an article published on Hacker News, Ben Schaechter, co-founder of cloud cost analysis company Vantage, suggested that Cloudflare had the opportunity to shake things up.

“The amount of effort required to understand and factor in S3 Intelligent-Tiering is somewhat mind-boggling, so getting rid of all of that (and the associated fees) would be really good and TheWayThingsShouldBe ™ for the customer,” he said. declared. “On top of that, most users don’t even know S3 Intelligent-Tiering exists, so it would be great if Cloudflare manages it automatically.”

During a phone call with The register, Schaechter said that S3 offers four different storage classes, and most customers use the standard tier, which is the most expensive. But AWS, he said, offers a service called Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering that customers can pay for to have AWS monitor file access patterns and move them to a different storage class with a price structure. more favorable.

“It’s not very well known, it’s complicated, and you have to pay extra,” he said. “What Cloudflare is saying up front is that not only can we do it for less, but we will do it automatically on your behalf.”

Schaechter, who previously worked at AWS and DigitalOcean, acknowledged that AWS is known in the industry for its high exit fees. “Amazon,” he said, “can order these fees because they have a suite of 250 other services that you don’t get elsewhere.”

Some AWS customers, he said, may be able to easily switch to Cloudflare while others, especially large organizations, may not be able to easily lift and move their operations. How it all plays out, he said, will depend on how R2 actually performs once it is released to the public.

“It’s not all about price,” he said. “People are willing to pay for better performance.”

Cloudflare R2 is currently under development and interested parties can sign up for a waitlist for early access. ®


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