AWS S3 and IBM Object Storage- which one is better ?

IBM object storage is based on OpenStack Swift technology. You can use Swift APIs or one of the language clients to control Object Storage objects. Swift functions as a distributed, API-accessible storage platform that can be integrated directly into applications or used to store files like VM images, backups, and archives as well as photos and videos.

Since, IBM’s Object Storage is based on the Swift, all the APIs which work with Swift work in IBM’s Object Storage.

Architecturally, both AWS S3 and IBM SoftLayer Object Storage is same. Once you create an account, you then have to create a container which hold objects you define. You can create sub-folders and nest folders ( folder with in a folder) in a container.

The only differentiating factor then remain is “Pricing“.

How IBM SoftLayer charges for Object Storage :

IBM Softlayer Object storage pricing is relatively easier to understand and predictable. It charges only the following components:

  1. Storage used per GB per month
  2. Bandwidth

The storage pricing includes all types of requests to the object storage.

How AWS S3 charges for S3 ?

You can get started with AWS S3 for free. Upon sign-up, new AWS customers receive 5 GB of Amazon S3 standard storage, 20,000 Get Requests, 2,000 Put Requests, and 15GB of data transfer out each month for one year.

After the free tier usage AWS charges for

  1. Storage
  2. Requests to storage
  3. Data Transfer

For more details on the pricing, refer to this link.

Which is cheaper – IBM SoftLayer or AWS S3 ?

I used AWS simple monthly calculator and IBM TCO calculator to compare the prices of under the following assumptions :

  1. US Datacenter
  2. 2TB Object storage
  3. 200 GB out bond data
  4. 10,000 requests of PUT/COPY/POST/LIST Requests and GET and Other Requests

The price for IBM SofLayer Object Storage comes out to be : $98 USD

AWS S3 price is $76.06 USD

A few points to note:

  1. AWS prices is not completely predictable. Each requests are charged and further more, even the storage is further divided in to infrequent access storage and reduced redundancy storage.
  2. The definition of both infrequent access storage and reduced redundancy storage is not clear, which makes it even more difficult to predict the total bill by using AWS monthly calculator
  3. In AWS inter-region data transfer is charged, where as intra-region data transfer is free
  4. AWS provides basic tech supports which covers mainly billing related issues, where as IBM’s tech support is completely free. However, for object storage tech support requirement is not essential and it can easily be ignored.


AWS S3 comes out to be cheaper than IBM SoftLayer Object storage if we consider the above parameters.

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