September 24, 2021

8 Amazon S3 Alternatives

Louis-Victor Jadavji
Louis-Victor Jadavji
Cofounder of Taloflow
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How To Pick Your Amazon S3 Alternative

Companies are considering switching from Amazon S3 because of:

  1. Potentially significant cost savings
  2. Reduction in complexity
  3. Security benefits

Amazon S3 is seen as the safest choice due to the native integrations, but as object storage has become used for anything from being a cloud data lake, to storing thumbnails for blog posts, Amazon S3 can't be best-in-class in everything.

The question remains, is making the switch worth it, and to whom should you switch?

When To Switch, When To Leave

You should stay with Amazon S3 if...

If you are deeply embedded or connected in your use of Amazon S3 because you’re using other AWS native services, like Amazon Athena, you should probably stay. If you have an intense amount of intra-regional data transfer, quite a few cloud providers specialized in storage might not provide the savings you hoped for either. In addition, Amazon S3 Deep Archive always takes the cake though if you almost never plan to access the data but need to store data for compliance reasons (retrieving data takes a painfully long time and is costly). Read more in our section about why else you should stay with Amazon S3.

Looking for cheaper options?

If you’re looking to save money, check out Wasabi, Backblaze B2 and Storj DCS. Be warned that they’re not suitable for everyone though. Check out how they differ from Amazon S3 in the comparison section.

Need built-in security?

If you’re looking for easily implemented security best practices, check out Storj DCS. Read more in our security section.

“Hot” archival storage

If you’re looking for “hot” archival storage, consider Wasabi, Storj DCS or Google Cloud Storage.

Unsure what you need?

If you’re unsure if you should switch, read why CTO’s and Software Architects stay or switch from Amazon S3 below.

Table Of Contents

  1. The 8 Object Storage Vendors To Compare With Amazon S3
  2. Why You Should Stay With Amazon S3
  3. Why You Should Switch From Amazon S3
  4. Why CXO’s and Senior Architects Stay With Or Switch From Amazon S3
  5. What You Should Do Next


8 Object Storage Vendors To Compare With Amazon S3

Backblaze B2

Backblaze B2 homepage

Backblaze B2 is a good fit for frequent or partially-frequent access storage use cases that have low connectedness with AWS native services. Keep in mind that Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive is probably cheaper for cold archive use cases.

Where It Beats Amazon S3

✅ Low cost of storage ($5/TB/mo)

✅ Lower bandwidth costs

✅ Simpler pricing structure

✅ Free egress to CDN (Fastly or Cloudflare)

What You’ll Miss

🚫 Lack of connectedness with native services

🚫 Only has 3 regions (2 in U.S. and 1 in E.U.)

Amazon S3 Feature Parity

✅ S3 Compatible API

🟡 Intelligent Tiering is not available. However, pricing is simple and competitive

🚫 No eventing to trigger functions

🚫 No Tagging or versioning available


Storj DCS

Storj DCS home page

Storj DCS has native geo-redundancy or cross region replication benefits thanks to their decentralized technology. Their pricing is similar to S3 glacier at $4TB/mo, all with fast retrieval times.

Where It Beats Amazon S3

✅ Lowest storage cost ($4/TB/mo)

✅ Decentralized storage (multi-region/geo-redundant)

✅ Simpler pricing structure

✅ Security best-practices by default

What You’ll Miss

🚫 Lack of connectedness with native services

🚫 No Tagging or Versioning available

⚠️ Not suitable for very small files (>4KB) because Storj DCS charges a “per segment” fee that somewhat relates to the number of files and size of the files you’re storing

Amazon S3 Feature Parity

✅ S3 Compatible API

🟡 Intelligent Tiering is not available. However, pricing is simple and competitive

🚫 No eventing to trigger functions

🚫 No Tagging or versioning available

Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage

Wasabi home page

Wasabi sometimes calls itself Wasabi Hot Storage, because it is indeed “hot”. It’s like getting close to Amazon Glacier’s cheap pricing but with the fast download speeds of the S3 Standard tier storage. It also easily beats Amazon S3’s infrequent access tier on cost ($~6/TB/mo vs. ~$10/TB/mo). However, there’s a catch with its fair use policy on download volumes. Wasabi is good for use cases where you need to access some files quickly and cheaply, but only sometimes (not all the time!).

Where It Beats Amazon S3

✅ Low cost of storage (~$6/TB/mo)

✅ Unlimited free egress (with a BIG exception - see other notes)

✅ Simplest pricing (only charges for storage, but has some minimum fees)

What You’ll Miss

🚫 Lack of connectedness with native services

🚫 Much fewer regions

⚠️ Fair use policy that doesn't allow more upload vs. download volume

⚠️ Minimum storage policy requiring a minimum of 1TB of data stored

⚠️ Minimum storage duration policy that requires you to pay a minimum of 90 days storage

Amazon S3 Feature Parity

✅ S3 Compatible API

✅ Versioning is available

🟡 Intelligent Tiering is not available. However, pricing is simple and competitive

🚫 No eventing to trigger functions

🚫 No Tagging available

IBM Cloud Object Storage

IBM cloud object storage home page

IBM cloud beats Amazon S3’s maximum file size of 5 TB by allowing file sizes up to 10 TB. Similar to GCP, there are also specific regions that are considered multi-region that end up being cheaper to use than duplicating storage to get more redundancy benefits.

Where it Beats Amazon S3

✅ 10 TB maximum file size

✅ Less expensive multi-region storage

What You’ll Miss

🚫 Complex pricing structure

🚫 Middling number of regions

⚠️ Possibly more expensive than AWS, GCP or Azure storage

Amazon S3 Feature Parity

✅ S3 Compatible API

✅ Intelligent Tiering is available

✅ Eventing to trigger functions

✅ Versioning and Tagging available


Digital Ocean Spaces

Digital ocean spaces web page

Digital Ocean Spaces is an interesting alternative to Amazon S3 if you're moving entirely off of AWS and not looking for another one of the Big 3 providers (i.e., Azure or Google Cloud Platform). If you’re just looking to move off of Amazon S3, some of the specialized cloud storage providers offer better pricing.

Where it Beats Amazon S3

✅ Built-in CDN

✅ Natively connected to lower cost cloud services

What You’ll Miss

🚫 Limited portfolio of connected services to migrate rest of cloud to

🚫 Not nearly as cheap as the specialized providers like Storj, Wasabi, Backblaze

Amazon S3 Feature Parity

✅ S3 Compatible API

🚫 No Intelligent Tiering available

🚫 Eventing to trigger functions

✅ Versioning and Tagging available

Google Cloud Storage

Google Cloud Storage web page

If you're picking between the Big 3 providers (AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform) and need serious multi-region capabilities for your storage, you’re probably better suited to go with Google Cloud Storage. There are specific regions that are considered multi-region in GCP (U.S., Europe, etc.) that end up being cheaper to use than duplicating storage for redundancy. 

For cold archival storage, Google Cloud Storage is generally not as good on pricing as Amazon S3 Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive.

For hot archival storage, Google Cloud Storage is better priced than Amazon S3 Infrequent Access.


Azure Blob Storage

Azure blob storage home page

Azure Blob Storage is most suitable for use cases where you are in the Azure or Microsoft-file (MBCS) ecosystem. It also does well with large file sizes and allows for appending to existing files, unlike Amazon S3.

Where it Beats Amazon S3

Broader portfolio of products related to storage (queues, tables, etc.)

Append to files

What You’ll Miss

🚫 Performance is not as good as Amazon S3

🚫 Most complex pricing structure of any provider

⚠️ There are literally different pricing schemes for each version of Azure storage services

Amazon S3 Feature Parity

✅ S3 Compatible API

✅ Intelligent Tiering is available

✅ Eventing to trigger functions

✅ Versioning and Tagging available

Oracle (OCI) Object Storage

Oracle cloud storage home page

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Object Storage is most suitable for use cases where you are in the OCI ecosystem and dealing with large file sizes.

Key Features You’ll Like

✅ First 10 TB/mo of outbound data transfer is free

✅ Generally cheaper data transfer compared to the Big 3

✅ S3 Compatible API

✅ Some connected services to move to

✅ Larger maximum object size (10 TiB)

✅ Intelligent Tiering (named Auto-Tiering) is available

✅ Eventing to trigger functions (OCI Events Service)

✅ Versioning and Tagging available

What You’ll Miss

🚫 Limited portfolio of products compared to the Big 3 (but growing...)

🚫 Not nearly as cheap as the specialized storage providers (e.g., Wasabi)


Why You Should Stay With Amazon S3

Unforeseen Egress Charges

Moving to a new cloud object storage provider with cheaper pricing might seem like a great idea, but it depends on the use case. 

For example, some providers will impose penalties or kick you off altogether if you download/READ more than you upload/WRITE to your storage. This is the case with Wasabi. 

If you plan on communicating with other cloud services (including on other providers), some significant data transfer fees may apply. 

We recommend that companies perform a thorough TCO analysis that considers inter-regional and intra-regional data transfer charges. There are almost always hidden fees to consider that may outweigh the benefits of a switch.

Deep Connectedness With Other Native Services

Amazon S3’s primary advantage is that it provides easy access and integration with all the other bleeding-edge services in AWS’s humungous portfolio. 

Some of these services need to work tightly with Amazon S3 to help your developers work faster. In addition, some data analysis workflows aren’t practical without Amazon S3. For example, if you’re a heavy user of Amazon Athena and you’re not switching to a provider with a viable alternative (e.g.: Google BigQuery) behind their firewall, it’s worth reconsidering the switch. Albeit, there are occasionally ways around this issue.

For data science and heavy processing of your data, keeping everything in one of the big three providers is typically the right choice.

Switching Reasons

You Want To Save Money

AWS is phenomenal at driving adoption of their services, including cloud object storage (i.e.: Amazon S3). But until recently, Amazon S3 has seen limited price competition and business model innovation from AWS.

As long as your application doesn’t require your storage to integrate directly with other AWS services, you could see 70% savings.

Wasabi, Backblaze B2 and Storj DCS are all fantastic options to lower your bill. Better yet, as long as you’re using the right vendor for the job, you won’t struggle to meet your performance requirements. (To make sure you’re not choosing the wrong one of these three, you can take our free questionnaire)

You Want Security Built In, Not As An Afterthought

There's a fair amount of overhead involved in making cloud object storage secure, both in development-time and ongoing cycles for even base-level security cases. 

There are potentially dozens of services connecting to cloud storage, and the array of possible variations for implementation is quite broad, which might increase the possibility of developer error. Some providers have simpler products that make it easier for developers to follow security best practices.

Storj is a decentralized storage provider. Data is encrypted, chunked and distributed into multiple regions by default. In general, we found that most clients are confident in the basic decentralized security benefits inherent in decentralization, which certainly meets best practice standards, and does so with less effort and expense than similar implementations typical when using the Big 3 providers.


Why CXO’s and Senior Architects Stay With Or Switch From Amazon S3

We pinged some of our friends in important technical roles at digital native companies for their opinion on when they would consider switching from or staying with Amazon S3 for cloud object storage.

Cindy Corpis, CEO of SearchPeopleFree.net, is considering Backblaze B2 as an alternative to Amazon S3:

The Amazon platform is fine, but S3 can feel like overkill at times. However, depending on their needs, people may switch for a variety of reasons. Backblaze B2 was one of the options we evaluated. It's one of the most cost-effective object storage options accessible today. It advertises itself as being 1/4 the price of Amazon S3, and the first 10 GB are also free. It supports keys with restricted permissions (write-only or read-only), which may be simply configured using the B2 protocol.


Eric McGee, Senior Network Engineer at TRGDatacenters, thinks Amazon S3 is a complex solution to work and integrate other systems and tools with:

One reason to consider making the switch is the simplicity of the alternative object storage solutions, which make integration much easier. AWS S3 is a complex solution, and this often makes integration with other systems and tools difficult.


Eric also sees huge potential costs savings by switching from Amazon S3:

Another reason for switching is that these alternative object storage solutions are often much more affordable when compared to the AWS S3 and its large competitors.


Stephen Curry, CEO at CocoSign thinks that Amazon S3 and the broader AWS platform is tried and true:

Although alternative object storage providers offer huge savings and top-notch features sometimes, my company is clinging to AWS S3 because it has been giving me the required availability, durability, scalability, and immense security and compliance for years.


Stephen also values the easy replication of data when using Amazon S3 and security benefits:

Amazon Glacier and S3 are the only amazing cloud storage services, which support three incredible encrypted forms. Also, AWS S3 is built from the ground and can deliver 99.99% durability. All the essential data is automatically disseminated throughout a minimum of three physical amenities, which are geographically isolated by approximately 10 km within an AWS area. Data can easily be imitated in another AWS region.

What You Should Do Next

If You Think a Switch Could Be Worth It

Identify the vendor best suited for your use case and run a simple “proof of concept” to ensure the vendor works well for you.

If you’re unsure about which vendor suits you best based on your use case, compliance, integrations, etc, you can know for sure within five minutes through our free questionnaire.


If You Think You Should Stay With Amazon S3

We’ve got tips for lowering your cloud bill here

Want tailored ✨ buying insights for your tech stack? Click here to try Taloflow, for free