Newcomer Snowflake Gets into Storage Price War with AWS

A company's track record, its security apparatus, data movement/integration ability and pricing are clearly the major competitive attributes for storage companies.

No one can accuse delicately-named Snowflake Computing of being intimidated by big, bad Amazon Web Services.

The 4-year-old company, which has developed a data warehouse specifically built for cloud deployments, announced Nov. 22 that it is now competing directly with the elephant in the room, AWS, by reducing its pricing 23 percent for compressed cloud storage.

This amounts to Snowflake's second price reduction in a month. When this clicks into place, Snowflake users will have experienced an 80 percent total price reduction in the past 33 days.

With cloud storage now not only ubiquitous but also becoming commoditized, pricing is becoming an increasingly important factor for CTOs in making storage-buying decisions.

A company's track record, its security apparatus, data movement/integration ability and pricing are clearly the major competitive attributes for storage companies heading into 2017.

AWS has been cutting its storage pricing continually for several years. The cloud services giant will issue its record 53rd price cut for S3 Standard Storage on Dec. 1. This is not only a reflection of competition in the burgeoning market but also an indicator (espoused by many in the storage business) that perhaps its cloud pricing was too high in the first place.

Of course, cloud computing is still in its infancy, and because AWS was the first cloud storage maker to grab substantial market share, market pricing has been a work in progress for quite a while.

Snowflake claims that the smallest organizations to the largest enterprises can benefit from the company's customer-centric approach, which enables them to store all their data in one cloud location and do it under budget.

While AWS keeps moving its pricing downward, Snowflake has lowered its own storage pricing to match it.
Starting Dec. 1, Snowflake's new U.S. storage pricing will:

--reduce compressed capacity storage pricing to $23/TB/month--a 23 percent savings;

--reduce compressed on-demand storage pricing to $40/TB/month - a 20 percent savings; and

--effectively reduce uncompressed storage pricing to $5/TB/month or less (assuming 5x compression).

In October, Snowflake announced significant price reductions for its U.S. storage, matching Amazon's prices.

Snowflake CEO Bob Muglia, a former longtime Microsoft executive, said in October that Snowflake would continue to pass onto customers the savings of any future storage price reductions from Amazon.

In addition, Snowflake also announced new pricing for its recent EU (Frankfurt) data storage deployment:

--Reduce compressed capacity storage pricing to $24.50/TB/month, a 24 percent savings;

--Reduce compressed on-demand storage pricing to $45/TB/month, an 18 percent savings;

--Effectively reduce uncompressed storage pricing to $5/TB/month or less (assuming 5x compression).

Snowflake Computing was started in 2012 with an ambitious goal: to reinvent the data warehouse. The company saw the need to create a completely new data warehouse that could bring together all users, all data and all workloads in a single cloud service.

The company has taken a total of $71 million in venture capital from five investors during its 4-year lifespan, according to Crunchbase.

For more information, see Muglia's blog.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...