Your storage options

IBM Cloud Object Storage offers a range of storage options designed to meet the breadth of your data storage and access needs and to help you effectively manage storage costs.

Smart Tier – Designed for any workload, especially for unknown and changing data patterns, Smart Tier offers a simplified pricing structure with automatic tier classification and cost optimization, ensuring you receive the optimal storage cost each month.

Standard, Vault or Cold Vault – Designed to be used when data activity is more predictable and consistent, these storage classes can be selected to meet your data access needs for active, less active and cold data.

Archive – Designed to easily manage the lifecycle of your data and lower storage costs by automatically tiering data to the lowest-cost option for long-term data retention.

Storage classes

Save costs without sacrificing performance by storing data across Storage classes, which support different data access levels at corresponding rates. Storage classes can be selected to meet your data access needs for dynamic, active, less active and cold data.

Storage classes and Archive: Explore your options

Smart Tier (for dynamic data)

Use for any workload, ideal for unknown or changing data activity, Smart Tier automatically optimizes your monthly storage costs by classifying the data you have stored into three built in pricing tiers– hot, cool, cold—based on your data activity.

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Standard (for active data)

Use for active data, accessed multiple times a month. Data is immediately available when needed. There is no charge for data retrieved. Common use cases include streaming mobile and web content, DevOps, analytics, collaboration and active content repositories.

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Vault (for less active data)

Use for less active data, accessed once a month or less. Data is immediately available when needed. A low retrieval charge applies for reading data. Vault includes a threshold for object size and storage period consistent with the intended use of this service for cooler, less active data. Common use cases include backup and digital asset retention.

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Cold Vault (for cold data)

Use for cold data, accessed a few times a year. A larger retrieval charge applies for reading data. Cold Vault includes a threshold for object size and storage period consistent with the intended use of this service to store cold, inactive data. Common use cases include long-term backup, large data set preservation such as scientific data, or older media content that needs to be stored cost effectively but requires fast access when needed.

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Archive (offline)

Used for long-term data retention, rarely or never accessed. Set policy to transition data to Archive from any Storage Class and restore as needed.

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Smart Tier

Smart Tier is a specially designed storage class designed for the changing nature of data. How you use your data can change from month to month and over time. With Smart Tier, there is no need to worry about cost overruns because you selected the wrong storage class or if your data activity should change over time. Simply store your data in Smart Tier, and you will automatically be billed at the optimal storage rate each month. Automatic cost optimization for your storage is applied using the Smart Tier pricing tier classification based on your data activity.

Smart Tier: How it works

1. Create a Smart Tier storage bucket

To use Smart Tier, simply create a Smart Tier bucket in IBM Cloud Object Storage, then upload and manage your objects.

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2. Data activity is tracked

Smart Tier automatically tracks data activity (API call volume and data requests) during the month.

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3. Automatic pricing tier classification

At the end of each monthly billing cycle, Smart Tier classifies the data you have stored into one of the three built-in tiers - "hot", "cool", and "cold" - based on your data activity.

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4. Optimized monthly billing

Each month you will be billed accordingly at either the hot, cool or cold rate across your data stored in Smart Tier. There are no threshold object sizes or minimum storage duration periods, and there are no retrieval fees for Smart Tier.

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Archive your data

IBM Cloud Object Storage policy-based archive is the lowest-cost option for data that is rarely accessed and requires long-term retention. Customers can manage their data lifecycle by applying an archive policy for objects written to their object storage buckets in any of the storage classes (Smart Tier, Standard, Vault and Cold Vault). After the specified duration, objects are archived. Once archived, customers can restore a temporary copy of their objects for access when needed. Restore time may take up to 12 hours. The archive is priced at USD 0.00099/GB per month for data storage and USD 0.02/GB for data restore. Archive is designed to maintain the same high security, availability, durability and scalability as IBM Cloud Object Storage classes.

Archive benefits

Lowest cost

Archive is the lowest-cost option (data storage at USD 0.00099/GB/month and restores at USD 0.02/GB), ideal for long-term retention of large data sets such as regulatory and compliance records, large data set preservation and long term storage of backups.

Data transition using archive policy

Archive works with all IBM Cloud Object Storage Classes — Smart Tier, Standard, Vault and Cold Vault — allowing you to apply age-based policies to move objects to the lower-cost archive to reduce storage costs even further. Once archived, you can restore a temporary copy of the objects for access when needed (restore time may take up to 12 hours).

Simplified API

You can use the IBM Cloud Object Storage API — with support for S3 API constructs — for transition lifecycle and restore. You can also write your own applications using IBM Cloud Object Storage SDKs.