Your storage options

IBM Cloud® Object Storage offers a range of storage classes designed to meet the breadth of your data storage and access needs while effectively managing storage costs.

Smart Tier - Designed for any workload, but ideal 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 to lower storage costs by automatically tiering data to IBM Cloud Object Storage Archive for long-term data retention.

Blue, teal and grey circle icons of tiers and archive

Smart Tier

Smart Tier is 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 a built-in pricing tier classification based on your data activity.

Three blue circle icons numbered one through three

Smart Tier: How it works

1. Create a Smart Tier storage bucket, data activity is tracked

Create a Smart Tier bucket in IBM Cloud Object Storage, then upload and manage your objects. Data activity will be tracked during the month.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Storage classes for more predictable data activity

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.

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.

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.

Archive your data

IBM Cloud Object Storage archive is the lowest-cost storage option and is designed to be used for data that is rarely accessed and requires long-term retention, such as compliance or business requirements. Customers can manage the 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 automatically archived. Once archived, customers can restore a temporary copy of their objects when needed.

Blue, teal and grey circle icons of tiers and archive

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.