Storage Cloud Object Storage Flexible storage classes
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IBM Cloud® Object Storage offers storage classes that allow you to balance data-access frequency and cost. The smart tier automatically chooses the least-expensive pricing class for you each month for different access patterns and resiliency requirements. Our storage classes are tailored to use cases such as backup and recoverydata archivingcloud-native app data storage and storage for AI analytics.

Smart tier

Designed for any workload, but ideal for unknown and changing data patterns.

Standard, vault or cold vault

Designed for when data activity is more predictable and consistent.

Archive

Designed for rarely accessed data requiring low-cost, long-term retention.

Feature details
Flexibility Smart tier

Smart tier is built for the changing nature of data. It stores your ever-changing data without cost overruns and automatically bills at the optimal storage rate each month using a built-in pricing tier classification based on your data activity. Smart tier analyzes your monthly activity and bills you at the hot, cool or cold rate based on the amount of storage and access—no retrieval charges, no minimum object size, no minimum duration requirement and no other overhead charges.¹

How it works:

  1. Create a smart tier storage bucket: 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. Get automatic pricing tier classification: Have your data classified into one of the three built-in tiers—hot, cool and cold—at the end of each monthly cycle.
  3. Get your monthly billing optimized: Get billed at either the hot cool or cold rate across your data stored in smart tier.

Predictability Standard, vault or cold vault

Standard (for active data): Use for active data that's accessed multiple times a month. Your data is immediately available when needed. Common use cases include streaming mobile and web content, DevOps, analytics, collaboration and active content repositories. There are no retrieval charges, no minimum object size and no minimum duration requirement.

Vault (for less active data): Use for less active data that's accessed once a month or less. Data is immediately available when needed. A low retrieval charge applies for reading data. Common use cases include backup and digital asset retention. Vault includes a threshold for object size and storage period with a minimum billable object size of 128 KB and a minimum storage duration of 30 days.

Cold vault (for cold data): Use for data accessed only a few times a year. A larger retrieval charge applies for reading data. Common use cases include long-term backup, large data set preservation or older media content. Cold vault includes a threshold for object size and storage period with a minimum billable object size of 256 KB and a minimum storage duration of 90 days. Objects smaller than the minimum size will incur a charge for the minimum billable object size.


Preservation Archive

IBM Cloud Object Storage archive and accelerated archive are low-cost options for rarely accessed data that requires long-term retention. Manage your data lifecycle by applying an archive policy for objects written to your object storage buckets in any of the storage classes. With policy-based archive, after the specified duration, objects from any of our storage classes are automatically archived. Objects transitioned from any storage class to archive or that are restored from archive do not incur a minimum storage duration charge associated with the storage class. Once archived, customers can restore a temporary copy of their objects when needed.²

Archive benefits:

  • Lowest cost: Archive is the lowest-cost option, 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 and reduce storage costs.
  • 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.
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Footnotes

1 Data is classified as Hot if Number of Operations ≥ 1000 x {Storage (GB) - Retrievals (GB)}. Data is classified as Cold if Number of Operations ≤ {Storage (GB) - Retrievals (GB)}. Data is classified as Cool if neither of the above conditions are true. To learn more, see billing topic.

² Archive (for "Cold" archiving data): A restore from Archive takes up to 12 hours. Archive has a minimum storage duration of 90 days. Accelerated Archive (for "Warm" archiving data): A restore from Accelerated Archive takes up to 2 hours. Accelerated Archive has a minimum storage duration of 90 days.