Amazon S3 Comes in a Close Second to Microsoft Azure’s Blob Storage in Tests, Which Measured Speed, Availability and Scalability; Google Cloud Storage Lags Far Behind

NATICK, Mass. – May 13, 2015 — / — Nasuni, a provider of Cloud NAS to distributed organizations, today released results from its third biennial State of Cloud Storage Report, which tested the write/read/delete speeds, availability and scalability of the top three public cloud storage providers. Microsoft Azure’s Blob Storage came out on top overall, with Amazon S3 a very close second, though it did beat out Azure in some important aspects. Google Cloud Storage lagged far behind the top two.

Microsoft has made enormous strides with its cloud storage service since Nasuni issued its first cloud storage provider (CSP) report in December 2011. In that report, though Microsoft performed well, Amazon was clearly superior. That changed in the February 2013 CSP report when Microsoft took the top spot over Amazon. The 2015 CSP report shows that Microsoft has managed to hold on to its position as the top cloud storage performer.

Nasuni publishes this biennial report to share the information that it gathers in order to properly evaluate CSPs for its own use. In much the same way that traditional enterprise storage vendors use commodity disk drives as components in their products, Nasuni uses public cloud storage from the major CSPs as a component in their Cloud NAS service. And just as these traditional storage vendors constantly test commodity disk drives, Nasuni also regularly tests the major public storage clouds. Nasuni must monitor every change, improvement and update within the CSP market to know which CSPs best enable it to provide the highest quality service and deliver on its stringent SLA.

This year, Nasuni narrowed its test to just three providers: Microsoft Azure’s Blob Storage, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Google Cloud Storage. Originally, Nasuni had also planned to test HP’s Cloud Object Storage and IBM’s SoftLayer; in fact, these two providers were tested in a limited capacity. However, HP made a significant strategic change to their service, leaving Nasuni unsure of how the service would evolve over the coming year, and Nasuni’s experience with IBM was checkered with scheduled outages that made testing very problematic.

In addition, in Gartner’s most recent Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Storage Services (Gartner, 9 July 2014), Microsoft Azure and Amazon S3 are the only Leaders, while Google is the only Challenger, further justifying that the tests be restricted to these three CSPs.

Each of the three CSPs was tested in the following areas:

  • Write/Read/Delete Speed: This test measures the raw ability of each CSP to handle thousands of writes, reads and deletes (W/R/D) with files of varying sizes and levels of concurrency.
  • Availability: This test measures each CSP’s response time to a single W/R/D process at 60-second intervals over a 30-day period.
  • Scalability: This test measures each CSP’s ability to perform consistently as the number of objects under management increases. Performance under increasing object counts is often the Achilles heel of a cloud storage system.

Nasuni’s engineers conducted all tests between October 2014 and February 2015, using virtual machines that resided in four separate clouds distributed geographically across the central and eastern regions of the United States. For the write/read/delete tests, no storage cloud was tested using its own compute cloud. All tests were run using a variety of times, locations, virtual machines and dates to minimize the risk of external network bias.

The top-level results were as follows:

  • Write/Read/Delete Speed:
    • Write: Microsoft was the overall winner for write speed, excelling in 13 of the 23 combinations of thread counts and file size. However, for files larger than 1 MB, Amazon was 80 percent faster than the others, with Google and Azure performing at roughly the same speed.
    • Read: Microsoft consistently outperformed the other CSPs, though Amazon trails Microsoft by less than it did in the write tests. Google consistently performed at about half the level of Microsoft.
    • Delete: Microsoft was more than twice as fast as Amazon, and about five times as fast as Google.
  • Availability: Amazon and Microsoft were nearly tied in the availability metric, with Amazon’s average response time of 0.1 seconds barely edging out Microsoft’s 0.14 seconds. Google was about five times slower than the others. In addition, Amazon’s response time was significantly more consistent than was the others, with Google showing the most variance and the slowest times.
  • Scalability: Nasuni looked at scalability across four dimensions: the variance of write speed in writing 100 million objects, the number of write misses, the number of read misses and the tradeoff between variance and write speed. Microsoft had, by far, the largest write variance, which was more than 130 times larger than Google’s, who had the smallest variance. Read and write errors were almost non-existent. Only Amazon showed any misses at all: five write errors over 100 million objects, which gives an error rate of .00005 percent.

In terms of write speed and variance together, however, Microsoft’s much faster average write speed gave it the edge over its rivals, even though it was the least consistent. In most applications, it is more important to write quickly than to do so at a consistent speed, which is why this metric was introduced into testing with this report.

Similar to the 2013 report, Nasuni found that there are only two significant competitors in the public cloud storage market: Microsoft and Amazon, with Microsoft edging out Amazon again as the top CSP for public cloud storage, though Amazon could be a better choice for applications that deal mostly with very large files. Google finished a distant third behind the top two competitors.

“Microsoft’s continued investment in its second generation cloud storage platform continues to pay off,” said Andres Rodriguez, CEO of Nasuni. “Nevertheless, Amazon S3 was not very far behind Microsoft, and even bested Microsoft in some areas, such as write speed for large files. With Amazon and Microsoft, enterprise IT has two mature, robust CSPs whose platforms will eventually replace the spinning disk within the enterprise data center.

“Nasuni has built its Cloud NAS service on these next-generation storage components,” Rodriguez continued, “and, as a result, we can provide functionality that is unattainable with a traditional NAS: fast access to the corporate file share from anywhere in the world; automatic backup every sixty seconds with instant recovery of data from any point in time; and a true global lock that doesn’t depend on any single piece of hardware. Quite simply, Nasuni is providing distributed organizations with the future of enterprise storage.”

Click here to download the full report:

About Nasuni
Nasuni is an enterprise storage company that provides distributed organizations with a powerful Cloud NAS service. By combining on-premises hardware and software with cloud storage, Nasuni delivers a secure file storage solution that provides high performance for users, simplified and centralized management for IT, and an easily scalable, complete storage service for the global enterprise. Nasuni is privately held and based in Natick, Mass. For more information, visit

Nasuni is privately held and based in Natick, Mass. For more information, visit

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Source: Nasuni