Storage Classes

This page explains the concept of storage class and the differences between storage classes. To learn how to view or change a bucket's default storage class, see Managing Buckets.

Overview of storage classes

In Google Cloud Storage, you create a bucket to store your data. A bucket has three properties that you specify when you create it: a globally unique name, a location where the bucket and its contents are stored, and a default storage class for objects added to the bucket.

Cloud Storage offers four storage classes: Multi-Regional Storage, Regional Storage, Nearline Storage, and Coldline Storage. All storage classes offer the same throughput, low latency (time to first byte typically tens of milliseconds), and high durability. The classes differ by their availability, minimum storage durations, and pricing for storage and access.

Storage Class Name for APIs
Multi-Regional Storage multi_regional
Regional Storage regional
Nearline Storage nearline
Coldline Storage coldline

Comparison of storage classes

Use the table below to match your data storage needs with a storage class. The sections below the table describe each storage class in more detail.

Storage Class Characteristics Use Cases Price (per GB per month)*
Multi-Regional Storage
  • 99.95% availability
  • Geo-redundant
Storing data that is frequently accessed ("hot" objects) around the world, such as serving website content, streaming videos, or gaming and mobile applications. $0.026
Regional Storage
  • 99.9% availability
  • Lower cost per GB stored
  • Data stored in a narrow geographic region
Storing frequently accessed in the same region as your Google Cloud DataProc or Google Compute Engine instances that use it, such as for data analytics. $0.02
Nearline Storage
  • 99.0% availability
  • Very low cost per GB stored
  • Data retrieval costs
  • Higher per-operation costs
  • 30-day minimum storage duration
Data you do not expect to access frequently (i.e., no more than once per month). Ideal for back-up and serving long-tail multimedia content. $0.01
Coldline Storage
  • 99.0% availability
  • Lowest cost per GB stored
  • Data retrieval costs
  • Higher per-operation costs
  • 90-day minimum storage duration
Data you expect to access infrequently (i.e., no more than once per year). Typically this is for disaster recovery, or data that is archived and may or may not be needed at some future time. $0.007

All storage classes support:

For more information about storage pricing, see Google Cloud Storage Pricing.

Bucket vs. object storage class

You can manage storage classes in your bucket and object settings.

Bucket default storage class

Each bucket has a default storage class, which you can specify when you create your bucket. Objects that you add to the bucket use this default storage class unless specified otherwise.

You can change the default storage class of your bucket later. However, this will only affect the default storage class for objects that you add to the bucket going forwards. It will not change the storage class of objects that are already in the bucket.

Object storage class

You can use the API to specify the storage class of individual objects when you add them to a bucket, or change their class later. To change the storage class of an object, see Changing Storage Classes.


Multi-Regional Storage

Multi-Regional Storage is appropriate for storing data that is frequently accessed ("hot" objects), such as serving website content, interactive workloads, or data supporting mobile and gaming applications. Multi-Regional Storage data has the most availability compared to other storage classes.

Multi-Regional Storage is geo-redundant, which means Cloud Storage stores your data redundantly in at least two regions separated by at least 100 miles within the multi-regional location of the bucket. This ensures maximum availability of your data, even in the event of large-scale disruptions, such as natural disasters. In order to provide geo-redundancy, Cloud Storage utilizes multiple Google datacenters within a given multi-regional location. Some of these datacenters may not be explicitly available as regional locations. For example, Multi-Regional Storage buckets created in the European Union may utilize Google datacenters in the Netherlands or Finland, in addition to the datacenter associated with europe-west1.

Note that data stored as Multi-Regional Storage can be placed only in multi-regional locations, such as the United States, the European Union, or Asia, not specific regional locations such as us-central1 or asia-east1.

Regional Storage

Regional Storage enables you to store data at lower cost, with the trade-off of data being stored in a specific regional location, instead of having redundancy distributed over a large geographic area.

Regional Storage is appropriate for storing data that is used by GCE instances. Doing so gives you better performance for data-intensive computations, as opposed to storing your data in a multi-regional location. In addition, storing your data as Regional Storage in this scenario can reduce network charges.

Note that data stored as Regional Storage can be placed only in regional locations, such as us-central1 or asia-east1.

Nearline Storage

Google Cloud Storage Nearline is a low-cost, highly durable storage service for storing infrequently accessed data. Nearline Storage is a better choice than Multi-Regional Storage or Regional Storage in scenarios where slightly lower availability, a 30-day minimum storage duration, and costs for data access are acceptable trade-offs for lowered storage costs.

Nearline Storage is ideal for data you plan to read or modify on average once a month or less. For example, if you want to continuously add files to Cloud Storage and plan to access those files once a month for analysis, Nearline Storage is a great choice.

Nearline Storage is also appropriate for data backup, disaster recovery, and archival storage. Note, however, that for data accessed less frequently than once a year, Coldline Storage is the most cost-effective choice, as it offers the lowest storage costs.

For more information about transferring data from Amazon Glacier to Nearline Storage, see the Migrating to Google Cloud Storage From Amazon Glacier White Paper.

Coldline Storage

Google Cloud Storage Coldline is a very-low-cost, highly durable storage service for data archiving, online backup, and disaster recovery. Unlike other "cold" storage services, your data is available within milliseconds, not hours or days.

Coldline Storage is the best choice for data that you plan to access at most once a year, due to its slightly lower availability, 90-day minimum storage duration, costs for data access, and higher per-operation costs. For example:

  • Cold Data Storage - Infrequently accessed data, such as data stored for legal or regulatory reasons, can be stored at low cost as Coldline Storage, and be available when you need it.

  • Disaster recovery - In the event of a disaster recovery event, recovery time is key. Google Cloud Storage provides low latency access to data stored as Coldline Storage.

Standard Storage

Users that create a bucket without specifying a storage class, or that create Standard Storage buckets, see those buckets listed as Standard in the API. These buckets are equivalent to Multi-Regional Storage or Regional Storage, depending on their location setting, and as of November 1, 2016, are charged equivalently. Accordingly, in the Cloud Console, these buckets are listed as Multi-Regional Storage or Regional Storage.

For example, if you have a Standard Storage bucket in a multi-regional location such as us, it is equivalent to a Multi-Regional Storage bucket and continues to exist in the us location. If you have a Standard Storage bucket in a regional location such as us-east1, it is equivalent to a Regional Storage bucket and continues to exist in the us-east1 location.

You can move your data from Standard Storage to other storage classes by performing a storage transfer.

Durable Reduced Availability

It is recommended that users utilize Regional Storage in place of Durable Reduced Availability (DRA). Regional Storage has lower pricing for operations, but otherwise the same price structure. Regional Storage also has better performance, particularly in terms of availability (DRA has a 99% availability SLA).

You can move your data from DRA to other storage classes by performing a storage transfer.

Existing data stored as DRA continues to be accessible in Cloud Storage. New DRA buckets can only be created via API, not the Console.

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