Wasabi Executive: We Beat AWS On Price

‘A lot of folks don’t like the biggest service providers – AWS, Google, Azure,’ Drew Schlussel says. ‘They have great systems. They do a fantastic job … But the fact of the matter is, they really are catering to the biggest, heaviest and most expensive workloads.’


A Wasabi Technologies executive took shots this week at the biggest cloud service providers – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud – and AWS’s Glacier file storage web service during a pitch to partner businesses asking them to adopt Wasabi’s cloud storage services.

Drew Schlussel, director of product marketing at Boston-based Wasabi, addressed a room of partners at CRN parent The Channel Company‘s XChange 2022 event. XChange was held this week in person in Grapevine, Texas.

“A lot of folks don’t like the biggest service providers – AWS, Google, Azure,” Schlussel said. “They have great systems. They do a fantastic job … But the fact of the matter is, they really are catering to the biggest, heaviest and most expensive workloads.”

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He continued: “What you’re starting to see is this coalition of companies that are being built right to provide the compute and the storage and the network and the content distribution at 50, 70, 80 percent less expense than the biggest hyperscalers.”

CRN has reached out to AWS and Microsoft for comment. Google declined to comment.

In Schlussel’s presentation, he argued for partners with customers requesting on-premises storage to help them adopt cloud storage. Cloud storage can handle the growth of structured and unstructured data accumulated by customers, which can stress the budgets of on-premises storage, he said. The growing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning will increase demand for capacity.

And cloud storage provides immutable, air-gapped storage to protect against ransomware attacks, he said.

Wasabi doesn’t host any compute, he said. But in February, it announced a partnership with cloud computing company Vultr to deliver infrastructure-as-a-service.

“What we can do is we can provide customers with an experience very similar to what they would get if they did everything on the AWS platform,” he said. “We’re now doing it with our partners at 80 percent less.”

Manuel Villa, president of VIA Technology, an IT services provider based in San Antonio whose vendor partners include Ruckus, attended the session. He told CRN in an interview that he is not a Wasabi partner but he is interested in learning more about the company’s partner program because of demand from his customers for cloud storage.

“Surveillance is becoming a huge area for us, especially in schools,” Villa said. “I see the value cloud storage provides there.”

During a question-and-answer session with the audience, Schlussel said that Wasabi’s services beat the hyperscalers – naming AWS specifically – on price because the service is focused on storage instead of “trying to be everything to everybody.”

“Not to be ridiculous, but when you are 80 percent less expensive than AWS, that turns heads very quickly, especially when you‘re talking hundreds of terabytes over multiple years,” he said. “And we not only have a pay-go system, we also have what’s called reserved capacity … What we‘re finding is that our channel partners would rather sell 100 terabytes for one, three or five years upfront, collect their revenue upfront, then get a little drip every month. So in terms of what is available for the partners, you have essentially a storage service that sells itself, leading with the price.”

He continued: “We’re not trying to be everything to everybody. But because we have that low price, high performance storage that can cover so many other use cases, we get a very strong look. And as I said, in the bigger deals, that price difference can make the difference between closing that deal or having to cut your margins on other parts of your business that you don‘t want to cut.”

Fielding another question from the audience, Schlussel said that a lot of Wasabi customers use its services for backup, disaster recovery (DR) and active archive. He said some customers, such as cannabis growers, have gone with Wasabi over AWS’ Glacier service because of the need to produce a quick video segment on the fly for regulators.

“They have some very restrictive laws around video,” he said. “They have to be able to produce a 10 minute segment on demand when the regulator shows up at their office. So they can‘t use Glacier. They can’t wait an hour to get that 10 minute video segment back.”

CRN has reached out to AWS for comment. It is possible for certain Glacier users to purchase the services for $4 a terabyte a month, according to AWS, compared to Wasabi, whose price can reach $5.99 a terabyte a month.

However, according to Wasabi, no egress or application programming interface (API) request charges can make its services cheaper than those of AWS, Google or Microsoft.

In November, during AWS’ re:invent conference, the company announced Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) Glacier Instant Retrieval as a new storage class aimed at faster and affordable archive data retrieval.

The company also launched the Archive-Instant Access tier in S3 Intelligent-Tiering for users in need of instant data access or with changing and uncertain data access patterns. The service promises to automatically move data to the most cost-effective access tier based on access frequency without changes to performance, retrieval fees or operational overhead, according to AWS.