Cloud

Why a unicorn cloud storage provider said no to egress fees

In 2018, the Boston-based company became the first to offer a pricing plan with no egress fees.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

Growing cloud storage provider Wasabi, which has reached 70,000 customers, is hot for a reason. The company, headquartered in Boston, has long gone against the grain in that they don’t charge users egress fees—something that major players like Google, AWS, and Microsoft only recently started doing this year.

IT Brew caught up with Wasabi’s David Boland, vice president of cloud strategy, Aki Wakimoto, the country manager for Japan, and Aaron Edell, senior vice president of artificial intelligence and machine learning, to chat about strategy, hot cloud storage, and what’s next for the unicorn company.

David, what was Wasabi’s reasoning in not charging egress fees?

“When we launched our service in 2017, everybody had egress charges,” Boland told IT Brew. “And doing our market research, [while] talking to customers, talking to partners about the things that bothered them the most about cloud services, egress charges and hidden fees were at the top of the list.”

“It’s those hidden charges—it’s the API request charges, egress charges, and it’s the data retrieval charges that really irritate customers,” he also said. Dropping the charges, he said, is “a trend that’s been going on since 2017.”

“We like to think that we were the first ones there and started that trend.”

Aki, as the country manager for Japan, what can you tell us about Wasabi’s strategy and how it has differed from other cloud providers and big tech?

“We have a lot of respect for the hyperscalers, [offering] tons of services—very innovative, but we are really focused on the storage area, and we kind of say that charging [for] usage of data is not the right way—or not contributing to the growth of the world.”

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Wasabi’s cloud tier offerings differ in that they only offer one tier: hot cloud storage, as opposed to cold or warm data storage. “Our value prop…is that we offer hot storage—fast performance and a faster storage, with cold storage costs,” she said.

“There’s not five different tiers that you as the end user have to decide, which one is the right one for me, which one is the cost structure for me,” Boland added.

Aaron, how is Wasabi tapping into AI? And what models are you using?

Their latest AI product, Wasabi Air—which uses in-house models—offers customers “intelligent media storage.” “Basically, object storage needs to come with a searchable index,” Edell said. “When you go into a library, you don’t go across the street to look at the card catalog, right? So, we’re doing things like face recognition, object detection, logo and brand detection, speech-to-text translation, that kind of thing, and tagging all of your assets with timecode-accurate tags.”

When users log in, they’ll find an interface that serves as a “search bar into your object storage,” complete with “AI-powered metadata auto-tagging,” and “multilingual transcription.”

IT Brew has reached out to Google, Amazon, and Microsoft for comment. Microsoft said it did not have anything to share at this time but redirected IT Brew to its site with more information. Amazon did not provide a comment and also directed IT Brew to its recent blog post.

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.