Google to Amazon: You’re not the only price chopper around

Updated: Amazon(s amzn) isn’t the only cloud provider slicing storage prices. On Tuesday Google(s goog) cut the price on Google Cloud Storage by up to 15 percent in some cases. With this move and the naming of five new front-end storage partners, Google appears to be making a serious play for the enterprise storage business from which it has been largely absent.

In that arena it will square off with — you guessed it — Amazon Web Services, which last month cut its S3 storage prices and on Monday discounted Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services. Standard Google Cloud Storage now costs a tad less than Amazon S3 and Microsoft Windows Azure storage. Generally, the price of cloud storage is broken out into different per-GB fees for data stored, plus network charges for data flowing into and out of the cloud and the cost of certain requests.

Google also said it is partnering with five storage players — Panzura, Zmanda, StorSimple, TwinStrata and Gladinet — to make it easier for companies to push their data into the Google cloud. For example, StorSimple’s storage appliance — which already works with Azure — can now connect with Google Cloud Storage.

The full Google details are on its website, but the price for standard storage now starts at $0.12 per GB stored, down from $0.13 for up to 1 TB of total data. Updated:  Data transfer into the network is $0.21 per GB and Data transfer into the network is  free and out of the network is $0.12 per GB for up to 1 TB.  Standard Amazon S3 storage costs $1.25 $0.125 per GB for up to 1 TB of total storage per month.  for storing thumbnails, transcoded media, or other processed data that can be easily reproduced. (AWS reduced redundancy storage is less,  $0.093 per GB for up to the first TB.) AWS does not charge for data transfer into the cloud but does charge for transfer out, after the first gigabyte. Microsoft Windows Azure storage is also $0.125 per GB for up to 50 TB per month.

All these variables make it tricky to compare cloud storage.

Typically, “it’s not the storage that kills, it’s the network [fees],” said Carl Brooks, an analyst for the Tier1 Research division of The 451 Group. “Sure you can put a pantload of data in the cloud for $0.12/GB, but they charge you network fees to get it out again, and charge you a penny per 1000 transactions. A moderately popular website could do thousands of transactions per second, every second of the day. Great for archiving, less so for busy applications,” he said.

In addition to the paid options, new Google Cloud Storage users have a free trial quota good till June 30, 2012. It covers up to 5 GB of storage, 25 GB of download data for some regions and 25 GB of upload data.

There seems to be a real race to the bottom in cloud storage. For all the jockeying of these huge players, some feisty upstarts, including Spideroak, still boast even cheaper storage options, at least for archiving.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user stan