GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating Alternatives to Amazon S3v4.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Alternatives to Amazon S3 Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analyst’s Outlook
  5. About Joep Piscaer

1. Executive Summary

Object storage is the de facto standard for storing unstructured data. The Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) protocol and service are market-leading offerings in object storage, but there are many alternative object storage services available. While S3 is capable, scalable, and relatively affordable, services from other providers offer intriguing features and pricing models. In this report, we take a look at competing and differentiated S3-compatible object services.

Organizations today look to the cloud for their compute and data storage needs. AWS is by far the current market leader in both revenue and number of customers, and its service ecosystem is the most complete. Amazon S3 is an object store, meaning that data is stored as objects along with associated metadata and identifiers. This architecture is inexpensive and scalable while rendering massive amounts of unstructured data more readily accessible and easily analyzed.

Kubernetes and container-based applications are increasingly popular, and S3 is a popular object storage solution for these applications. However, customers are mindful of portability and cloud lock-in. As a result, many organizations are evaluating alternative offerings for cloud-based compute and object storage to optimize features, availability, and costs.

For this report, we’re looking at object storage services (not products) with S3 compatibility.

Business Imperative
Object storage—S3-compatible storage services in particular—is a mature, well-rounded subset of cloud computing. It is foundational to a wide range of use cases relevant to organizations that are moving operations to the cloud, re-architecting applications to be more cloud-native, and scaling data storage to use cases, including media and backup.

Cloud-based object storage has become fairly ubiquitous to organizational storage needs, particularly in developer and DevOps use cases where “dropping data in an S3 bucket” is a commonly heard suggestion.

With many service providers offering a solution in this space, an S3 bucket isn’t the only correct solution; there is plenty of differentiation in the market for different use cases, feature sets, and nonfunctional considerations. The cost of changing between providers is minimal due to S3-compatible offerings across the field as well as the maturity of migration and data management tools.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of an alternative to Amazon S3 for the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the object storage service sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters adoption, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score for alternatives to Amazon S3 of 4.2 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that object storage services are a credible candidate for deployment and worth thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for alternatives to Amazon S3 are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating Alternatives to Amazon S3

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for Alternatives to Amazon S3

This is the fourth year that GigaOm has reported on the alternatives to Amazon S3 space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and nonfunctional requirements (business criteria) for selecting effective alternatives to Amazon S3. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the market, identify leading object storage services offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and nonfunctional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.

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