IBM Cloud Docs


Information on pricing can be found at IBM Cloud®.


Find your account invoices at Manage > Billing and Usage in the navigation menu.

Under a Standard plan, service instance receives a single bill. If you need separate billing for different sets of buckets, then creating multiple instances is necessary.

For each storage class, billing is based on aggregated usage across all buckets at the instance level. For example, for Smart Tier, the billing is based on usage across all Smart Tier buckets in a given instance - not on the individual buckets.

IBM Cloud Object Storage pricing

Storage costs for IBM Cloud® Object Storage are determined by the average monthly stored volume of data, the amount of public outbound bandwidth used, and the total number of operational requests processed by the system.

Infrastructure offerings are connected to a three-tiered network, segmenting public, private, and management traffic. Infrastructure services can transfer data between one another across the private network at no cost. Infrastructure offerings (such as bare metal servers, virtual servers, and cloud storage) connect to other applications and services in the IBM Cloud Platform catalog (such as Watson services) across the public network, so data transfer between those two types of offerings is metered and charged at standard public network bandwidth rates.

Request classes

'Class A' requests involve modification or listing. This category includes creating buckets, uploading or copying objects, creating or changing configurations, listing buckets, and listing the contents of buckets.

'Class B' requests are related to retrieving objects or their associated metadata or configurations from the system.

Deleting buckets or objects from the system does not incur a charge. For charges related to Multiple Deletes, see Delete multiple objects.

Table 1. Request classes
Class Requests Examples
Class A PUT, COPY, and POST requests, as well as GET requests used to list buckets and objects Creating buckets, uploading or copying objects, listing buckets, listing contents of buckets, setting ACLs, and setting CORS configurations
Class B GET (excluding listing), HEAD, and OPTIONS requests Retrieving objects and metadata

Requests made using the Resource Configuration API are not charged for requests and do not accrue usage for billing purposes.

Aspera transfers

Aspera high-speed transfer incurs extra egress charges. For more information, see the pricing page.

Storage classes

Not all data that is stored needs to be accessed frequently, and some archival data might be rarely accessed if at all. For less active workloads, buckets can be created in a different storage class and objects that are stored in these buckets incur charges on a different schedule than standard storage.

There are six classes:

  • Smart Tier can be used for any workload, especially dynamic workloads where access patterns are unknown or difficult to predict. Smart Tier provides a simplified pricing structure and automatic cost optimization by classifying the data into "hot", "cool", and "cold" tiers based on monthly usage patterns. All data in the bucket is then billed at the lowest applicable rate. There are no threshold object sizes or storage periods, and there are no retrieval fees.
  • Standard is used for active workloads, with no charge for data retrieved (other than the cost of the operational request itself).
  • Vault is used for cool workloads where data is accessed less than once a month - an extra retrieval charge ($/GB) is applied each time data is read. The service includes a minimum threshold for object size and storage period consistent with the intended use of this service for cooler, less-active data.
  • Cold Vault is used for cold workloads where data is accessed every 90 days or less - a larger extra retrieval charge ($/GB) is applied each time data is read. The service includes a longer minimum threshold for object size and storage period consistent with the intended use of this service for cold, inactive data.

Flex has been replaced by Smart Tier for dynamic workloads. Flex users can continue to manage their data in existing Flex buckets, although no new Flex buckets may be created. Existing users can reference pricing information here.

For more information about pricing, see the pricing table at

The Active storage class is only used with One Rate plans, and cannot be used in Standard or Lite plan instances.

For more information about creating buckets with different storage classes, see the API reference.

Smart Tier pricing details

Based on monthly averages, data in a Smart Tier bucket is classified into one of three tiers based on the following variables:

Table 2. Smart Tier bucket classification
Variable Description
storage Total volume of data stored in GB
retrievals Total volume of data retrieved in GB
requests Sum of the number of Class A (write) requests plus 1/10 of the number of Class B (read) requests
  • Data is classified hot if the total requests > 1000 x (storage - retrievals).
  • Data is classified cold if the total requests < (storage - retrievals).
  • Data is classified cool if neither of the above equations are true.

For example, let's imagine a bucket in the us-south region with an access pattern that changes from month to month. The bucket stores 1 TB of data, but some objects are very large and others are very small.

  1. In the first month, there is a lot of activity but mostly with smaller objects. In total, there are 4 million requests and 100 GB is retrieved. This month the bucket is classified as hot.
  2. In the second month activity slows down, but the focus is on larger objects. This month there are only 4 thousand requests but 200 GB is retrieved. Now the bucket is classified as cool.
  3. In the third month activity slows to a near stop. There are only 400 requests and 10 GB is retrieved. This month the bucket is classified as cold.

Let's see how the costs might compare to the other storage classes.

Table 3. Cost comparison
Month storage requests retrieval Classification Standard Vault Cold Vault Smart Tier
1 1,000 GB 4,000,000 100 GB Hot $41 $53 $111 $41
2 1,000 GB 4,000 200 GB Cool $21 $14 $16 $12
3 1,000 GB 400 10 GB Cold $21 $12 $7 $8
$83 $79 $134 $61

Note that in situations where data is very cold, it is possible to get a lower rate with a Cold Vault bucket, although unexpected spikes in access could accrue significant costs. In this scenario, if the data doesn't require on-demand access, it might be better to archive the objects instead.

Get bucket metadata

In order to determine your current usage, you may wish to query a bucket to see bytes_used and object_count. Use of this command returns metadata containing that information for the specified bucket.

curl{my-bucket} \
                        -H 'authorization: bearer <IAM_token>'

The appropriate response to the request should contain bytes_used and object_count.

  "name": "{my-bucket}",
  "crn": "crn:v1:bluemix:public:cloud-object-storage:global:a/3bf0d9003abfb5d29761c3e97696b71c:d6f04d83-6c4f-4a62-a165-696756d63903:bucket:my-new-bucket",
  "service_instance_id": "d6f04d83-6c4f-4a62-a165-696756d63903",
  "service_instance_crn": "crn:v1:bluemix:public:cloud-object-storage:global:a/3bf0d9003abfb5d29761c3e97696b71c:d6f04d83-6c4f-4a62-a165-696756d63903::",
  "time_created": "2018-03-26T16:23:36.980Z",
  "time_updated": "2018-10-17T19:29:10.117Z",
  "object_count": 764265234,
  "bytes_used": 28198745752445144

Get resource information from an API

The resource controller is the next-generation IBM Cloud Platform provisioning layer that manages the lifecycle of Object Storage resources in a customer account. The API can provide actual billable metrics, such as types of requests and charges for storage, to get you started. More information can be found at the documentation

curl -X GET -H 'Authorization: Bearer <IAM_TOKEN>'

An appropriate response should list metadata for your resources as shown in the example.

  "rows_count": 1,
  "next_url": "/v2/resource_instances?next_docid=g1AAAACkeJzLYWBgYMpgTmFQSklKzi9KdUhJMtTLTMrVTSouNjAw1EvOyS9NScwr0ctLLckBqc1jAZIMC4DU____92eBxdycyiQ6O2sOMCQxMLHnZKEaZ0qEcQ8gxv2HG-fo9M_-Asg4-TVZWQCZcDI1&limit=2&account_id=d86af7367f70fba4f306d3c19c7344b2",
  "resources": [
      "id": "crn:v1:bluemix:public:cloud-object-storage:global:a/4329073d16d2f3663f74bfa955259139:8d7af921-b136-4078-9666-081bd8470d94::",
      "guid": "8d7af921-b136-4078-9666-081bd8470d94",
      "url": "/v2/resource_instances/8d7af921-b136-4078-9666-081bd8470d94",
      "created_at": "2018-04-19T00:18:53.302077457Z",
      "updated_at": "2018-04-19T00:18:53.302077457Z",
      "deleted_at": null,
      "name": "my-instance",
      "region_id": "global",
      "account_id": "4329073d16d2f3663f74bfa955259139",
      "resource_plan_id": "2fdf0c08-2d32-4f46-84b5-32e0c92fffd8",
      "resource_group_id": "0be5ad401ae913d8ff665d92680664ed",
      "resource_group_crn": "crn:v1:bluemix:public:resource-controller::a/4329073d16d2f3663f74bfa955259139::resource-group:0be5ad401ae913d8ff665d92680664ed",
      "target_crn": "crn:v1:bluemix:public:resource-catalog::a/9e16d1fed8aa7e1bd73e7a9d23434a5a::deployment:2fdf0c08-2d32-4f46-84b5-32e0c92fffd8%3Aglobal",
      "crn": "crn:v1:bluemix:public:cloud-object-storage:global:a/4329073d16d2f3663f74bfa955259139:8d7af921-b136-4078-9666-081bd8470d94::",
      "state": "active",
      "type": "service_instance",
      "resource_id": "dff97f5c-bc5e-4455-b470-411c3edbe49c",
      "dashboard_url": "/objectstorage/crn%3Av1%3Abluemix%3Apublic%3Acloud-object-storage%3Aglobal%3Aa%2F4329073d16d2f3663f74bfa955259139%3A8d7af921-b136-4078-9666-081bd8470d94%3A%3A",
      "last_operation": null,
      "resource_aliases_url": "/v2/resource_instances/8d7af921-b136-4078-9666-081bd8470d94/resource_aliases",
      "resource_bindings_url": "/v2/resource_instances/8d7af921-b136-4078-9666-081bd8470d94/resource_bindings",
      "resource_keys_url": "/v2/resource_instances/8d7af921-b136-4078-9666-081bd8470d94/resource_keys",
      "plan_history": [
          "resource_plan_id": "2fdf0c08-2d32-4f46-84b5-32e0c92fffd8",
          "start_date": "2018-04-19T00:18:53.302077457Z"
      "migrated": false,
      "controlled_by": ""