Cloudflare Blasts AWS Egress Broadband Costs, Data Portability Limits

Cloudflare said AWS's pricing goes against the company's own mission statement.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

July 27, 2021

3 Min Read
Cloud flare, sun over clouds

Cloudflare is criticizing Amazon Web Services (AWS), accusing it of massive egress markups and inhibiting customer data portability.


Cloudflare’s Matthew Prince


Cloudflare’s Nitin Rao

In a blog post, Matthew Prince, Cloudflare’s CEO, and Nitin Rao, senior vice president of global infrastructure, said AWS was a huge step forward in terms of flexibility and scalability, but a “massive step backward” in terms of pricing.

“Nowhere is that more apparent than with their data transfer (bandwidth) pricing,” they said. “If you look at the (ironically named) AWS Simple Monthly Calculator, you can calculate the price they charge for bandwidth for their typical customer. The price varies by region, which shouldn’t surprise you because the cost of transit is dramatically different in different parts of the world.”

AWS sent us the following statement:

“Major cloud providers charge similar amounts for transferring data out of their clouds. However, not all clouds are the same. It’s important to note that data transfer costs are more than just bandwidth. In addition to bandwidth, our costs reflect the extreme levels of redundancy that our customers get in our data center and broader networks, and the value of a purpose-built backbone that reduces latency and improves throughput. Our pricing reflects the cost of network investments AWS makes in equipment and network backbone (in addition to bandwidth) to provide a highly available, performant and redundant network that scales to customer workloads. While delivering unmatched value to customers, we’ve also made eight data transfer out (egress) related price cuts in the last 11 years. And, the majority of our heavy data transfer workload customers use Amazon CloudFront (AWS’s content delivery service) to enjoy even more significant cost savings.”

Massive Egress Costs

In particular, Cloudflare points out massive markups for egress bandwidth costs. For instance, it says customers in the United States and Canada pay 80 times Amazon’s costs. The same disparity exists for customers in Europe.

“Amazon’s mission statement is: ‘We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience’,” they said. “And yet, when it comes to egress, their prices are far from the lowest possible.”

During the last 10 years, industry wholesale transit prices have fallen an average of 23% annually, Cloudflare said.

“Compounded over that time, wholesale bandwidth is 93% less expensive than 10 years ago,” Prince and Rao said. “However, AWS’s egress fees over that same period have fallen by only 25%. And, since 2018, the egress fees AWS charges in North America and Europe have not dropped a penny even as wholesale prices in those markets over the same time period have fallen by more than half.”

Cloudflare said another “oddity” of AWS’s pricing is that it charges for data transferred out of its network but not for data transferred into its network.

“If the only time you’ve paid for bandwidth is with your residential internet connection, then this may make some sense,” Prince and Rao said. “Because of some technical limitations of the cable network, download bandwidth is typically higher than upload bandwidth on cable modem connections. But that’s not how wholesale bandwidth is bought or sold. The only rationale we can reasonably come up with for AWS’s egress pricing: locking customers into their cloud, and making it prohibitively expensive to get customer data back out. So much for being customer-first.”

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like