Don’t get surprised by the cloud’s data-egress fees

Moving your data out of a public cloud, even for normal transactions, costs you real money for every gigabyte. Here’s how to minimize the price

Don’t get surprised by the cloud’s data-egress fees
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Imagine getting into a nightclub for free, no cover. Now, imagine leaving the club later that night, and it charges you a cover charge to leave. That’s pretty much what the cloud providers do. 

Public cloud providers charge egress fees to move data out of their clouds—yes, your data. It’s still egregious that you’re being charged at the exit, not the entrance. But they all do it.

Although egress fees change all the time and vary by provider, Amazon Web Services, for example, currently charges the following per gigabyte:

  • 1GB to 10TB: $0.09
  • 10TB to 50TB: $0.085
  • 50TB to 150TB: $0.07
  • 150TB to 500TB: $0.05
  • 500TB or more: Contact Amazon

The more data you move out, the cheaper the fee per gigabyte.

Keep this in mind: Most companies that use public clouds pay these fees for day-to-day transactions, such as moving data from cloud-based storage to on-premises storage. Those just starting out with cloud won’t feel the sting of these fees, but advanced users could end up pushing and pulling terabytes of data from their cloud provider and end up with a significant egress bill. 

It’s not major money that will break the budget, but egress fees are often overlooked when doing business planning and when considering the ROI of cloud hosting. Indeed, for at least the next few years, IT organizations will be making their cloud-based applications and data work and play well with on-premises data. That means a lot of data will move back and forth, and that means higher egress fees.

My best advice is to put automated cost usage and cost governance tools in place to make sure you understand what’s being charged, and for what services. Moreover, know who’s using the services so you can do showback and chargeback. Those in the organization who are doing egress should get the bills for it; that’ll encourage efficiency very quickly.