Microsoft Is Final Cloud Giant to Kill Data Egress Fees

Following fellow "Big 3" cloud giants AWS and Google Cloud, Microsoft this week announced its Azure cloud computing platform will no longer charge data egress fees for data leaving its cloud.

While the moves might be seen as competitive ploys that eliminate a longstanding source of customer pain, the cloud giants have been prodded by regulatory pressures, and Microsoft specifically referenced the European Data Act, which contains provisions to ease the process of switching cloud providers, in its succinct announcement:

We support customer choice, including the choice to migrate your data away from Azure.

Azure now offers free egress for customers leaving Azure when taking their data out of the Azure infrastructure via the internet to switch to another cloud provider or an on-premises data center. Azure already offers the first 100GB/month of egressed data for free to all customers in all Azure regions around the world. If you need to egress more than 100GB/month, please follow these steps to claim your credit. Contact Azure Support for details on how to start the data transfer-out process. Please comply with the instructions to be eligible for the credit. Azure Support will apply the credit when the data transfer process is complete and all Azure subscriptions associated to the account have been canceled.

The exemption on data transfer out to the internet fees also aligns with the European Data Act and is accessible to all Azure customers globally and from any Azure region.

More information is available in "What data transfer fees are applied when moving all data off Azure?" documentation.

Microsoft's announcement came just 10 days after Amazon announced "Free data transfer out to internet when moving out of AWS."

While characterizing the move as serving "customer choice," the company also mentioned regulatory pressure: "The waiver on data transfer out to the internet charges also follows the direction set by the European Data Act and is available to all AWS customers around the world and from any AWS Region."

An AWS FAQ provides more information.

Google, meanwhile, was an early trailblazer with its January announcement: "Cloud switching just got easier: Removing data transfer fees when moving off Google Cloud."

The company didn't mention the European Data Act, but it did gripe about that act's provisions that make it easier to switch providers.

"Eliminating data transfer fees for switching cloud providers will make it easier for customers to change their cloud provider; however, it does not solve the fundamental issue that prevents many customers from working with their preferred cloud provider in the first place: restrictive and unfair licensing practices," the company said.

The post mentions "certain legacy providers" that leverage on-premises software monopolies to create cloud monopolies while implementing restrictive licensing practices that lock in customers and thwart competition.

"Making it easier for customers to move from one provider to another does little to improve choice if customers remain locked in with restrictive licenses," Google said. "Customers should choose a cloud provider because it makes sense for their business, not because their legacy provider has locked them in with overly restrictive contracting terms or punitive licensing practices."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.


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