Cloud computing is often cited as a way for SMBs to save money. Smaller business, which typically don’t have the resources necessary to maintain their own in-house computing infrastructures are often seduced by the convenience and flexibility of public cloud services. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine (GCE) are the Big Three in this area, and millions of businesses rely on them every day.
Unfortunately, with most of the public cloud services come a whole raft of hidden costs, and it’s not always easy to take back control. After all, since the service providers want to discourage customers from getting out, there’s usually something of a vendor lock-in in the form of data egress fees. Data egress refers to outgoing data which, in this case, is data being migrated from one cloud service to another, an on-premises device or to another region operated under the same service provider.
Unsurprisingly, uploading data to the cloud (data ingress) is usually free. However, when companies want to move anything out of the cloud, they’ll typically be charged data egress fees. Fees are charged on a per-gigabyte basis, with multiple fee brackets meaning that cost per gigabyte is reduced once you reach larger data loads. Nonetheless, the costs can still run into thousands of dollars per month, which can be crippling for any small business that relies heavily on data.
#1. Data Migration
The whole problem with the mainstream public cloud services, which is a deal-breaker for some companies, is the fact that you lose a degree of control over your data. Once you’ve transferred data to the cloud, you’ll have to pay if you want to migrate your systems to another cloud-based service or an in-house infrastructure. In some ways, it’s a little like having your data held to ransom. A hybrid or private cloud, by contrast, should allow you to maintain complete control over your data.
They say that the public cloud presents unprecedented flexibility and global scalability, but when you factor in the added cost of transferring data between regions, the fees can quickly skyrocket. If your business operates globally or plans to do so in the future, these additional fees can become a major concern. In other words, if you move a lot of data between different geographical regions, then the public cloud probably isn’t the right solution for your business.
Backing up data is critical, and many companies like to keep a local backup of their important files. After all, what happens if you have a problem with your internet connection and become unable to retrieve data stored online? Keeping a local copy of your files is always a good idea and, in some industries, it may be mandatory for meeting regulatory demands. However, if you want to keep a local backup of your cloud-based data, you’ll probably end up getting stung by data egress fees.
Public cloud services typically allow you to take snapshots of your virtual machines (also known as instances). AWS, for example, allows users to back up data stored in their EBS volumes to the S3 online storage service by taking point-based snapshots. While you can never have too many backups, not saving these snapshots in moderation can quickly lead to higher storage costs. Additionally, if you ever want to transfer these snapshots elsewhere, the data egress fee hammer will strike again.
#3. Poorly Optimized Instances
Establishing a carefully thought-out virtual machine infrastructure is critical when using any cloud-based service. If you’re running more instances than you need, leaving them running when you’re not using them or having people access them when they don’t need to, you’ll end up paying much more than necessary. Every business has a different set of requirements, but the ability to effectively keep track of your hosted resources is essential across the board.
If you’re not entirely familiar with your cloud-based infrastructure and, consequently, the quantity of data stored online, you could find egress fees skyrocketing when you want to migrate data. Public cloud services like AWS typically offer a variety of models, including on-demand, reserved and spot instances. While no-commitment on-demand instances might sound attractive, they quickly lose their feasibility if you end up using them for sustained periods.
#4. Using the Wrong IP Address
One of the most commonly overlooked ways that unexpected data egress fees can kick in is when you’re using an unsuitable IP address for running your instances. By default, AWS, for example, assigns a static Elastic IP address to your account. This is a public IP address that you’ll be using to access an instance or network infrastructure over the internet. While you’ll have the freedom to assign this IP address to any of your AWS resources, it still costs more than using a private IP.
By operating your own private IP address, you’ll be able to save a significant amount of money unlike when you’re effectively renting a public IP (such as an Elastic IP) address. For example, if you’re transferring data within the same region, provided there is the necessary storage availability, you’ll be able to do so for free, albeit only with a private IP address. If using an Elastic IP, by contrast, AWS will charge you one cent per gigabyte of data transferred.,/p>
One of the best ways to avoid paying costly data egress fees, and to truly enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the cloud provides, is to adopt a hybrid-cloud approach. Our hybrid-cloud solution does not charge any fees for data egress, allowing you to maintain complete control over your digital assets. If you’d like to find out more about how our services can save your business money, drop us a line today.