Today, at Civo, we announced the complete removal of all egress fees, without caveats. Regardless of whether you stay with Civo, or look to move to another provider.

Why have we done this?

Our decision to remove egress fees is rooted from the original promise of cloud computing: flexibility and freedom. It embodies the ability to tap into virtually limitless computing resources on demand, without being tethered to rigid, on-premises infrastructure. Companies would finally be unshackled from the constraints of legacy systems, free to innovate and scale as their needs evolve.

But for many businesses today, that promise rings increasingly hollow, eroded by the predatory practices of a few dominant cloud providers. Chief among these is the insidious growth of egress fees—charges levied when data is moved out of a cloud provider's ecosystem. What was once touted as a minor line item has ballooned into a major expense and powerful tactic used by the hyperscalers to lock in customers and stifle competition. But with Civo, no more.

The corrosive impact of egress fees

Punitive egress costs have made it prohibitively expensive for organizations to migrate between clouds or adopt multi-cloud strategies, locking them into the vendor they chose from the outset. This forces companies into strict, inflexible architectures that hamstring innovation and leave them beholden to the whims of their provider.

Worse still, because moving data has become so costly, businesses are disincentivized from taking advantage of the latest cloud services and technologies that could drive efficiency and agility. Why bother migrating workloads to a new provider's AI or analytics offering if the egress fees outweigh any potential benefit?

The unintended consequence is a world of fragmented modernization, where companies find themselves trapped on stagnant islands of legacy cloud, unable to fully embrace the latest innovations. Their digital transformations stifle and stall, leaving them at a competitive disadvantage.

Monopolies and lock-in stifle innovation

The corrosive effect isn't limited just to individual businesses, either. By creating such effective lock-in, the hyperscale providers have tilted the entire cloud ecosystem in their favor, erecting formidable barriers that smother would-be disruptors and upstart challengers. For any startup or challenger cloud company looking to take on the giants, egress fees represent an imposing obstacle. How can a new player realistically convince customers to switch when the simple act of moving data carries such exorbitant penalties? Even offering superior technology or lower pricing may not be enough to overcome the high switching costs created by egress.

The result is a cloud landscape that grows less competitive and innovative by the day. As just a handful of hyperscale incumbents tighten their grip, new ideas and approaches struggle to take root, depriving customers of choice and new solutions. This lack of competitive pressure leaves the giants with little incentive to invest in true, ground-breaking innovation.

In the end, the entire technology ecosystem suffers. True transformation thrives in open, hotly contested sector where the best concepts can find an audience and spread rapidly based on merit. But in a market where the entrenched players are incentivized to restrict rather than enable transformation, that creative spark is in danger of being extinguished.

Hyperscaler caveats: Complexity and walled gardens remain

Facing mounting regulatory scrutiny and public pressure, the Big Three cloud providers have finally taken steps to abolish egress fees. But as is so often the case with the hyperscale giants, their concessions come with significant strings attached. Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure have removed egress charges, but only for customers willing to completely abandon their platforms and shut down their accounts. Any business hoping to actually take advantage of multi-cloud or maintain a hybrid environment will still face punishing costs for data mobility.

Amazon Web Services has been slightly more permissive, and does not require a customer to shut down their account. However, the process for qualifying remains rife with complexity and subjective approval requirements. Any data transfers over 100TB per month must receive direct sign-off from AWS support, who will assess whether the egress represents "a normal part of your business or a one-time transfer as part of a switch to another cloud provider or on-premises."

True cloud evangelists should see these convoluted reforms for what they are: symbolic half-measures designed to placate regulators while preserving the anti-competitive status quo. Genuine reform, the kind we offer at Civo, involves no fine print or awkward approval processes, just simple, equitable data portability that fosters innovation and customer flexibility.

Reclaiming the cloud's revolutionary spirit

This wasn't the cloud's purpose. The cloud was meant to liberate businesses from the constraints of legacy IT, not ensnare them in new, more insidious forms of proprietary lock-in. It was meant to be a great equalizer, bringing emerging innovators and enterprises onto a level playing field of scalable, adaptable infrastructure.

At Civo, we believe the cloud's potential to drive innovation and digital transformation is too vital to be subjugated by the monopolistic practices of a few incumbents. If we want to see that potential realized, the technology community—from startups to enterprises—must stand united against the egress fee trap and demand a cloud ecosystem built on openness, and challenge artificial barriers to choice wherever they exist.

A fair cloud for the innovation age

Realizing the original promise of cloud requires dismantling the monopolistic practices and systemic disincentives for competition that have taken root. Punitive egress fees that restrict data portability must go. Restrictive licensing and proprietary services that create vendor lock-in must be abolished.

In their place, we need a new, truly open cloud ecosystem built on shared industry standards and equitable pricing models that empower businesses of all sizes. Customers shouldn't be trapped on any one provider's platform. They should be able to seamlessly leverage the best services and solutions for their needs across any cloud or combination of clouds. And they should be able to adapt those architectures over time as requirements change without being penalized by excessive cross-pollination fees. Eliminating egress fees without compromise

In a move that sets us apart from the hyperscale giants, we've announced the complete abolition of all egress fees for our customers, with no strings attached. This positions us as a leader in enabling a truly open and flexible cloud ecosystem. Our decision to remove egress fees comes with no requirements or limits, empowering businesses to freely move their data between our platform and others as their needs evolve. This approach contrasts with that of the Big Tech providers, which continue to put profits over consumers by maintaining significant caveats around eliminating egress charges.

By avoiding any restrictive conditions, we are facilitating a cloud experience built on openness and uncompromising data portability. Businesses can leverage services across multiple clouds without fear of punitive penalties. This stance aligns with our vision of simplifying the cloud through transparent, customer-centric pricing models that tear down artificial barriers. Those of us committed to this vision must be vocal in advocating for it. We must reject egress fee penalties and any other practices designed to box businesses into inflexible, high-cost arrangements. And we must embrace new models and new providers aligned to cloud's original values of transformation and equitable access to infinite resources.

The possibilities of this technology are too vast to be caged by monopolistic greed. It's time to set the cloud free.