As the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigates the public cloud infrastructure landscape, Mark Boost, the CEO of Civo, calls for an industry overhaul to foster fair competition. In an exclusive interview with The Register, Boost discusses the challenges faced by smaller cloud providers and advocates for a market model that allows easy swapping of suppliers, similar to the energy sector.

“My company's biggest frustration is around the free credit situation," Boost told The Register. He highlights how the practice of offering substantial free credits by cloud giants creates an unfair playing field. "Smaller providers like us, we can't afford to give away hundreds of thousands of credits. What ends up happening is that [cloud giants] give out these credits, then after a period of time those credits are exhausted – they're normally time-limited as well."

Boost points out the lock-in effect of these practices,

"A year will have gone by, and you [the customer] build all your tooling around their ecosystem, which is very proprietary. And then to try and get out of that later... there's no open standards to move to another cloud provider." He further emphasizes the high egress fees and the resulting customer lock-in.

He suggests a cap on free credits, proposing that 10,000 in credit should be sufficient for businesses to start or try a service. Boost is an advocate for open standards and customer choice, stressing the importance of not being tied down by provider-specific tricks and constraints.

In the broader context of the cloud industry, Boost observes a trend towards on-premises solutions.

"Half of Civo's conversations at the recent Kubecon North America event were with people either coming off the cloud or considering moving some of their services away."

This shift is attributed to the high costs associated with cloud services and the specific needs of certain workloads better served on-premises.

Boost's vision for the cloud computing industry is one of freedom and flexibility, akin to the UK's energy market, where customers can seamlessly switch providers. As the CMA continues its investigation with a provisional decision expected by October 2024 and a final decision by April 2025, Boost's comments shed light on the complexities and potential for reform in the cloud computing sector.

For more insights from Mark Boost, read the full article on The Register.