- Google Cloud will no longer charge customers egress fees for moving data from its infrastructure to another cloud provider or migrating workloads to on-premises data centers, the company announced Thursday.
- The policy change, effective immediately, eliminates transfer fees for customers terminating deployments in data-related services, including Google’s BigQuery data warehouse and its Cloud Bigtable, Cloud SQL, Cloud Storage, Datastore, Filestore, Spanner and Persistent Disk services.
- To be eligible for Google Cloud Exit transfer fee waivers, customers must submit a formal request, after which they have 60 days to end their deployment. Customers are then credited for any egress fees.
In a business dominated by AWS and Microsoft, public cloud consumers and government regulators have bristled at pricing structures that discourage hybrid and multicloud deployments.
Google Cloud, the third largest domestic market hyperscaler, would like to see contractual constraints on interoperability loosened, too.
“When customers’ business needs evolve, the cloud should be flexible enough to accommodate those changes,” said Amit Zavery, GM, VP and head of platform, in the announcement.
Public scrutiny of pricing practices intensified last year, as UK regulator Ofcom referred its public cloud inquiry to the Competition and Markets Authority for further investigation, citing potentially anticompetitive practices.
The Federal Trade Commission fired warning shots at the hyperscalers in March, when the agency issued a request for information on competition in public cloud. Agency Chair Lina Khan singled out egress fees, minimum-spend contracts and software licensing processes as points of regulatory concern during a November meeting.
Tensions flared in June, when Google Cloud called out Microsoft’s “complex web of licensing restrictions” as a barrier to healthy competition in cloud in an 11-page response to the FTC’s call for public comment.
While Zavery didn’t mention any specific competitors Thursday, the announcement alluded to the row over restrictive licensing.
“Certain legacy providers leverage their on-premises software monopolies to create cloud monopolies, using restrictive licensing practices that lock in customers and warp competition,” the announcement said.
Zavery framed the move as a challenge to competitors. “Eliminating data transfer fees for switching cloud providers will make it easier for customers to change their cloud provider,” he said in the announcement. “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.”
Customers who are migrating a portion of their data but maintaining their current contract can contact a Google Cloud support team regarding their options and potential fee waivers. Data transfer charges remain at their current rate for normal customer activities, the company said, and the credits are only for workloads leaving Google Cloud.
“This is something that is very in line with Google Cloud’s multicloud-friendly philosophy,” Tracy Woo, principal analyst at Forrester, told CIO Dive, adding, “they’re also probably trying to avoid anti-competitive scrutiny.”