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Consider these options to reduce AWS data transfer costs

While it's free to get data onto AWS, it can be expensive to get it off. Avoid being stung by hefty egress fees with services such as CloudFront, Direct Connect and Snowball.

Organizations can struggle to rein in costs associated with data movement into and out of AWS, which is why they...

need a solid data egress plan.

Tracking expenses can quickly become convoluted for organizations that need to move data stored on AWS. For example, it's free to move data onto Amazon's cloud or within the same availability zone (AZ) on a private IP address. But AWS charges $0.01 per gigabyte for transfers to public IP addresses, even within the same AZ, and costs go up from there for movement between regions and off AWS entirely. There are other factors as well, including how much data is transferred, how fast it's transferred and which AWS services are involved.

If your company has a high volume of data that requires constant movement, you might want to explore other AWS data transfer options to limit egress fees and decrease your overall cloud bill.

Serve content through Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) service that uses AWS edge locations to securely deliver data with high transfer speeds and low latency. One way to work around data egress costs is to put the CDN service in front of your website, because data transfers are free from Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 to CloudFront. But there are AWS data transfer fees to move data to customers, and those vary based on geographical region and volume.

You can also choose from what AWS calls CloudFront price classes. You'll always pay less with a lower tier, but your traffic will be routed through the lower-cost edge location, which might result in latency. If your origin server is updated frequently, this model can also lead to improper configuration, which can ultimately increase your costs.

Pass data through Direct Connect

AWS Direct Connect is a service that creates a dedicated network between on-premises infrastructure and the AWS cloud. Its primary purpose is to forgo the public internet and instead establish a secure, high-bandwidth and consistent connection. Even after the costs associated with Direct Connect installation, the service can potentially reduce egress fees because of its lower AWS data transfer rates.

The service charges $0.02 per gigabyte to move data out of AWS to any location in the U.S. or Canada, whereas users can pay as much as $0.09 per gigabyte to pull data out of EC2 without the private connection. Organizations do, however, also need to factor in port hours, which range from $0.30 per hour for 1 GB speed and up to $2.25 per hour for 10 GB. There are lower speed ports as well, but anything below 1 GB can compromise performance.

Request a Snowball

If you need to offload a large amount of data from AWS back on premises -- and especially if you don't use AWS Direct Connect -- consider AWS Snowball. It's a physical storage device that organizations can use to send data to and from the AWS cloud. Snowball comes in two size options: 50 TB ($200 per job) and 80 TB ($250 per job). After you request a Snowball device from AWS Management Console, it's shipped to your data center. There are no other charges for the first 10 days the device is on-site, but it costs $15 for each additional day beyond that.

An organization will load data onto the Snowball device and then ship it back to Amazon once it's completed; standard shipping rates apply. There is no charge to transfer the actual data into Amazon S3, but it costs $0.03 per GB to transfer data out of Amazon S3 for most regions.

This was last published in November 2018

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