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The Secret War Against Multicloud


By: Mary Jander

Recent news that Google Cloud will allow customers leaving its services to move their data off-cloud for free raised hopes that the move would pressure competitors AWS and Microsoft to follow suit – or at least to pare down some of their own “hidden” costs.

Sadly, it looks as though the cloud hyperscalers, including Google, remain intent on preserving their fiefdoms and that they have little or no interest in easily sharing their compute, storage, and networking resources across other cloud environments.

Take Google Cloud, for instance. Yes, it’s good news that the company will no longer charge customers who choose to abandon ship to pay for the privilege of moving their data off Google Cloud. But the fine print reveals a number of exclusions and caveats, as follows:

  • Free data transfer is available only for customers who are abandoning all services on Google Cloud and ending their GCP contracts. It doesn’t pertain to customers moving data from one GCP service to another or to an external source – aka egress costs.
  • Only customers with Google’s Premium Tier Network Service Tier contracts, as opposed to Standard Tier, are eligible for free data transfer.
  • Free data transfer applies to a number of specific Google Cloud services, including BigQuery, Cloud Bigtable, Cloud SQL, Cloud Storage, Datastore, Filestore, Spanner, and Persistent Disk. The eligibility of other services remains a question.
  • Free data transfer is available at the discretion of Google Cloud, which will evaluate each request separately in response to an application for review.

Why Google Cloud Did This

By now, it’s well known that Google Cloud adopted its new policy for two reasons: First, it wants to differentiate itself from rivals that persist in charging similar fees; and second, the company wants to put distance between itself and regulatory scrutiny from groups that have been raising increasingly louder protests against anti-competitive practices by cloud companies. These groups include the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the UK Competition and Markets Authority, the European Commission, the UK Office of Communications (or Ofcom), and the Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe trade association.

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