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InfoQ Homepage News Cloudflare Challenges AWS with R2 Storage and No Egress Fees

Cloudflare Challenges AWS with R2 Storage and No Egress Fees

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Cloudflare has recently announced R2 storage, a S3-compatible service to store large amounts of data with no egress bandwidth fees associated. An automatic migration of objects from Amazon S3 to Cloudflare R2 will be offered to facilitate the transition or integration for existing AWS deployments.

Cloudflare claims that they will eliminate egress fees, deliver an object storage that is at least 10% cheaper than S3, and make infrequent access free. In the announcement, Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare, explains:

Since AWS launched S3, cloud storage has attracted, and then locked in, developers with exorbitant egress fees. (...) Our aim is to make R2 Storage the least expensive, most reliable option for storing data, with no egress charges.

Automatic migration from S3 to R2. Source: https://blog.cloudflare.com/introducing-r2-object-storage/

After promoting the Bandwidth Alliance, a group of cloud and networking companies committed to discounting data transfer fees, hoping that AWS would join; Cloudflare highlighted last summer what Prince calls AWS’s Egregious Egress and "Hotel California Pricing":

During the last ten years, industry wholesale transit prices have fallen an average of 23% annually. Compounded over that time, wholesale bandwidth is 93% less expensive than 10 years ago. However, AWS’s egress fees over that same period have fallen by only 25%.

Analyzing the "Compelling Economics of Cloudflare R2", Coney Quinn, cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, explains how the new service could be used by existing AWS customers:

Cloudflare offers an "S3 proxy" of sorts; you can drop this in front of S3 or, frankly, any S3-compatible object store, which is effectively all of them. And suddenly the fun begins.

In a popular tweet thread, Quinn adds:

I'm really curious what position AWS is going to take on Cloudflare's free egress: 1) That's impossible, Cloudflare will go bankrupt doing this. 2) Yeah, you caught us, we've been ripping you off for years. Have a discount. 3) Complete silence.

The announcement has been discussed and well received by developers on Hacker News and Reddit. Claiming that Cloudflare is "Eating the Cloud from Outside In", Shawn Wang, developer experience at Temporal.io, writes:

Cloudflare took a part of the cloud nobody valued, gave away an insanely good free offering, and quietly accumulated an 80% market share. Meanwhile, when people think of Tier 1 AWS services, its Cloudflare equivalent, Amazon CloudFront, rarely gets any love.

A few users question the name R2, Rapid and Reliable, with Taloflow providing a name generator for future object storage services. R2 is still under development with a waitlist for access. It is expected to cost 0.015 USD per GB per month, not charging data egress and offering zero rate request charges until customers are making double-digit requests per second.

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