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Azure egress costs: What you should know

As financial priorities shift and companies aim to optimize their investments, examining cloud budgets has become increasingly important. That includes the cost of data transfer or “egress” fees. These fees, which are incurred when data is transmitted from a public cloud to another location, such as the internet or a different cloud provider, can have a sizable impact on a company’s cloud expenditure.

Companies using hyperscaler clouds, like Microsoft Azure, must remain vigilant about escalating egress costs, which can stealthily accumulate and heavily burden their cloud budgets. This article sheds light on Azure egress costs, pinpointing the circumstances under which costs might escalate beyond expectations. We’ll delve into the specifics of Azure’s pricing tiers for outbound data, examine factors that influence these costs, and consider how they vary with different service options and regions. Additionally, we’ll outline more economical paths companies might take, such as leveraging alternative cloud providers like DigitalOcean.

What are egress costs?

Egress costs refer to the fees charged by cloud providers for data that is sent out (“egressed”) from their data centers to the internet or to another network. This is in contrast to ingress costs, which are typically non-existent, as most cloud providers, including Azure, do not charge for incoming data (“ingressed”).

Egress fees can significantly affect cloud infrastructure budgets, especially for services with high outbound data transfer needs, such as streaming, gaming, and other bandwidth-intensive services. It’s critical to understand these costs since they can vary based on the amount of data, destination, and region from which it’s sent, impacting the overall cost of cloud operations and architectural decisions.

How do Azure egress costs work?

Azure egress costs refer to the charges incurred when data is transferred out of Azure data centers to the Internet or to other regions. The first 100GB of data egress per month is free, which is a cost incentive for moderate users. Beyond the 100GB threshold, users are billed on a tiered basis, where the price per gigabyte decreases as data usage increases, reflecting a volume discount.

Transfers within the same Azure region are free, promoting the use of services within a single region. However, when data moves across regions, such as from North America to Europe, or from one continent to another, Azure imposes charges. Data transfer pricing is also influenced by the transfer method, with different rates for data egress via Microsoft’s premium global network versus a transit ISP network.

Azure egress pricing

Azure pricing is accurate as of December 13, 2023.

Azure’s pricing model for egress traffic is detailed below, with clear distinctions made based on the data transfer type—within the same Availability Zone, across different Availability Zones, or inter-region.

Data transfer

Azure’s pricing structure for data transfer within its own network varies depending on the type of transfer. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Data transfer in: Free

  • Data transfer between Availability Zones (Egress and Ingress): $0.01 per GB

  • Data transfer within same Availability Zone: Free

  • Data Transfer From Azure Origin to Azure CDN (Content Delivery Network): Free

  • Data Transfer From Azure Origin to Azure Front Door: Free

Intra-continental data transfer

Data transfer within the same continent but across different regions incurs charges:

  • Between regions within North America and Europe: $0.02 per GB

  • Between regions within Asian, Oceania, and Middle East and Africa: $0.08 per GB

  • Between regions within South America: $0.16 per GB

Inter-continental data transfer

Data transfer between different continents is priced based on the source continent:

  • From North America and Europe to other continents: $0.05 per GB

  • From Asia, Oceania, and Africa to other continents: $0.08 per GB

  • From South America to other continents: $0.16 per GB

Internet Egress (Microsoft Premium Global Network)

When leveraging Microsoft’s Premium Global Network for your internet egress needs, pricing is tiered based on the volume of outgoing data and also varies with the continent from which the data is being sent.

This cost applies to all outward-bound data from Azure’s services, including every byte that leaves the Azure network to reach the internet or another cloud environment. These egress fees are a core part of managing cloud resources with Azure, and they are incurred regardless of whether the data transfer is regional or crosses continents. It’s a critical consideration for all Azure users, as these costs will impact the total expense of their cloud operations.:

From North America, Europe

  • First 100GB / Month: Free

  • Next 10TB / Month: $0.087 per GB

  • Next 40TB / Month: $0.083 per GB

  • Next 100TB / Month: $0.07 per GB

  • Next 350TB / Month: $0.05 per GB

From Asia (excluding China), Australia, MEA

  • First 100GB / Month: Free

  • Next 10TB / Month: $0.12 per GB

  • Next 40TB / Month: $0.085 per GB

  • Next 100TB / Month: $0.082 per GB

  • Next 350TB / Month: $0.08 per GB

From South America

  • First 100GB / Month: Free

  • Next 10TB / Month: $0.181 per GB

  • Next 40TB / Month: $0.175 per GB

  • Next 100TB / Month: $0.17 per GB

  • Next 350TB / Month: $0.16 per GB

Internet Egress (Routing Preference ISP Network)

For egress via Routing Preference ISP Network, the pricing is as follows:

From North America, Europe

  • First 100GB / Month: Free

  • Next 10TB / Month: $0.08 per GB

  • Next 40TB / Month: $0.065 per GB

  • Next 100TB / Month: $0.075 per GB

  • Next 350TB / Month: $0.06 per GB

From Asia (excluding China), Australia, MEA

  • First 100GB / Month: Free

  • Next 10TB / Month: $0.11 per GB

  • Next 40TB / Month: $0.07 per GB

  • Next 100TB / Month: $0.06 per GB

  • Next 350TB / Month: $0.04 per GB

From South America

  • First 100GB / Month: Free

  • Next 10TB / Month: $0.12 per GB

  • Next 40TB / Month: $0.085 per GB

  • Next 100TB / Month: $0.08 per GB

  • Next 350TB / Month: $0.075 per GB

Azure Egress pricing example: Internet Egress (routed via Microsoft Premium Global Network)

Let’s consider a business that routinely transfers data to various global destinations and incurs Internet Egress fees through the Microsoft Premium Global Network:

  • The business transfers 15TB of data from North America

  • The business also transfers 8TB of data from South America

North America data transfer costs

Pricing structure:

First 100GB: Free

Next 10TB: $0.087 per GB

Above 10TB: $0.083 per GB

Data transfer calculation:

Cost for the first 100GB: Free

Cost for the next 10TB: (10,000GB - 100GB) * $0.087 = $867.03

Cost for the remaining 5TB: 5,000GB * $0.083 = $415.00

Total Cost for North America:

Total: $867.03 + $415.00 = $1,282.03

The total cost for transferring 15TB of data is approximately $1,282.03.

South America data transfer costs

Pricing structure:

First 100GB: Free

Next 10TB: $0.181 per GB

Data transfer calculation:

Cost for the first 100GB: Free

Cost for the 8TB: (8,000GB - 100GB) * $0.181 = $1,429.80

Total cost for South America:

Total: $1,429.80

The total cost for transferring 8TB of data is approximately $1,429.80.

Combined total costs

North America: $1,282.03

South America: $1,429.80

Combined total: $1,282.03 + $1,429.80 = $2,711.83

The combined total cost for data transfers from North America and South America is approximately $2,711.83 per month. ​​This example shows how the cost of egress can accumulate with the amount of data transferred and the distance between the Azure regions.

DigitalOcean egress pricing comparison

Now, let’s walk through the same scenario with DigitalOcean with a total data transfer of 23TB. Compared to Azure, DigitalOcean offers a more generous free bandwidth allowance and does not implement region-based pricing for data egress, simplifying budgeting for bandwidth costs. You can use the bandwidth calculator to see your own costs.

digitalocean bandwidth calculator

Account bandwidth pool:

The account has an estimated bandwidth allowance of 500 GiB.

Data transfer and costs:

The estimated data consumption is 23,000 GiB.

This leads to an estimated overage of 22,500 GiB (23,000 GiB - 500 GiB allowance).

The overage is charged at $0.01 per GiB.

Total overage cost calculation:

Overage Charge = 22,500 GiB * $0.01/GiB = $225

The total overage cost for using 23TB (23,000 GiB) of data is $225, which is the additional cost incurred beyond the included bandwidth allowance.

The cost for data transfer on DigitalOcean is significantly lower at $225 compared to Azure’s cost of $2,711.83 for the same volume of data, highlighting DigitalOcean’s more cost-effective pricing for bandwidth usage. The cost for data transfer on DigitalOcean is approximately 91.70% lower than Azure’s cost for the same volume of data. ​​

DigitalOcean: An Azure Alternative for Lower Egress Costs

Are you looking to reduce your company’s egress costs without compromising performance or features? Consider DigitalOcean, an Azure alternative for your cloud computing needs.

Sans Paper, an Australian construction software firm, made a strategic shift from Microsoft Azure to DigitalOcean for their cloud service needs. Gim Wee, the CTO of Sans Paper, pointed out a key challenge with Azure, stating, “The documentation for Azure is not great. You probably need specialized DevOps that knows Azure, how to set it up, and how to maintain that.”

The migration to DigitalOcean wasn’t just about simplifying their operations; it was also financially beneficial. “There was a definite cost savings and that was a motivator as well. We have seen thirty percent cost savings,” says Marcus van Enk, the Founder and CEO of Sans Paper. This considerable cost reduction has empowered Sans Paper to reallocate funds to other business areas, fostering growth and innovation.

With a focus on simplicity and cost-effectiveness, DigitalOcean offers an impressive range of services that could significantly lower your monthly bill.

  • Transparent pricing: DigitalOcean prides itself on straightforward pricing. With a flat rate of $0.01 per GB for data transfer, budgeting becomes simpler and more predictable.

  • Generous bandwidth allowances: Depending on the Droplet plan you choose, you can receive between 500 GiB to 11,000 GiB per month of outbound bandwidth included in your costs. This broad range caters to various business sizes and needs.

  • Cost-effective overage rates: If your data transfer needs exceed the allowances, DigitalOcean only charges a flat rate of $0.01 per GiB for additional outbound data transfer over the public network.

  • Avoid vendor lock-in: High egress fees are often a hidden handcuff of vendor lock-in, deterring you from moving data and switching providers due to cost. DigitalOcean combats this with low, predictable egress pricing, ensuring you can transfer data without facing steep fees—keeping your cloud strategy flexible and avoiding lock-in.

  • Bandwidth pooling: When you run multiple Droplets, DigitalOcean pools the bandwidth allowance. This means the more virtual machines you operate, the larger your collective bandwidth cap becomes, offering even greater flexibility and cost savings.

  • No charges for internal data transfer: Data transfers between DigitalOcean Droplets using a virtual private network do not count towards your bandwidth allowance, nor do they incur overage charges. This is ideal for businesses with heavy internal data traffic.

  • Premium offerings: Beyond the basic Droplet virtual machines, explore Premium CPU-Optimized virtual machines designed for CPU-intensive applications, Managed Kubernetes, Managed Databases, and additional storage options—all priced competitively.

  • Customer support and resources: DigitalOcean stands out with its SMB-friendly customer support, extensive documentation, and tutorials, making it a user-friendly platform that’s easy to navigate, even for those newer to cloud computing.

Whether you’re a startup, a growing business, or an established enterprise, the cost savings coupled with high-caliber performance make DigitalOcean a compelling choice for those looking to move away from Azure’s egress pricing. Take control of your cloud costs and say goodbye to complex billing and unexpected charges. Embrace the clarity and affordability of DigitalOcean for your cloud-based operations.

Contact our sales team today to speak with a sales representative about how much you could save moving to DigitalOcean and how we can assist with your migration. Or sign-up yourself on DigitalOcean’s simple-to-use cloud console.

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