Cloudflare allies with Microsoft, IBM to cut bandwidth costs

The Bandwidth Alliance promises to make it cheaper to use provider networks, although it still needs to convince AWS

Cloudflare has teamed up with Microsoft, IBM, and several other leading cloud providers on the Bandwidth Alliance, an initiative that aims to reduce the cost of customer data transfers when they use networking service across any of the collaborators.

Right now, it's normal practice for customers to incur 'bandwidth' or 'egress' charges as part of their monthly bill, which covers the cost of maintaining the infrastructure which is sometimes required to send data to the other side of the world.

Cloudflare believes that its customers shouldn't have to pay for their data to travel over the expensive cloud provider's network to get from server to user computer, but it should instead go through the CDN provider's network.

Those signed up to the new Bandwidth Alliance have agreed to cut the costs they levy against Cloudflare customers for serving web pages to other parts of the web, and, in turn, Cloudflare will pick up a greater portion of the workload.

Some of the companies will offer the service for free, while for others, it'll be a heavily reduced rate at least 75% off. The reason many of the partners decided to join the alliance was because the costs to the cloud providers are so minor and Cloudflare can quite easily heavily reduce or even eradicate these cost in most circumstances when it handles the data.

So far Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Automattic, Digital Ocean, Backblaze, DreamHost, Packet, Scaleway, Vapor, and Linode have all signed up to the alliance.

"We expect that as the Bandwidth Alliance comes online, Cloudflare customers could save more than $50 million per year in cloud bandwidth fees," Rustam Lalkaka, director of product at Cloudflare said. "Our commitment through the Bandwidth Alliance is to pass those cost savings on to you, our mutual customers. Today, we're excited to put the benefits in your hands: smaller bills and better performance."

The idea for the initiative reportedly came from Cloudflare's work alongside Google's own CDN Interconnect program, which Cloudflare has been a partner of for the last three years, although it appears Google is not part of this new alliance. Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said the company is also trying to convince AWS to sign up to the Bandwidth Alliance, which makes sense considering it's the biggest cloud provider around.

"We see our role as being the fabric that connects various clouds together, and makes it easy to move from one to the other to whoever is providing the best services and the best technology and the best price at any given time," Prince said.

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