Bandwidth Alliance has decided to throw us a bone. The Cloudflare content delivery network (CDN) has joined with IBM Cloud, Microsoft, and the other companies to form the Bandwidth Alliance, an organization dedicated to clipping fees for data passing through the CDN.
The proposal draws its inspiration from Cloudflare’s encounter with Google’s CDN Interconnect program, that has successfully led to data transfer concessions of up to 75% for customers that use Cloudflare and Google Cloud, claims Cloudflare.
While Microsoft works on a parallel CDN interconnect agenda, Cloudflare decided to broaden the concept by taking it to a bigger set of partners. With Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud, the alliance also includes Vapor, Packet, Digital Ocean, Scaleway, DreamHost, Backblaze, Automattic, and Linode.
Cloudflare also operates a remunerated service called Argo offering more effectual network routing than routers using Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). The Bandwidth Alliance offers a routing-only sort of Argo to customers working with Cloudflare and member organizations so that their network traffic is sent to the Cloudflare nearest to the customer, so it gets passed through a Private Network Interface involving a very little cost.
Cloudflare product director Rustam Lalkaka said in a blog post, “Because BGP and standard path discovery techniques are not built to directly understand either real world performance or monetary cost, moving traffic from Cloudflare to our Bandwidth Alliance partners and back may not actually use these fast, cheap links between us and them.”
In an interview, Cloudflare CEO Matthew illustrated a scenario where a customer is hosting an application on an IBM Cloud data center in Ashburn, Virginia, and the accessor is in Sydney, Australia.
Pointing to network providers like NTT and Level 3 that have incurred the cost of laying transatlantic cable and building other network infrastructure, he said, “To get the bytes from one place to another, you have to pay intermediaries. IBM then bears those costs to pay the transit provider. So, it’s reasonable to pass those costs on.”
Those costs can be swelled says, Prince. “The margins on bandwidth are thousands of percent in terms of markup in many cases. Amazon always talks about being extremely customer friendly but in terms of what they’re changing customers, that’s definitely a place they’re not passing along the best deal.”
He further added, “When IBM exchanges data with Cloudflare through a Private Network Interface. The data goes across a 100 meters of fiber optic cable from their router to ours. While there’s a bit of cost to set that up, it doesn’t cost much.”
“Our question to other service providers is if we’re not paying, why should the customer?” said Prince.
He also stated, “It’s free to put data in but costly to get it out. What you really want to be able to do in a robust ecosystem is make it, so someone could use the best of the different clouds without the cost of moving data between them.”
The cloud industry seems to be interested in being customer-friendly, said Prince indicating towards the recent news of Amazon with Salesforce and Microsoft’s recent data alliance with SAP and Adobe. He added, “This is a trend toward the next iteration of the cloud, one that’s much more about cooperation.”
Concluding the interview, he said that hopes of Amazon Web Services joining Bandwidth Alliance are high. “I think it’s inevitable that they will,” he said.