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Amazon Starts Charging for IPv4 Addresses and Why It's a Good Thing for You

AWS OutageYesterday Amazon announced that they will begin charging for IPv4 addresses.

Yes, all of them.  Previously they were free if attached to a running VM but not longer.

“We are introducing a new charge for public IPv4 addresses. Effective February 1, 2024 there will be a charge of $0.005 per IP per hour for all public IPv4 addresses, whether attached to a service or not (there is already a charge for public IPv4 addresses you allocate in your account but don’t attach to an EC2 instance).”

That’s a big jump in price for people running instances there – $3.60 a month.

Note that the free tier will still include 12 months of free IPv4.

Of course, you can still find plenty of hosts who don’t charge extra for IPv4 addresses here on LowEndBox!

Is This a Bad Thing?  No.  It’s a Good Thing For Our Readers

IPv4 address exhaustion is a real thing.  But so is global warming and we’ve seen how little humans care about that.

When a public cloud gives everyone a free IPv4 with their VM, there’s little incentive to go through the work of creating a separate RFC1918 tier for systems that don’t need it.  Yes, you should partition off your database servers, app servers, etc. and only have publicly-facing servers (such as web servers) equipped with public IPs.

But why bother?  Most folks aren’t that security conscious and those that are may put up a few firewall rules.  You can do all kinds of complex things in the cloud with NAT but for the typical go-fast, get-it-to-market cloud consumer, the fastest path to the finish line is to use the IPv4s Amazon gave you without getting into anything more complicated.

If you’ve got a CCIE on staff, things will probably be setup right.  If your network team is really the same as the dev team, then it’s probably done lazy.

This will force organizations’ hands.  If they’ve got a couple hundred (or a couple thousand) VMs but only a few need to be public facing, they’ll spend the money to re-IP.  It’s not hard and usually can often be done transparently, or at least with minimal fuss.

As @Francisco noted on LowEndTalk, Amazon’s appetite for IPv4s has been voracious:

They’re still buying /16s almost daily.

There’s times they buy 20 – 30 in a single day.

Let’s imagine that the charges do result in a percentage of organizations re-IPing and surrendering their IPs.  That doesn’t mean that Amazon is going to surrender all the IPs back to registeries.  But it may mean that their minions may be hammering the IP markets a little less hard, which might reduce pressure on others.  This is a way to free up IPs, which benefits the overall market.

For now.  Eventually no matter what happens, IPv6 is the only permanent fix.


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