AWS says it will begin charging its customers to create and operate what it says is an increasingly small and costly supply of IPv4 addresses.
The cloud giant says that beginning February 1, 2024 it will be charging users with existing AWS-issued public IPv4 addresses the same $0.005 hourly fee that is currently charged with new and idle Elastic IP accounts.
The charge is set to apply to IPv4 addresses across all AWS services. There will, however, be a couple of notable exceptions to the charge as customer-owned addresses migrated through the BYOIP feature are exempt while those on free tier EC2 instances will be free to use for 750 hours per month for one year.
According to AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr, the reasoning behind the move is fairly simple- to incentivize customers to once and for all get off the legacy IPv4 and migrate to the current IPv6 standard.
Providers have for years been encouraging users to make the shift from IPv4, which was supplanted by IPv6 more than two decades ago amidst warnings that IPv4 was running up against its technical limit for new addresses.
While full-stack migrations can take some time and planning experts say that for many companies the move is a sound strategy to future-proof networks and accommodate new technology and services.
Despite those repeated efforts, however, many companies have been slow to make the changes necessary to migrate between the two formats, leading to multiple warnings from internet authorities that total exhaustion could become a real issue in the coming years.
Barr explained that tapping into the dwindling supply of IPv4 addresses has now become enough of a headache for AWS that it has decided to give users a not-so-subtle nudge by way of passing on the costs.
"This change reflects our own costs and is also intended to encourage you to be a bit more frugal with your use of public IPv4 addresses and to think about accelerating your adoption of IPv6 as a modernization and conservation measure," said Barr.
Customers who want to avoid the extra charge in six months time are being advised to begin their migration sooner than later, with Barr pointing out a number of additional tools and services AWS offers.
This will include a newly-introduced IP insights tool which allows customers to look at an overview of all public IP addresses and single out IPv4 for migration.