Three years ago, I wrote a blog titled “AWS and their Billions in IPv4 addresses “in which I estimated AWS owned about $2.5 billion worth of IPv4 addresses. AWS has continued to grow incredibly, and so has its IPv4 usage. In fact, it’s grown so much that it will soon start to charge customers for IPv4 addresses! Enough reason to check in again, three years later, to see what AWS’ IPv4 estate looks like today.
A quick 2020 recap
Let’s first quickly summarize what we learned when looking at AWS’s IPv4 usage in 2020. First, in 2020, we observed that the total number of IPv4 addresses we could attribute to AWS was just over 100 Million (100,750,168). That’s the equivalent of just over six /8 blocks.
Second, for fun, we tried to put a number on it; back then, I used $25 per IP, bringing the estimated value of their IPv4 estate to Just over $2.5 billion.
Third, AWS publishes their actively used IPv4 addresses in a JSON file. The JSON file contained references to roughly 53 Million IPv4 addresses. That meant they still had ~47 Million IPv4 addresses, or 47%, available for future allocations. That’s pretty healthy!
The 2023 numbers
Okay, let’s look at the current data. Now, three years later, what does the IPv4 estate for AWS look like? I used the same scripts and methods as three years ago and found the following.
First, we observe that AWS currently owns 127,972,688 IPv4 addresses. Ie. almost 128 million IPv4 addresses. That’s an increase of 27 million IPv4 addresses. In other words, AWS added the equivalent of 1.6 /8’s or 415 /16’s in three years!
Second, what’s it worth? This is always tricky and just for fun. Let’s first assume the same $25 per IPv4 address we used in 2020.
127,972,688 ipv4 addresses x $25 per IP = $3,199,317,200.
So, with the increase of IPv4 addresses, the value went up to ~$3.2 Billion. That’s a $700 million increase since 2020.
However, if we consider the increase in IPv4 prices over the last few years, this number will be higher. Below is the total value of 127M IPv4 addresses at different market prices.
Total number of IPv4 addresses: 127,972,688
value at $20 per IP: $2,559,453,760
value at $25 per IP: $3,199,317,200
value at $30 per IP: $3,839,180,640
value at $35 per IP: $4,479,044,080
value at $40 per IP: $5,118,907,520
value at $50 per IP: $6,398,634,400
Based on this data from ipv4.global, the average price for an IPv4 address is currently ~$35 dollars. With that estimate, we can determine the value of AWS’s IPv4 estate today to about 4.5 Billion dollars. An increase of 2 Billion compared to three years ago!
Thirdly, let’s compare the difference between the IPv4 data we found and what’s published in the JSON file AWS makes available. In the JSON today, we count about 73 million IPv4 addresses (72,817,397); three years ago, that was 53 Million. So, an increase of 20 million in IPv4 addresses allocated to AWS services.
Finally, when we compare the ratio between what Amazon owns and what is allocated to AWS according to the JSON data, we observe that about 57% (72817397 / 127972688) of the IPv4 addresses have been (publicly) allocated to AWS service. They may still have 43% available for future use. That’s almost the same as three years ago when it was 47%.
(Note: this is an outsider’s perspective; we should likely assume not everything is used for AWS).
Where did the growth come from
A quick comparison between the results from three years ago and now shows the following significant new additions to AWS’ IPv4 estate,
- Two new /11 allocations: 18.104.22.168/11 and 22.214.171.124/11. This whole 13/8 block was formerly owned by Xerox.
(Note: it appears AWS owned 126.96.36.199/12 already in 2020).
- Two new /12 allocations: 188.8.131.52/12 (see above as well). It appears they continued purchasing from that 13/8 block.
- I’m also seeing more consolidation in the 184.108.40.206/8 block. AWS used to have quite a few /16 allocations from that block, which are now consolidated into three /12 allocations: 220.127.116.11/12 18.104.22.168/12, and 22.214.171.124/12
- Finally, the 126.96.36.199/12 allocation is new.
AWS is starting to charge for IPv4 addresses
In August of this year, AWS announced they will start charging their customers for IPv4 addresses as of 2024.
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 total of $43.80 per year per IPv4 address; that’s a pretty hefty number! The reason for this is outlined in the same AWS blog:
As you may know, IPv4 addresses are an increasingly scarce resource and the cost to acquire a single public IPv4 address has risen more than 300% over the past 5 years. 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
The 300% cost increase to acquire an IPv4 address is interesting and is somewhat reflected in our valuation calculation above (though we used a more conservative number).
So, how much money will AWS make from this new IPv4 charge? The significant variable here is how many IP addresses are used at any given time by AWS customers. Let’s explore a few scenarios, starting with a very conservative estimate, say 10% of what is published in their IPv4 JSON is in use for a year. That’s 7.3 Million IPv4 addresses x $43.80, almost $320 Million a year. At 25% usage, that’s nearly $800 Million a year. And at 31% usage, that’s a billion dollars!
Notice that I’m using a fairly conservative number here, so it’s not unlikely for AWS to make between $500 Million to a Billion dollars a year with this new charge!
You can find the data I used for this analysis on the link below. There, you’ll also find all the IPv4 prefixes and a brief summary. https://gist.github.com/atoonk/d8bded9d1137b26b3c615ab614222afd
Similar data from 2020 can be found here.
PS. Let me know if someone knows the LACNIC or AFRINIC AWS resources, as those are not included in this data set.
In this article, we saw how, over the last three years, AWS grew its IPv4 estate with an additional 27 million IP addresses to now owning 128 Million IPv4 addresses. At a value of $35 per IPv4 address, the total value of AWS’ IPv4 estate is ~4.5 Billion dollars. An increase of $2 billion compared to what we looked at three years ago!
Regarding IPv4 capacity planning, it seems like the unallocated IPv4 address pool (defined as not being in the AWS JSON) has remained stable, and quite a bit of IPv4 addresses are available for future use.
All this buying of IPv4 addresses is expensive, and in response to the increase in IPv4 prices, AWS will soon start to charge its customers for IPv4 usage. Based on my estimates, It’s not unlikely that AWS will generate between $500 million and $1 billion in additional revenue with this new charge. Long live IPv4!