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AWS Outposts debuts in Australia

Amazon Web Services rolls out Outposts in Australia, enabling enterprises to run a consistent version of the AWS platform at locations that require low latency

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has finally debuted its Outposts on-premise offering in Australia, underscoring the growing preference for hybrid cloud environments in markets that have embraced public cloud early on.

AWS Outposts, first announced about a year ago, is a fully managed and configurable hardware rack that provides on-premise compute and storage capabilities, while providing access to AWS services in the cloud.

Tim Sheedy, principal analyst at Ecosystm, said the fact that the availability was limited for so long could be a case of AWS testing the product in the market.

“Clearly, AWS is seeing healthy adoption of Outposts – and it seems that markets that went early to the public cloud, like the US and Australia, are also the ones demanding hybrid environments,” he said. “Outposts makes hybrid much easier to manage, and the same can be said for Google Anthos and GKE On-Prem.”

In an interview with Computer Weekly, Paul Migliorini, managing director of AWS in Australia and New Zealand, said AWS customers in Australia have been looking forward to Outposts, as it lets them run a consistent version of the AWS platform at locations that require single-digit latency.

However, it is unlikely that AWS Outposts will find many takers in Australia’s large mining industry or among remote businesses, at least according to Sheedy.

“Miners often use the cloud for unpredictable loads, such as image analysis in exploration which might only happen once or twice a year,” he said. “And many remote businesses use the public cloud for specific workloads or capabilities – not for general compute requirements.

“But as some miners continue to centralise their operations in major cities or population centres, it might make sense to help them with the transition to a fully cloud-enabled architecture.”

AWS Outposts, however, is only part of the cloud supplier’s broader set of offerings aimed at addressing the needs of a range of edge computing and internet of things (IoT) workloads.

At AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas this week, the company also showed off Local Zones, a new type of public cloud infrastructure deployment model that places compute, storage, databases and other services close to enterprises.

For now, these services include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon File Storage and Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, with Amazon Relational Database Service support coming in a few months.

First available in Los Angeles (LA), each Local Zone also lets enterprises connect back to the rest of their workloads in the parent region, which would be the Oregon region in the case of the Local Zone in LA.

“Local Zones appear to be relevant for standalone non-cloud native applications that need low latency,” Sheedy said. “But if an application is cloud-native, then it will likely be calling on many platform-as-a-service capabilities that are not hosted in the Local Zone, which means the application will lose the latency benefits of being nearby.”

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While it is uncertain if Local Zones would make its way to Australia, a vast country served by the AWS Sydney region and its three availability zones, AWS’s chief evangelist Jeff Barr is not ruling out that possibility – if an Amazon-controlled network backbone between locations is in place.

“In theory, at this point, I think having a parent region in Sydney and a Local Zone across the country in Perth is a very reasonable thing to think about,” said Barr.

The appetite for public cloud services in Australia continues to grow, with 42% of businesses reporting the use of cloud computing, compared with 31% in 2015-16, according to a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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