AWS finds growth in Australia amid maturing cloud market

Edge computing, the internet of things and contact centre services are some of the key growth areas for Amazon Web Services in Australia

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Australia’s cloud market remains lucrative to suppliers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), even as cloud adoption in the country is maturing.

Speaking to Computer Weekly at AWS Re:invent 2019 in Las Vegas, Paul Migliorini, managing director of AWS Australia and New Zealand, said there was still a lot of work to be done to help enterprises move off legacy platforms and modernise their IT environment.

According to Telsyte’s Australian cloud market study 2019, cloud adoption is maturing rapidly in Australia, with 84% of organisations having a strategic approach to cloud computing and one in four (24%) having mature practices that are able to move workloads from on-premise to cloud.

The federal government has also been a key proponent of cloud, spurring its agencies to adopt cloud services through various security certification initiatives, including the Certified Cloud Services list and the Information Security Registered Assessors Program (IRAP).

These efforts, said Migliorini, have been a progressive step towards greater cloud adoption in Australia, with the IRAP initiative particularly serving as a “good endorsement of the level of security that customers can gain through moving workloads to AWS”.

“What we’re seeing is a really mature approach from government and the regulatory agencies to mitigate risk in a modern cloud-based environment,” he said.

Areas of growth

Amid the maturing cloud landscape, Migliorini singled out a few areas of growth, notably new artificial intelligence (AI) services and use case-specific offerings such as Amazon Connect, a contact centre service which has seen “huge success in Australia and New Zealand in the last two years”.

“With Connect, customers are moving traditional systems of engagement into software to gain a lot more flexibility in terms of how they could configure the experience for customers,” said Migliorini, adding that businesses “can also move faster when they get new data and insight on what their customers want”.

Other areas of growth include the internet of things (IoT) and edge computing, which AWS elaborated on during Re:invent 2019, particularly around 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.

“Local Zones appear to be relevant for standalone non-cloud-native applications that need low latency,” said Tim Sheedy, principal analyst at Ecosystm.

“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,” said Sheedy.

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Migliorini said while AWS has not tested Local Zones widely with customers in Australia and New Zealand, he foresees “plenty of applications”, noting that organisations with remote sites can now run a consistent version of the AWS platform using Local Zones.

In a market with keen adoption of IoT, Migliorini said AWS Wavelength, a new service that supports the needs of edge computing applications that run on 5G networks, could be powerful when combined with other AWS services such as Snowball Edge and Greengrass.

“We’ve got companies like Transurban, which is building road systems of the future and has developed a GPS-based tolling application, so something like Wavelength in the context of 5G starts to become really interesting,” he said.

By 2020, Australia will have 2.7 million connected commercial vehicles, 1.7 million connected pets and 1.8 million connected healthcare applications, according to IDC. The Australian IoT market is predicted to be worth more than A$18bn.

Multicloud reality

According to Telsyte, the multicloud approach is dominating, with 77% of all Australian organisations using more than one cloud platform, and almost half (49%) using more than four cloud platforms. The average number of cloud platforms used by organisations reached 3.8 in 2018.

However, Jeff Barr, AWS’s chief evangelist, said he generally sees enterprises run most of their cloud workloads on AWS, and those that build something to run multiple clouds end up not getting the benefit from all the value that a particular cloud has to offer.

“Our customers are also putting a lot of investment in training their developers and architects on how to get the best value out of AWS,” said Barr. “Do they want to make that same investment for two, three clouds? Probably not. They’re really focused more on running their business.”

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