AWS brings hybrid AWS Outposts to Canada

AWS Outposts, whose General Availability in the U.S. was announced last month at the AWS Re:Invent event, have now been extended to Canada, where the company sees strong demand from a variety of customer use cases.

Joshua Burgin, Director and Technical Advisor at AWS

At last December’s AWS Re:Invent event, one of the highlights was the announcement of the General Availability of AWS Outposts, which allow AWS infrastructure to run on-prem for a consistent hybrid experience. Outposts had been announced a year previous at the same event. At that time, however, AWS Outposts was not available in Canada. Now that has changed. AWS has announced availability in the AWS Canada  [Central] region, along with Bahrain, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

“Customer response to this has been very positive since it first became available,” said Joshua Burgin, Director and Technical Advisor at AWS. “It’s a fully managed service that extends to a data centre or colo space on-prem. It’s a truly consistent hybrid experience, which lets you connect to the cloud in a way that provides all the benefits of AWS in both environments, not just in a simple low-level infrastructure way. You can use the same tags with all the scale-out workloads in the cloud. You don’t have to learn a new progamming model. Other solutions might connect to the same network and might be the same vendor – but it’s not he same product.”

“There is a huge amount of interest in Canada in this,” Eric Gales, Director, Amazon Web Services Canada, said last month at the event. “After the announcement was made a year ago, we engaged customers in discussions about use cases, and we took a lot of feedback.”

Burgin indicated that a fairly diverse range of use cases has already emerged.

“One primary use case is manufacturing, where you have process control systems that has to have ultra-low latency,” he said. “They won’t move those to the cloud, even if they move their ERP and CRM systems there.

“High frequency trading systems and health care both have really interesting use cases involving analytics and machine learning, where the customers want the processing to be right next to the techs looking at the images,” Burgin added. “Telecom is another area that we are starting to see emerge.”

Burgin said that with Canada having developed a substantial media and entertainment presence in Canada because of a combination of tax and talent issues, those use cases should be strong in Canada.

“At AWS, we can do many things, but we can’t change the speed of light,” he stated. “Outposts can allow you to install next to artists, especially in cities like Vancouver far from our Canadian region, where they want sub-millisecond latency.”

Retail is another clear use case.

“There are retail cases where they have moved workloads to the cloud for scalability, but still maintain them in on-prem retail stores,” he said. “Outposts allows them to have the full connected store experience.”

Burgin noted that while the addressable IT market not yet in the cloud remains huge, they see the main market for Outposts as accelerating cloud momentum among organizations who have already begun to move.

“Despite the fact that we continue to grow at a rapid clip, it’s still the early days of cloud adoption,” he said. “There is a tendency to consider it a big settled market segment, but collectively, the cloud providers are a lot less than the $4-7 trillion of total IT spending. However, there are certain workloads for which there wasn’t a viable cloud option, and for customers already moving or planning to move to the cloud, Outposts will help to accelerate that.”

Last fall AWS announced a new Availability Zone [AZ] within the Canadian AWS Region, which will be based in Montreal, and will provide additional redundancy and thus higher availability to customers in the region. It was scheduled to become available early in 2020. It isn’t being announced yet, but Burgin said that it was imminent.

“The third Availability Zone is right around the corner,” Burgin indicated.

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