On Wednesday, AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced a new service called AWS Outposts. For many, AWS Outposts has been seen as a response to Microsoft’s Azure Stack. AWS Outposts offers a fully integrated AWS hardware and software stack that can be delivered to customer data centers enabling them to run the same compute, storage and networking APIs as in the public AWS cloud. It is easy to assume that is what AWS is trying to do, but although AWS Outposts was jointly announced by AWS together with VMWare, it will support running both VMWare Cloud for AWS and the AWS Native Cloud.
While AWS Outposts is suitable for hybrid scenarios, there is a certain appeal to enterprises that are interested in adopting public cloud to know that their investment in learning the AWS APIs will pay off thanks to AWS letting them use those same APIs to provision VPCs, EC2 instances and EBS storage on premises too. AWS’ commitment to deploy and maintain the hardware and the software and offer a “one throat to choke” contract that works in the private and the public cloud is going to appeal to many enterprise customers. And for those that want to preserve their VMware investment the VMWare Cloud for AWS support in the public AWS cloud as well as AWS Outposts sounds like an easy solution to get their companies to quickly “adopt” the cloud.
The more interesting set of use cases that AWS Outposts opens up though are the “edge” use cases. The term Edge Computing has been used for some time now in the context of IoT and it has typically referred to the compute running in remote locations populated with sensors, local processing systems and network connectivity to the cloud. AWS Outposts adds a complete cloud capability to the Edge compute stack in the form of a private “AWS region in a box,” which can fit many interesting scenarios neither public cloud nor hybrid cloud is well suited for. For example, think of Industrial IoT use cases where the connectivity to the cloud is intermittent or slow and the systems that are monitored or controlled require more compute power and processing capabilities near the industrial environment. Or consider the opportunity to run real-time processing of data collected during large sporting events and other events where the latency and bandwidth constraints of sending large data to the cloud are too limiting. Or imagine the opportunity for businesses to deploy their solutions in countries where AWS doesn’t have a presence and government regulatory requirements prohibit storing the data for such solutions in the public cloud.
As a company investing in IoT through products like IoTanium and working closely with customers to develop IoT-based solutions for our customers using containers and serverless approaches, we’re excited about the opportunity AWS Outposts can bring to our customers. AWS is committed to invest in expanding the AWS native services supported on the AWS Outposts hardware and we’re expecting to see many of our favorite services get rolled into AWS Outposts deployments, letting customers take advantage for services like RDS, DynamoDB, Lambda, etc. both in the public cloud and their private deployment of AWS Outposts.
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