AWS Cloud Enterprise Strategy Blog

AWS Outposts – A New Dimension to AWS Cloud

Live blog post from re:Invent 2018, Las Vegas

As an AWS Enterprise Strategist I travel the globe talking to some of the largest enterprise customers on the planet about how they can truly innovate faster and deliver a much better customer experience by migrating their systems to AWS. And in the process, they are able to remove massive amounts of un-differentiated heavy-lifting and free up their precious human resource to focus on the things that really matter to their business and customers.

Today at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas during Andy Jassy’s keynote, he announced a slew of new features covering everything from databases to storage to machine learning. The new capabilities are compelling. However, the final announcement of the keynote, that of AWS Outposts, is probably one of the most intriguing to enterprise customers.

As I work with enterprises around the world on migrations, there are a couple of immediate benefits that I can see that AWS Outposts can help with. That of potential in-country data residency requirements and incumbent applications that might be latency bound. Both of these challenges have been needing a solution, and AWS Outposts fills the need.

AWS Outposts consists of fully managed and configurable compute and storage racks built with AWS-designed hardware that allow customers to run compute and storage on-premises, while seamlessly connecting to the rest of AWS’s broad array of services in the cloud. AWS Outposts will initially come in two variants:

  • For customers who want to use the same VMware control plane and APIs they’ve been to run their infrastructure, they will be able to run VMware Cloud on AWS locally on AWS Outposts. This variant, called VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts, delivers the entire VMware software-defined data center (SDDC)—compute, storage, and networking infrastructure—to run on-premises and managed as a service from the same console as VMware Cloud on AWS using AWS Outposts. It also enables customers to take advantage of the ease of management and integration with AWS services that they enjoy today.
  • For customers who prefer the same exact APIs and control plane they’re used to running in AWS’s cloud but on-premises, they can use the AWS native variant of AWS Outposts. These customers will have the opportunity to run other software with native AWS Outposts, starting with a new integrated offering from VMware called VMware Cloud Foundation for EC2, which will feature popular VMware technologies and services that work across VMware and Amazon EC2 environments, like NSX (to help bridge AWS Outposts to local datacenter networks), VMware AppDefense (to protect known good applications), and VMware vRealize Automation (for workload provisioning).

So, with the technical details stated, let’s go a little deeper into where this can help customers. Firstly, that of “in country” data residency. The AWS Cloud spans fifty-seven availability zones within nineteen geographic regions around the world, with announced plans for fifteen more availability zones and five more AWS regions in Bahrain, Cape Town, Hong Kong SAR, Milan, and Stockholm. Building an AWS region is rightly a significant undertaking that requires very careful consideration of a multitude of factors, including location, environmental risks factors, and careful reviews of power and network connectivity that a region needs.

Although we are not close to being done and it’s still Day One for building out regions, customers that might have a strict requirement to keep data and applications in a country and don’t yet have a region will greatly benefit from using AWS Outposts. The ability to use AWS Outposts to have your data and applications located locally to satisfy any local residency requirements allows you to continue your migrations and the up-skilling of your technical resources and still have a consistent API or VMware experience, while consistently satisfying these requirements locally.

Secondly, the ability to host applications and data that may have a strict bounded latency requirement that need to be close to another application or facility. We see this in particular with manufacturing and utilities customers, but this requirement can also occur in a number of enterprise customers who have legacy low latency requirements for incumbent systems in place. For them it also provides a very compelling option.

I look forward to seeing and hearing how customers use AWS Outposts to keep their momentum moving forward for their journey to AWS Cloud.

Remember , “All of your assumed constraints are debatable.”

Jonathan Allen
EMEA Enterprise Strategist and Evangelist

Jonathan Allen

Jonathan Allen

Jonathan joined AWS as an Enterprise Strategist & Evangelist in May 2017. In this role, he works with enterprise technology executives around the globe to share experiences and strategies for how the Cloud can help them increase speed and agility while devoting more of their resources to their customers. Prior to joining AWS, Jonathan was Chief Technology Officer and Senior Director in Capital One Banks UK division. Jonathan was part of the banks Global Technology Leadership team that selected AWS as their Predominant Cloud Partner in 2014, and was accountable for architecting, engineering and execution of the technical build out and system migrations of the banks AWS Cloud strategy in partnership with the US divisions until 2017, by which time the all development had moved Cloud First. Jonathan managed a global team and held all budgetary responsibility for the technology operations and strategy execution, adoption of agile only, technical talent transformation and recruitment and creation of the banks Cloud Governance framework. During Jonathan's 17 years at Capital One he also led large scale transformations including the roll out of regulatory compliance, move from outsourcing to out-tasking, engagement with AWS Cloud Partners, adoption of DevOps at scale and the focus of an engineering led culture. In 2012, he was awarded IT Manager of the Year by The Chartered Institute for IT. He holds a Diploma in Computer Studies from Loughborough College and a CIO MBA from Boston University.