AWS Compute Blog

Running AWS Infrastructure On Premises with AWS Outposts

We announced AWS Outposts at re:Invent last December and since then have seen immense customer interest. Customers have been asking for an AWS option on-premises to run applications with low latency and local data-processing requirements. AWS Outposts is a new service slated to launch in late 2019, that brings the same infrastructure, APIs, and tools that customers use in AWS to virtually any customer on-premises facility. It is a fully managed service; the physical infrastructure is delivered and installed by AWS, operated and monitored by AWS, and automatically updated and patched as part of being connected to an AWS Region.

You can use AWS Outposts to launch a range of Amazon EC2 instances (C5, M5, R5, I3en and G4, both with and without local storage options) and Amazon EBS volumes locally. In addition to EC2 and EBS, you can also run a wide range of AWS services locally on Outposts. At general availability, AWS services supported locally on Outposts will include Amazon ECS and Amazon EKS clusters for container-based applications, Amazon EMR clusters for data analytics, and Amazon RDS instances for relational database services. Additional services such as Amazon SageMaker and Amazon MSK are coming soon after launch.

An Outpost works as an extension of the AWS Region into your own data center; services running on the Outpost can seamlessly work with any AWS service or resource running in the cloud. For example, you can use private connectivity to your Amazon S3 buckets or Amazon DynamoDB tables in the public region. Amazon tools will work with Outposts as well. API calls will be logged via CloudTrail automatically and existing CloudFormation templates will work as well. When AWS launches new innovations, they will work with Outposts so customers can always take advantage of the latest technologies.

We are speaking with customers across verticals including manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, media and entertainment, and telecom who are interested in Outposts for their connected environments. One of the most common scenarios is applications that need single-digit millisecond latency to end-users or onsite equipment. Customers may need to run compute-intensive workloads on their manufacturing factory floors with precision and quality. Others have graphics-intensive applications such as image analysis that need low-latency access to end-users or storage-intensive workloads that collect and process hundreds of TBs of data a day. Customers want to integrate their cloud deployments with their on-premises environments and use AWS services for a consistent hybrid experience.

Some customers are also interested in leveraging AWS services in disconnected environments like cruise ships or remote mining locations. For these types of environments, AWS offers Snowball Edge, which is optimized to operate in environments with limited to no connectivity. Compared to Snowball Edge, Outposts are designed to be run exclusively in connected, on-premises environments.

I want to share an example of how an early user of Outposts is using it to control and operate industrial equipment at hundreds of sites around the world. They already run centralized decision-making applications in AWS to identify what work to execute at which site. Predictable low-latency access to local compute resources is essential for their on-premises control systems to manage materials with smoothness and speed. For instance, control systems need to process video streams to sense the product on the conveyor belt, and execute a robotic movement to direct the product to the right location. Their sites also run video monitoring applications where the captured data can exceed available bandwidth so they want to conduct video encoding on-premises.

We worked with our early customer to deploy an Outpost rack at one of their sites. After connecting their Outpost to the nearest local AWS Region, the customer has complete control over their virtual network, including selection of an IP address range, creation of subnets, and configuration of route tables and network gateways, just like with their Amazon VPC today. They can seamlessly extend their regional VPC to the Outpost by creating a subnet and associating it with the Outpost the same way they associate subnets with an Availability Zone today.

To launch instances on their Outposts, they use the exact same API call as they do in the public region, but target their Outpost subnet so the instances launch on the Outpost in their facility. These instances will run in their existing VPC and even be able to communicate with instances running in the public region via private IP addresses. As the infrastructure is the same hardware as what we use in our public AWS Region, the applications running on these instances will perform the same as they do in the public region. To get low-latency access to local compute and storage already running in their facility, the customer can create a local gateway in their VPC that makes it simple for the Outpost to route traffic directly to their local datacenter networks.

Using Outposts, the customer plans to standardize tooling across on-premises and the cloud, and automate deployments and configurations across hundreds of sites by using the same APIs, the same IAM permissions, the same EC2 AMIs, the same CloudFormation templates, and the same deployment pipelines everywhere. As Outposts are updated and patched as part of AWS regional operations, they no longer need to upgrade and patch their on-premises infrastructure or take downtime for maintenance.

We are excited about the enthusiasm we’re seeing from customers, and are eager to help them focus on innovating for their end-users without worrying about procuring, deploying, and operating the infrastructure for their applications. With AWS Outposts, we are bringing the same AWS infrastructure, APIs, services, and tools to help customers build applications that can run as reliably and securely at any of their sites as in the cloud. We recently released a new video that shares more details about the Outposts rack. If you haven’t already seen it, go check it out! As always, we look forward to your feedback.

To learn more about AWS Outposts, visit the product detail page.

Additional Resources:

What is an AWS Outposts Rack?

AWS Nitro System