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Amazon Announces AWS Outposts

Amazon has announced AWS Outposts, allowing to create a hybrid cloud solution through AWS-designed fully managed and maintained compute and storage racks. With AWS Outposts the APIs, infrastructure, tools, and hardware which AWS uses is now also available for on-premises data centers and integrates seamlessly with AWS.

There will be two different options to select from when running AWS Outposts. The first is VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts, while the second provides an AWS native option. Depending on the selected variant, the control pane and APIs used to interact with the services will either be from VMware or the native AWS experience. However, some are skeptical about Amazon providing these two variants, like Ned Bellavance, Cloud and Data Center Management MVP and Director Cloud Solutions at Anexinet.

Lastly, yes you can run VMware on this thing. No, don't do that. I suspect 95% of Outposts that ship will be running the AWS variant. AWS has basically just eaten VMware's breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and now it's eyeing up the Baked Alaska that Pat ordered for dessert.

Currently, AWS Outposts allows the provisioning of local EC2 instances and EBS volumes while using Private Link gateways to connect these to AWS. Subsequently, other services will become available over time, including Amazon Relational Database Service, Elastic Container Service, Managed Kubernetes Service, SageMaker and Elastic MapReduce. With this announcement, Amazon joins initiatives like Microsoft Azure Stack in creating a genuinely hybrid setup, where solutions can run both on-premises and in the cloud, without making any changes.


These hybrid strategies grant the opportunity to run workloads which cannot run in the cloud, due to reasons such as latency or regulatory requirements, to still get built in the same way and easily moved once these restraints are no longer there. Nevertheless, there are several crucial differences between Amazon's and Microsoft's offerings. Most notably, with AWS Outposts everything is installed, maintained and managed by Amazon, whereas for Azure Stack the necessary hardware needs to be obtained through partners.

Another essential aspect to keep in mind is that even though AWS Outposts runs in the customers' own data center, it is still part of the Amazon cloud, as explained further by John Webster, Senior Partner at Evaluator Group.

Updates and maintenance will be managed by AWS, just as if it was in physically located within one of their cloud data centers. In addition, and underlining the fact that Outpost is an AWS-created and managed entity, customers should be aware that AWS Outpost will not connect to an on-premises network and remains outside the firewall.

Ordering AWS Outposts will be available through the portal console starting from a single node, and either Amazon or the customers themselves can install them, which according to Amazon will be as straightforward as to "simply plug them into your local power and network." Coming in the second half of 2019, currently most details are not yet known around issues such as pricing; however, it is possible to sign up for updates as they progress.

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