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InfoQ Homepage News Amazon Releases AWS Outposts, Enabling Hybrid Data Center Architectures

Amazon Releases AWS Outposts, Enabling Hybrid Data Center Architectures

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Amazon have announced general available of AWS Outposts, a fully managed service that extends AWS infrastructure, AWS services, APIs, and tools to "virtually any datacenter, co-location space, or on-premises facility". This solution allows customers to take advantage of AWS technology, but addresses local processing and low latency requirements. Customers place infrastructure orders online, and Amazon will ship the modular compute rack, and a trained AWS technician will connect, set up and validate the installation.

The Outposts hardware is the same that runs in AWS data centers. Anthony Liguori, an engineering lead on the AWS Outposts team, compares the public cloud experience with Outposts:

AWS infrastructure racks come fully assembled and ready to be rolled into their final location within our data centers. Upon delivery, we simply plug in the power and networking. Automation then takes over making EC2 instances available after performing burn-in testing. We have replicated this experience with AWS Outposts and once you bring networking and power to the rack, the build process is fully automated.

Amazon has designed their racks with reliability and efficiency in mind, compared to other infrastructure vendors, Liguori explains:

Something that you may find unique about this rack is there is a bus bar in the back and a power shelf in the middle. Typical commodity servers have power supplies in every server. This leads to higher failure rates as these components regularly fail and are less efficient converting AC power to DC power. An Outpost rack uses a centralized redundant power conversion unit and a DC distribution system in the backplane. The result is you simply snap a server into place and that is it. The benefits of using this architecture include reliability, cost, energy efficiency and serviceability.

Image source: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-outposts-now-available-order-your-racks-today/

Even though Outposts racks are hosted in a customer’s data center, Amazon still monitors the infrastructure once it is installed and takes care of upgrading Outposts. In the event of a hardware failure, it can be replaced without downtime at the customer location as a result of it being modular.

For administrators and DevOps engineers, existing AWS skills are transferrable to Outposts. The APIs, tools and operational practices they perform in the public cloud can also be used with Outposts. This also includes CI/CD pipelines and supports building hybrid architectures where some components may execute in the AWS public cloud and some on-premises.

Customers have many options when it comes to choosing the underlying infrastructure components they would like in their racks. Outposts support Intel powered, Nitro-based EC2 instances including, C5, C5d, M5, M5d, R5, R5d, G4, and I3en. Customers can mix types as required and can add additional infrastructure as required.

From a storage and networking perspective, Outposts supports EBS gp2, general purpose SSD storage with a maximum size of 2.7 TB and each Outpost has a pair of networking devices. Each networking device has capacity of up to 400 Gps of connectivity and support for 1 GigE, 10 GigE, 40 GigE, and 100 Gigabit fiber connections.

Outposts are currently available in select countries, including United States, all EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

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Community comments

  • Full circle

    by Miroslav Gula /

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Here we go. We did the full circle, and we are at the beginning again. It's not like this wasn't done by Sun, IBM, and others decades ago.
    Only thing that's missing is custom HW solutions, like custom, specialized CPU architectures, specialized interconnect, and specialized ICs like FPGAs for fast data preprocessing. And this second part will be probably done by AI "entrepreneurs", which I can already see happening.
    Everybody will be thrilled by these super duper highend enterprise servers, only to be recognizing importance of machines like condemned IBM mainframe.

  • GPL distribution clause

    by Cameron Purdy /

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Very curious to see if this triggers the GPL distribution clause (and if anyone still cares). Previously, Amazon was able to use and modify GPL software without contributing changes back to the community, by avoiding "distribution" of the resulting software.

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