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AWS Outposts is a fully managed service that offers the same AWS infrastructure, AWS services, APIs, and tools to virtually any data center, co-location space, or on-premises facility for a truly consistent hybrid experience.
Introduced at re:Invent 2019, Outposts is AWS’s take on reinventing hybrid cloud, where AWS delivers, installs and manages the AWS Outposts hardware and service for you. As an AWS Outposts Ready consulting partner, we see an increasing demand and interest for AWS Outposts across our customer base. In this blog, I will explain why AWS Outposts is perfect for workloads that need to adhere to regulatory requirements, require local data processing and storage, or low latency connections to your end-customers or other on-premises systems.
Everybody in IT probably is familiar with Moore’s Law. Intel’s Gordon Moore predicted that the transistor count on computer chips would double every two years which implied that computer chip performance would roughly double. Unfortunately, we have not seen a similar progression in the ways we handle and move data. The days of processing gigabytes of data are over, more and more organizations face the challenge of having to process Terabytes, or even Petabytes, of data each day. If this amount of data is generated on-premises, there isn’t a way to quickly transfer and process this data in the cloud within a day, simply because the speed of light doesn’t allow for it. With AWS Outposts you can bring compute, storage and other AWS services to your data and are able to process the data locally, just as you would in the cloud. For example, if your factory shop floor produces Petabytes of analytics or sensor data, you can use Amazon EMR on AWS Outposts to process that data locally. Using Amazon EMR would alleviate you of all the management burden that comes with managing and scaling large Apache Hadoop, Apache Hive, Apache Spark, and/or Presto clusters. After processing the data locally, you can simply move the resultant dataset to your data warehouse in the AWS Region linked to the Outposts.
AWS cloud infrastructure reaches across more than 25 regions globally. Though, even with the announcement of Local Zones and Wavelength zones, there are still numerous countries that don’t have a local cloud region. Organizations with a global presence often face challenges when aligning their cloud strategy with their data residency requirements. Whether it is due to legal and regulatory demands or contractual requirements with end customers. When executing a cloud-first or cloud-only strategy, a requirement to store and/or process data within a specific country’s borders can cause some serious setbacks due to the absence of a local cloud region. AWS services like Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and Simple Storage Service (S3) are available on AWS Outposts to give you the best of both worlds when it comes to meeting data residency requirements; you have full control over your data while providing a consistent experience to your developers and operations teams removing the operational overhead of managing multiple technology stacks.
For some systems, even with AWS technologies such as Direct Connect, the physical distance to the nearest AWS region is hindering adoption in an organization. In, for example, financial trading systems, industrial process control systems (like MES and SCADA) or real-time gaming, every millisecond counts. You can use AWS Outposts to either bring your services closer to your end-customers to improve their user experience or to bring AWS infrastructure and services closer to your connected systems, running on a factory floor or on-premises data center. With AWS Outposts you can run your existing applications on AWS services you are already familiar with, like EC2 and Elastic Container Servicer/Elastic Kubernetes Service for compute, and Amazon RDS for databases.
When preparing a migration to AWS, untangling your on-premises application landscape can be quite the challenge. You might run into a situation where parts of a workload cannot be migrated due to various reasons like heavy dependencies on other on-premises applications. Splitting off these parts may introduce new requirements, such as latency-sensitive connectivity, preventing you to migrate the workload as a whole. By migrating parts of the workload to AWS Outposts, you can quickly benefit from all the features the service brings and in parallel work on resolving any dependency or compatibility issues. AWS Outposts helps you to stay on track with your migration journey by serving as a stepping stone to full migration.
AWS Outposts runs on the same infrastructure, built on the AWS Nitro system, as used in the AWS data centers. Using this technology AWS Outposts can act as an extension of an AWS region. Once an AWS Outposts rack is deployed in your facility of choice, it needs to be connected to an existing AWS VPC in your AWS account, this is done by creating one or more subnets associated with this VPC that will be used for running instances on AWS Outposts. With the configured subnets, the Outposts can basically be leveraged as an additional availability zone in that region. As the service natively integrates with AWS VPC you can use all the familiar constructs, like security groups, route tables and NACLs to control and configure connectivity to workloads running on AWS Outposts. Deploying your solutions to AWS Outposts is as simple as changing the target subnet in your existing configuration and deployments processes. The same applies to services that are normally running outside of the VPC scope, like S3, all can be configured using the same tools your teams already know inside-out.
Initially, AWS Outposts could only be ordered as a full 42U rack, where you would provide a facility, power and networking. Last year, at re:Invent 2020, AWS announced two smaller form factors which are scheduled for 2021. The new 1U and 2U form factors, rack-mountable “pizza-size boxes”, open up a whole new range of use cases, bringing similar benefits to locations that have limited space or smaller capacity requirements.
A VMware variant of AWS Outposts will also be available soon. VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts delivers a fully managed VMware Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) running on AWS Outposts infrastructure on premises.
In this blog, I have shared some of the use cases and capabilities of AWS Outposts. In a follow-up blog, I will dive a level deeper into how you can extend your AWS Landing Zone with AWS Outposts. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to validate your AWS Outposts use case with one of our Cloud Architects. We can also support you with a TCO calculation and/or developing a business case for AWS Outposts. Nordcloud is an AWS Outposts Service Ready partner, fully equipped to assist you with your AWS Outposts strategy. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernization, development, and skills challenges.
Let’s discuss how we can help with your cloud journey. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernisation, development and skills challenges.