AWS’ ever-expanding edge: Local Zones to go global

AWS’ ever-expanding edge: Local Zones to go global

By Philbert Shih, Managing Director and Founder of Structure Research.

AWS released details about its global infrastructure footprint at the recent AWS re:Invent show. In terms of the cloud infrastructure locations, there are now 25 core cloud regions that are home to 81 AZs on six continents. Overall, the picture is one of continued expansion where formerly far-flung regions take on the look of core cloud as new local edge zones open to support existing infrastructure.

The AWS network has a total of 310 PoPs. A total of nine new regions are currently in development in Calgary, Canada, New Zealand, Melbourne, Spain, Switzerland, Hyderabad, Jakarta, Israel and the UAE.

On the edge compute side, the footprint is set to expand globally in 2022. AWS Local Zones is now two years old and has 14 locations — all in the US. Next year, Local Zones will be taken global and more than 30 locations will be added. Some of the countries confirmed include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Kenya, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, and South Africa.

Many of these countries do not have in-country cloud regions and Local Zones will be a way to serve the market (with core regions nearby). But some, like India, Australia, Brazil and Canada already have core cloud infrastructure regions. In these markets, Local Zones is moving to further-flung edge locations that either have clusters of end-users or are significant markets that do not quite have the critical mass to justify a full core region build. Canada is an interesting case. AWS chose to build its core region in Western Canada in Calgary, Alberta. It is a good bet that Vancouver will be the Canadian Local Zones location referenced.

AWS Wavelength: what about the telco edge?

On the telco edge, AWS referenced Wavelength but did not detail specific expansion plans. That current footprint is still largely concentrated in the US. Finally, AWS re-launched the 1U and 2U Outposts products that were already mentioned a year ago.

Analysis

The AWS strategy is coming into clearer focus as its infrastructure footprint continues to push out to the edge. Cloud regions are going to be built strategically where a market has the scale and also has proximity to other sizeable clusters in neighboring countries. The company will try to serve markets with both core and edge infrastructure zones; to meet the demand for latency-sensitive workloads and data sovereignty requirements in markets with no core, it will set up edge nodes. And to reach the on-premise data center or far edge locations, it will encourage end-users to deploy Outposts and connect back to the core. And that is at the heart of the wider strategy. Different infrastructure increments will have varied feature and service sets available. But it will all connect back to the core to access AWS’s full range of capabilities.

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