Cologix confirmed it will bring AWS Outposts to its Vancouver data centers. Customers at Cologix’s VAN3 location will be able to deploy AWS Outposts and access AWS Direct Connect at the VAN2 data center, allowing customers to directly connect over its network. Cologix has a deep connectivity footprint in the market and VAN1 hosts the primary node for the Vancouver Internet Exchange.
The different flavors of AWS at the edge
AWS Outposts are basically a miniaturized rack version of the AWS cloud. The hardware and software are the same used on AWS and the only difference is that it has fewer tools and features versus the full portfolio that is available in AWS cloud regions. The Outposts appliance is fully compatible with the AWS cloud and end users benefit from being able to use private or direct connections to integrate infrastructure locations. The idea was to give end users the ability to put AWS-compatible compute on-premise or in edge locations for hybrid deployments and to cut down latency and optimize performance.
AWS Outposts are the building block for the AWS Local Zones edge computing service. Think of Local Zones as dozens or hundreds of Outposts appliances deployed together in a given location. AWS has put Local Zones in edge markets where they do not have a region nearby but might need more localized infrastructure (or need a stopgap before going to a full region). Another deployment model – Wavelength – is also an aggregation of Outposts appliances, but targeted for deployment in telco and mobile data center locations.
Establishing Outposts at Cologix
Cologix’s support for Outposts is likely a precursor to a Local Zones deployment in VAN3. AWS has already confirmed Vancouver as a planned Local Zones location and this is likely where it goes given the footprint, connectivity density and presence of the AWS Direct Connect node.
AWS “Zoning” in Canada
AWS has been working on how to serve central and western Canada for some time. Since 2016, it has been serving the country out of its only Canada-based region in Montreal. This was, of course, never sustainable over the long term. To solve this problem, the decision was made to build another region out in the west. AWS chose Calgary over Vancouver (the larger population center).
Back in central/eastern Canada, AWS made a similar choice. It chose the smaller population center (Montreal) over the larger one (Toronto) to host the core cloud region. The drivers behind this decision were related to power and real estate costs. The question is how to solve the need to get infrastructure closer to end users in the larger Vancouver and Toronto markets. The answer was Local Zones. In short, AWS will set up a core-edge topology, with one location hosting the core regions and the other served with clusters of Local Zones. The regions will stick to a three-availability zone architecture. The Local Zones nodes are smaller, but more scalable and will eventually span several locations.
About the author
Phil Shih is Managing Director and Founder of Structure Research, an independent research firm focused on the cloud, hosting and data center infrastructure service provider markets. Vivian Kong is a Research Associate for Structure Research. (more)
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AWS | Cologix | edge cloud | edge data center | interconnection