One could easily become inebriated by the slew of news AWS has year at its main event – re:invent – and this year was no exception.
Of the all announcements what impressed me the most though was AWS Outpost. Long story short, Outpost is AWS in a box (rack, to be more precise) delivered directly to your datacenter and fully managed by AWS. After years of saying exactly the contrary, it would seem AWS has finally accepted that cloud computing can be hybrid. They are not yet ready to accept multi-cloud… but I’m sure we will get there eventually.
AWS Outpost exists in two versions, one is the standard AWS and the other one is with VMW on AWS. Yes, the latter is pretty confusing, VMW on AWS on prem! To me, it almost sounded like a desperate call from VMware’s part, but maybe there are commercial reasons beyond my imagination to justify it (and maybe there could be a technical reason too, especially if VMW is becoming a secondary platform in your plans).
Outpost is cool on paper and somehow it resembles what Microsoft did with Azure Stack. Yes, a different way to implement it, different partners and all, but the concept is quite identical – a piece of public cloud deployed on your premises – same services, same way to operate it and all. I also hope that Outpost will have better luck than Azure Stack, which had several issues at the beginning. And it will probably be better, since Amazon doesn’t have to please any of its HW partners and unnecessarily complicate things with specific products or server configurations… at the end of the day this is just an extension of AWS on your premises, meaning that you don’t physically need to touch it.
Amazon AWS Outpost and Microsoft Azure Stack are the answer to all those workloads that, for one reason or another, can’t be moved to the public cloud… but for which you’ve always wanted a modernisation of their operational model. Solutions like OpenStack are incredibly complicated to adopt and frankly, also incompatible with your major cloud provider.
At the same time, bringing a piece of the cloud home allows you to have better control of applications and data that you want to repatriate, or find a solution for a particularly demanding application with strict latency requirements.
Closing the circle
AWS Outpost seems to be a good idea, as well as a validation for Microsoft Azure Stack and hybrid cloud.
I haven’t had time yet to get deeper into what is available and what isn’t, especially considering the large amount of services available on AWS, but I’m hoping that Outpost will provide a seamless experience for end users… and I can’t wait to get the first feedback from users in the field.
As it usually happens, Google will follow in a few months with something along the lines of AWS Outpost or Azure Stack. I’m quite curious to see what approach they will take though, since they are not usually the most enterprise-ish of the trio.