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AWS Outposts – cloud you can touch

Cloud computing continues to grow among businesses the world over, and Amazon have recently taken a big step to keep their offering front of mind for organisations.

Amazon have long been the market leader for public cloud (aka IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)) with their Amazon Web Services (AWS) offering. Over the last 10 years or so, more and more organisations have been putting more and more resources into the cloud, rather than deploying in on-premises datacentres.

Some people are of the opinion that a business should put EVERYTHING into the cloud, and that there’s no reason to have any on-premises servers at all. For various reasons – security/internal applications/data sovereignty/mistrust of cloud/lack of bandwidth etc. – that approach doesn’t work for many (any?) organisations and so hybrid cloud has been growing in popularity.

Hybrid what now?

Hybrid cloud is the concept of having some resources up in the public cloud whilst other resources remain on-premises, in your datacentre, on your servers. Using the cloud when it makes sense, but not forcing it into places that it clearly doesn’t fit. A sensible, and growing, approach.

It seems that IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat is, at least partially, aimed at the company strengthening their hybrid proposition between on-premises IBM and the newly acquired Red Hat cloud services.

Microsoft, the current #2 in the IaaS market with Microsoft Azure, put their weight behind hybrid cloud with the release of Azure Stack – physical hardware for your on-premises datacentre that runs Azure cloud services.

Amazon have now followed suit with the introduction of “AWS Outposts” which allow you to “run AWS infrastructure on-premises for a truly consistent hybrid experience”. Having both Microsoft and Amazon in this area certainly strengthens the message around hybrid cloud being a long-term option.

AWS Outpost

Just like Microsoft’s Azure Stack, AWS Outposts allow you to the same tools, features, and functions across the cloud and on-premises. However, Amazon’s offering comes in 2 flavours:

  • VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts
  • AWS Native Outposts

The two companies have been working closely these past couple of years to create “VMware Cloud on AWS” and for these customers, it that can now be brought into the datacentre. Alternatively, for users of “regular” AWS, the Native Outposts will extend that on-premises. In both cases, the same controls and APIs used in the cloud, are used on-premises too.

Licensing

What position will vendors take when it comes to licensing? Will they consider an AWS Outpost to be “cloud” or “on-premises” when deciding which use rights apply?

Microsoft count their Azure Stack as being on-premises, meaning you don’t need Software Assurance rights such as “License Mobility through Software Assurance” to run your application licenses in VMs on the hardware. Will they apply the same definition to this offering from their largest rival in the public cloud space?

Back in January 2017, Oracle released a new policy for “Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment” which applies to “Amazon Web Services” and “Microsoft Azure Platform”, and effectively doubled the cost of running impacted Oracle programs in those cloud environments.

Wil these rules be applied to AWS Outposts (and Azure Stack)? Well, Amazon Outposts will appear under the ECS console and will be able to launch RDS instances, so it seems probable Oracle will look to include Outposts under “Amazon Web Services – Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)” –the definition of the Amazon cloud environment per Oracle’s licensing policy.

However, to be sure, it seems we’ll need to wait for someone with this hardware to be audited by Oracle!

Further Reading

AWS Outposts – https://aws.amazon.com/outposts/

Preview sign-up – https://pages.awscloud.com/outposts-preview.html

Oracle Licensing Policy – http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/cloud-licensing-070579.pdf

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About Rich

Rich has almost 14 years’ experience in the world of IT and software licensing, having been both a software sales manager for a VAR and a Microsoft licensing endorsed trainer.

A Northerner renowned for his shirts, Rich is a fan of most films, Hip-Hop, travel, football in general (and specifically MUFC), Marvel and reading as many books as possible. Finding ways to combine these with software licensing is always fun!

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