news Global cloud computing player and retailer Amazon today confirmed that it had added an ‘edge’ location in Sydney to speed up the delivery of content to Australians, confirming a deployment model which was the subject of speculation some 12 months ago.
The company has long been suspected of rolling out datacentre infrastructure in Australia to support its Amazon Web Services business, which is one of the largest global cloud computing infrastructure players. Many within the industry have believed the first step in such an investment could be the deployment of a so-called ‘edge’ node which would allow the company to speed up the deployment of content to local users, ahead of a potential larger datacentre rollout down the track.
As displayed in the diagram above, Amazon currently operates so-called ‘edge locations’ in a number of other major cities across the globe, where it does not yet have dedicated datacentre infrastructure, including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Singapore, as well as locations in the US.
“We’ve just added an edge location in Sydney, Australia (number 33, to be precise) to Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Route 53,” Amazon wrote today on its Web Services blog. “Based on customer requests, internal logging, and the response to our recent survey, we believe that this location will prove to be of great benefit to our customers, providing them with increased performance and reduced latency.”
“We believe that CloudFront’s pay-as-you-go pricing model will provide Australian companies and global companies with a very cost-effective alternative to traditional content delivery solutions. This new location will speed up the delivery of static, streaming and dynamic content to end users in Australia, and will also accelerate the resolution of DNS queries that originate from within the area.”
The company said its new CloudFront location in Sydney supported the entire array of CloudFront features including support for “dynamic content, low minimum content expiration periods, live streaming to multiple devices using Flash Media Server 4.5 or smooth streaming, streaming media, custom origins , private content, invalidation, and custom origins”. CloudFront is the name given to Amazon’s content distribution network.
Delimiter speculated about an Amazon ‘Edge’ node in Australia in July 2011, writing at the time:
“For Amazon to invest in a new Australian ‘region’, when there are no regional facilities in countries like India, with its massive population of 1.1 billion and a burgeoning IT industry, just sounds ludicrous. Sure, Australia punches above its weight when it comes to consuming cloud computing resources — but does it punch bigger than India? Not really. I would consider it much more likely that what Amazon is planning for Australia is to build a small ‘Edge’ content distribution facility locally, to bring us into line with locations such as Paris and London. That would make a great deal of sense, considering our appetite for consumer online services, particularly media.”
However, there has also been increasing amounts of speculation over the past few weeks that the Edge node could be a fore-runner to a larger infrastructure investment. Unverified sources have highlighted a claimed link between giant datacentre operator Equinix in Australia, and last week The Register reported that Amazon intended to offer cloud computing services from an existing cloud computing datacentre in Australia.
I still don’t believe that Australia will see a full-scale Amazon ‘region’ datacentre in any sense of the word. The return is not here for that. Given the CDN confirmation today, this is what I believe Amazon will eventually do in Australia, as I alluded to last year:
“There is the possibility that Amazon will create in Australia what I would term a ‘hybrid’ model of datacentre. It might combine its basic content distribution network model with a small amount of extra processing and storage space, so that it can gain a toehold in the local market and start discussing options with … local chief information officers”
This would be a good match for the demands and size of the Australian market; as in, we have pretty stringent demands but we’re also pretty small.
Image credit: Amazon