Finally, Amazon launches Sydney datacentre


news After six months of rumours and the launch of several ancillary services down under, US cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services has finally announced the availability of locally-hosted cloud computing services from an Australian datacentre; with prices comparable to those seen overseas.

In a post on its corporate blog overnight, Amazon Web Services said it was time to expand its footprint again, with “a new region in Sydney, Australia”. “AWS customers in Australia can now enjoy fast, low-latency access to the suite of AWS infrastructure services,” the company wrote.

The company has launched its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) suite and related services in Australia, with commonly used solutions such as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), Relational Database Service (RDS), Simple Notification Service (SNS) and other services now available locally. iTNews has reported that Amazon has established two datacentres locally, with at least one of the facilities is in Equinix’s SYD3 facility. Prices are relatively similar to those seen in Amazon’s other regions overseas; a little higher in some areas; a little cheaper in others.

Amazon said that over 10,000 organisations in Australia and New Zealand were already making use of AWS. For example, it said, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia runs customer-facing web applications on AWS as part of a cloud strategy that has been underway for the past five years and local accounting software vendor MYOB is hosting its Atlas website builder software with Amazon — with currently more than 40,000 small and medium size businesses using Atlas on the AWS cloud.

Other examples include Halfbrick Studios, which hosts its Fruit Ninja game on AWS, using the DynamoDB service and multiple AWS availability zones to host tens of millions of regular players. IN addition, Amazon noted, local Australian startup Brandscreen, which is developing a real-time advertising trading platform for the media industry, is using the Elastic MapReduce service to process vast amounts of data to test machine learning algorithms, storing over a petabyte of data in Amazon’s S3 service and adding another 10 terabytes every day.

Amazon also noted in its blog post that it’s working with partners such as Canonical (which develops the Ubuntu Linux distribution), cloud management providers enStratus and RightScale, hosted Drupal provider Acquia, geographic information systems vendor ESRI and CloudBerry Labs to integrate the new Australian datacentre into their offerings.

“We already have a vibrant partner ecosystem in the region. Local Systems Integrators include ASG, Bulletproof Networks, Fronde, Industrie IT, The Frame Group, Melbourne IT, SMS IT and Sourced Group,” said Amazon.

In addition to the launch of the local datacentre, Amazon also noted that it had now established offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. “We will be adding a local technical support operation in 2013 as part of our global network of support centers, all accessible through AWS Support,” the company said.

To launch the local services, the company’s senior vice president Andy Jassy will be speaking at a customer appreciation day in Sydney this morning; the live stream will be available online.
The news comes as rumours surrounding an AWS datacentre launch in Australia have been swirling for the past six months. In June talk around the issue intensified as Amazon confirmed it had added an ‘edge’ node in Sydney to speed up the delivery of content to Australians, but at the time it stopped short of launching its wider cloud computing services in Australia.

The news comes as other cloud computing and hosting players such as Rackspace have also recently launched Australian infrastructure; as part of a general expansion of datacentre and hosting facilities currently taking place across the Australian region. The company said in August that since formally entering the Australian and New Zealand markets in 2009, it had experienced “a significant increase in local customer numbers”. Prominent local customers include Rio Tinto, Telstra, Australia Post, Monash University, Tourism Queensland and more.

Image credit: Amazon


  1. Does anyone know if it is possible to restrict the geographic location of data to Australia using AWS?

    • Peter,

      By default, all the AWS regions are independent. In fact, you would have to jump through a few hurdles to get your data over multiple regions.


  2. Australia needs more hosting service providers, particularly as the NBN rollout accelerates – by the time most businesses are able to take advantage of advanced NBN speeds, the Australian Internet infrastructure must be capable of supplying low-latency services locally. Projects like this are a big step in the right direction and will hopefully result in lower local hosting costs from the increased competition as an ancillary benefit, but the greatest impact will be enabling new business models and innovative technologies that will begin as services to local Australian customers that can take advantage of high-speed Internet technologies (that thankfully won’t be hampered by inadequate server-side latency), and as recognition of the need for dramatically increased bandwidth to the rest of the world propels greater investment in undersea cable competition these innovative companies will have compelling, world-class products to deploy on the International stage (hopefully dragging the rest of the country kicking & screaming into a technology-centric economic model).

    But you know, that’s just my opinion :-)

  3. Always good to see more IT investment in Australia, but they are still a US company and it will be a hard sell to convince customers that data isn’t caught by US law, including the Patriot Act and DMCA.

    • i think that will depend entirely on the customer.
      i suspect that most of them will be ignorant of such things.

    • For me, this is a problem with cloud computing in general. YOUR information becomes subject to the rules and regulations of other countries. Something perfectly legal here may be illegal where the information is hosted, and thanks to the partial ambiguity of that whole internet thing, you can never be sure where its hosted. Or who else can grab your data.

      Case in point was the British national extradicted to the US for hosting a link service. Data was hosted in England, but because the site ended in a .com address the US claimed rights. Site was perfectly legal in the UK, not in the US. And the UK arrested him and sent him to the US to be tried.

        • Cheers Tom, couldnt remember his name and was too lazy to hunt it out.

          Point was more that you’re not safe when it comes to ANY online actions. O’Dwyers actions are legal in the UK, but another countries laws get him caught where it isnt. And it was as simple as a .com extension on his website.

          Kim Dotcom, love him or hate him, is in a whole world of trouble for the same reason. They are breaching laws left right and centre to get to him, and the result can only be to set some sort of precedent for cloud computing in general.

          In short, it doesnt matter where YOU are, it matters where your data goes. And if that data goes anywhere that disagrees with it, you could be in trouble.

          Imagine a world where the data centers are located in China for example, or the middle east. Or a simple situation where your game saves on your PS3 are stored in Singapore. You hack or upload a hacked game save, and it gets saved to the cloud, you’re guilty of hacking under their laws. Because of something you’e not going to be aware of.

          And for everyone that thinks it wont happen, O’Dwyer and Dotcom are examples of it happening NOW. This worries me.

      • Hmmm … (puts on tinfoil cap to prevent brainwaves from being scanned by intergalactic intelligence agencies) … I think you are confusing the general arguments for public cloud services for relatively benign and 100% legal activity with their use for sensitive and legally questionable activities no?

        Intelligence agencies and police have many ways to access data in any country when there is legitimate justification, and court approval, to investigate illegal activity. This fact is neither here nor there in the case of public cloud services. The “monster under the bed” scare mongering around the US Patriot Act (and other similar legal mechanisms in most countries) is largely a red herring for most individuals and organisations going about normal, legal, commercial and public service activities.

        It is all about practical trade-offs. The fact is that for many organisations cloud services provide a better, faster, less expensive and less risky way to source ICT capabilities (infrastructure, platforms and applications) than can be achieved any other way within funding and skill constraints.

        As more and more activity becomes multi-national and global in nature it becomes silly to run the “data must reside in-house and onshore to be safe” argument. This is really just a rerun of the “my server must live under my desk” argument … followed by the “OK then … my server must be in my building” argument … followed by the “OK then take it, but my servers must be in a locked cage in your data centre” … etc. etc. These days real security is all about the capacity to invest in people, processes and technology. Under-investment in inadequately skilled and motivated people, poorly defined and implemented processes and out-dated technology is the sad reality of many organisation’s security posture … as audit reports reveal year on year. The general argument that public cloud services and offshore date are a priori untrustworthy is just a lazy-thinking nonsense … IMHO.

        Amazon has defined the whole concept of trustworthy public cloud IaaS, in the same way that Salesforce and others have defined trustworthy SaaS, and I take my hat off to them. They are also at the forefront of investing in data centres around the world to address real and perceived data sovereignty and latency requirements. The fast track to living in the future world of the ICT industry is to gain hands-on experience of how to safely use and manage both public cloud services and their co-existence with on-premise ICT. Trade-offs, horses for courses etc. It all depends on the characteristics of the workloads, data, business requirements …

        Of course … if what you are doing is illegal, or testing the boundaries of law in multiple jurisdictions, then you need to be damn careful, know what you are doing, and keep your eyes wide open … and keep your tinfoil cap snugly on your head because they are listening to your thoughts … right now … whether you are using the cloud or not.

    • True. But with Amazon launching products like this it will accelerate uptake and interest, growing the market demand and creating space for local competition that isn’t subject to US law (a very compelling competitive advantage). So yes, while current customers will certainly need to bear such considerations in mind, it’s not a deal-breaker for most large business with interests in this space, and long-term it will be very positive for Australia generally (IMHO), leading to greater choice and diversity (and maybe eventually forcing big players like Amazon to drop US ties in order to compete with international competition that isn’t hobbled by the threat of US Govt snooping or legal intervention).

      • The US thinks their laws apply simply because there is a .com address involved somewhere along the way. Given the parent company is that is going to be enough for them to claim a link.

        And for the US, they have demonstrated that’s enough. Again, look to Richard O’Dwyer for a pretty blunt demonstration of how far they’re willing to go.

        Until companies stop using .com addresses, that are tied to a specific country (and by extensions like and addresses for the same reason) then the risk is there.

        Perhaps a .data extension that they can build specific laws around.

    • There are ways in which many customers circumvent these issues – there alot of companies, that have used other services, to store data in the public cloud that doesn’t fall to easvesdropping

  4. I reckon this is great news for those companies/people already using AWS. It will reduce latency and now the data can be kept locally.

    For those newcomers or reluctant to enter this new way of running IT, these new features (a consequence of having a local AWS region) could now help them to reduce those concerns.

    AWS is in my view the leader of public cloud computing and if you are not with them in one way or another, you are already behind the ball game.

    Great news

  5. No glacier. Only service I use. Not sure I would use it anyway knowing it’d cost more.

  6. Personally, I’d like to see an (similar to I find it infuriating that there are so many items on Amazon that I’d like to buy, only to be told that those particular items (including mp3s of all bloody things) aren’t available to me because of geography.

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