AWS Outposts Availability in New Countries Strengthens AWS’ Presence and Drives Edge Computing in ASEAN

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • AWS Outposts availability in ASEAN countries strengthens AWS’ presence in the region and enables it to capture the high-growth cloud opportunities there.
  • AWS Outposts and Wavelength will drive edge computing through stronger collaborations with partners, especially the telcos.

Launched late last year in select markets, AWS Outposts takes hybrid cloud to the next level by enabling enterprises to run AWS compute storage, database, and other services within their own premises or preferred third-party data centers. For more, please see AWS re:Invent 2019: AWS Announces General Availability of Outposts, but Must Demonstrate Management Competence (December 5, 2019). Recently, the provider added nine new countries, including emerging markets such as Malaysia and Thailand, making Outposts available to 50 markets through 22 regions to date. While competitors have their own approach (e.g., Azure Stack, Google Anthos, Alibaba Apsara Stack), AWS is a step ahead in its service availability globally and partner ecosystem.

Expanding Cloud Options for Enterprise

In ASEAN, AWS Outposts is currently available in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. This addresses a supply-demand gap and drives cloud adoption in the region. Overall cloud adoption is still low in the region. Data residency has been a major requirement for ASEAN enterprises for performance (e.g., latency) and regulation (for verticals such as BFSI and the government), as well as the legacy mindset to have the infrastructure within reach. The advancements of enterprise applications and user trends today are pushing these enterprises to migrate their workloads to public cloud. However, the option has been limited to domestic providers such as the local telcos due to hyperscalers’ lack of in-country presence, apart from Singapore. While the solution offered by the domestic providers includes basic public cloud services (e.g., IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS), there are limited value-added services such as analytics, security, and IoT. With Outposts, enterprises can have access to AWS’ comprehensive cloud services and have the workload hosted locally. In addition, Outposts is offered as managed services and can be integrated with VMware environments. This addresses various technical challenges (e.g., migration, deployment, updates, and patches) and enables enterprises to focus on the business outcomes. One of the early adopters in the region is CAT Telecom in Thailand. The ability to run hybrid workloads securely and leverage the breadth of AWS’ services enables CAT Telecom to transform its business process and enhance its customer experience.

Enable Edge Computing

Apart from addressing data residency, Outposts can enable new edge computing use cases: for example, high-bandwidth applications such as video streaming and medical imaging. Hosting these applications far from the edge can be costly due to the high network bandwidth required. Outposts can also enable latency-sensitive applications such as AR/VR across different verticals. 5G is gaining momentum in the region: Thailand launched 5G early this year; the spectrum is expected to be available in Malaysia by the end of 2020; Indonesia will likely have 5G next year. The 4G successor brings many new features including multi-access edge computing, ultra-reliable low latency, service-based architecture, and network slicing. This will unlock various new edge computing applications for enterprises. Outposts can also be used with AWS Wavelength to offer greater flexibility for customers with different latencies across applications from the same cloud environment.

Strengthens Presence in ASEAN

The competition is increasing in the sub-region, as hyperscalers are expanding their footprints to capture the high-growth cloud market there. Google, in the same week, launched its data centers in Indonesia to gain first-mover advantage in the country, while AWS facilities are only expected to be ready next year. Alibaba Cloud is also actively expanding its presence. It plans to launch its third data center in Indonesia in 2021 and expand its ecosystem in the Philippines, and it has announced new partnerships in Malaysia. AWS has been leading the public cloud market in APAC and ASEAN. While competitors are catching up, the announcement is important for the provider in strengthening its presence and retaining the market leadership in ASEAN.

What’s Next?

There is still a gap in the go-to-market partner ecosystem in these countries. While AWS is expanding its ecosystem and has major players (e.g., global SIs, domestic SIs and telcos) as its partners, there are still many other key players such as local system integrators missing from the list. The service provider ecosystem can be highly complex in a country. Different providers have different focuses based on verticals, business sizes, and geographical areas. It is important for AWS to strengthen its local presence to explore partnerships with not only the major players, but also the smaller or second-tier integrators. AWS could also consider extending its partnership with the local telcos from interconnect to professional services (e.g., certification, accreditation) and 5G edge computing. 5G is still new in ASEAN, but AWS could start exploring the opportunities by co-developing use cases with domestic telcos and end users to gain brand and market leadership advantage.

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