A new Outpost for Telco Cloud: Outposts offers full AWS stack

At AWS re:Invent, its annual jamboree, the cloud titan made over 60 announcements (I lost count). You could therefore be forgiven for overlooking a pre-view announcement for a service that isn’t due to ship until the H2-2019: AWS Outposts. You will be hearing lots more about it in the coming months.

The information on the service is limited. Basically, customers will be offered on-premise AWS. Not a cut-down version, not a software stack that they need to install and manage themselves; the full AWS hardware and software stack that they can manage through existing APIs and interfaces.

Customers will be offered two flavours: VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts and AWS native variant of AWS Outposts. Clearly, these will not have the identical commercial model and pricing as AWS and VMWare today. This has yet to be defined. Details on exactly how the service will be delivered are little patchy too.

How it works (taken from AWS Outposts product page)

How AWS Outposts Work

So what does this mean for #telcoedgecompute …… and #NFVi?

For some operators, AWS Outposts will be seen as a potential threat to their ambitions in edge computing. However, for many, it will be seen as an opportunity: initially, as a potential route to securing infrastructure and capabilities for enabling edge compute services for their enterprise customers and then, eventually as a candidate infrastructure for their own network functions…. including distributed vEPC and vRAN.

The presence of VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, alongside AWS CEO Andy Jassy for the joint announcement is notable and relevant for telecoms operators struggling with NFV deployments. AWS and VMWare will still need to convince traditionally cautious CTOs that they can be trusted for mission-critical network functions, so we can expect a flurry of POC announcements by MWC. Also at re:Invent, there was a demo and workshop from Enel (the Italian utility), AWS and Athonet for a cloud-based private LTE network solution based on CBRS (unlicensed spectrum); Athonet’s LTE ordered and implemented through AWS.

NFVi is in AWS’ sights and their record in other industries is strong. We at #STL Partners, will be looking out for announcements and sharing insights.