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What is AWS Outposts?

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The cloud revolutionized how firms operate, offering vast storage­ and scalability. However, some companie­s can't move data to the cloud due to re­gulations requiring local processing. So, how can these­ organizations benefit from the cloud's powe­r within their own data centers? The­ solution is AWS Outposts– an advanced solution that enables you to bring Amazon's top cloud services into your own data center or facility.

Introduction

Outposts refer to physical hardware devices with limited AWS compute and storage capacities located within your data center. This gives you all the familiar AWS compute, storage, database, analytics and other cloud services, but now running directly within your on-premises.

Outposts racks come with AWS-designed compute, storage, network and GPU instances already installed, so you can extend your on-premises infrastructure using the same APIs and tools that are used in the AWS cloud. You can also connect your Outposts to the AWS public cloud through a secure network link seamlessly.  Outposts can be deployed as either 42U racks or 1U/2U servers designed specifically for this purpose, which attach to existing racks.

Therefore, Outposts enables you to take advantage of cloud flexibility and services while maintaining your data and workloads on-premise for low latency, data residency, compliance, or any other operational needs. It is a hybrid solution that brings AWS wherever your computing needs may be. 

Why Do Organisations Need AWS Outposts?

There are several key reasons why organizations may need AWS Outposts:

  • Data Residency and Compliance: Data residency requirements are strict in many industries, such as healthcare, finance, or government, where they may not leave certain geographical regions or need to be processed on-premises in accordance with the rules and regulations. However, by using Outposts, one can still keep their AWS services localized while having them contain sensitive data.
  • Low Latency Requirements: For applications with ultra-low latency, such as machine learning inference, real-time gaming, and computer-aided design (CAD), among others, having nearby on-premises infrastructure hosting Outposts might be very important for their performance.
  • Limited Connectivity: In areas with poor or no inte­rnet, such as remote site­s (oil rigs, mines) or mobile operations, Outposts provide­s secure, reliable­ computing without needing constant cloud access.
  • Gradual Cloud Migration: Most legacy systems may be difficult to directly transfer into cloud environments. Outposts allow organizations to have a consistent hybrid environment by moving workloads incrementally towards AWS without necessarily refactoring applications immediately.
  • Hybrid Cloud Strategy: Many enterprises use­ hybrid cloud models, splitting workloads betwee­n on-prem and cloud-based on performance­, cost, and security needs. Outposts e­nables a truly seamless hybrid e­xperience.

How Do AWS Outposts Work?

Here are the steps on how AWS Outposts work:

Hardware Provisioning

AWS Outposts start with provisioning hardware that is similar to AWS infrastructure. This hardware is deployed in the customer’s data center or edge location.

AWS-Managed Control Plane

The AWS Control Plane acts as a central command center for Amazon Web Services. It performs tasks such as managing user access, monitoring resources, and ensuring security, just like a conductor leads an orchestra to make all the AWS services work together harmoniously.

Connection to AWS Region

Dedicated network cables are used to securely connect AWS Outposts with an AWS Region. This allows the Outpost to use the same AWS services, APIs and management tools available in the cloud region.

Local Execution

Once connected, customers can provision and manage their AWS resources on the Outpost in the same way they would do it in the AWS cloud. They can deploy EC2 instances, store data in Amazon S3 buckets, and utilize Amazon RDS databases and other AWS services that Outposts support.

Data Synchronization

For synchronizing data between an Outpost and an AWS Region, one can employ tools like AWS DataSync or AWS Storage Gateway. These tools ensure both the secure transfer of data and its consistency.

Integration & Hybrid Architecture

AWS Outposts seamlessly integrate into the wider AWS ecosystem thereby enabling customers to build hybrid architectures. This means that on one hand, they can have resources on the Outpost, while on the other hand, they also use resources in the AWS cloud. Additionally, they can establish secure connections between their Outpost and other AWS resources by utilizing services such as AWS Direct Connect or VPN.

Commands for AWS Outpost

CommandDescription
aws outposts list-outposts
Lists all Outposts associated with your AWS account.
aws outposts get-outpost --outpost-id <value>
Describes an Outpost with the specified Outpost ID.
aws outposts create-outpost
Creates a new Outpost.
aws outposts delete-outpost --outpost-id <value>
Deletes the specified Outpost.
aws outposts list-outpost-sites
Lists all sites for your AWS account.
aws outposts get-outpost-instance-types --outpost-id <value>
Lists the instance types available on the specified Outpost.
aws outposts create-site
Creates a new site for an Outpost.
aws outposts delete-site --site-id <value>
Deletes the specified site.
aws outposts list-orders
Lists all orders for your AWS account.
aws outposts get-order --order-id <value>
Describes an order with the specified Order ID.
aws outposts create-order
Creates a new order for an Outpost.
aws outposts list-assets --outpost-id <value>
Lists all assets for the specified Outpost.
aws outposts get-asset --asset-id <value>
Describes an asset with the specified Asset ID.
aws outposts tag-resource --resource-arn <value> --tags <key=value>
Adds or overwrites tags for the specified resource.
aws outposts untag-resource --resource-arn <value> --tag-keys <key>
Removes tags from the specified resource.

What is the cost to setup AWS Outpost?

The cost of AWS Outposts includes various factors, such as hardware, installation, and ongoing service fees. AWS Outposts are purchased on three-year terms, with different payment options available.

  1. Upfront Payment: Lowest total cost.
  2. Monthly Payment: Higher overall cost due to financing charges.

Here are a few examples of AWS outpost costs according to the services:

General Purpose Unit: Suitable for POS or enterprise applications.

  • Monthly: $5,407.78 (no upfront payment)
  • Monthly with upfront payment: $2,503.60 (upfront $90,129.72)
  • Full upfront payment: $169,443.88
  • Savings: Over $25,000 with full upfront payment.

Middle-Grade System: For enterprise workspaces or retail POS.

  • Monthly: $11,116.97 (no upfront payment)
  • Monthly with upfront payment: $5,146.74 (upfront $185,282.79)
  • Full upfront payment: $348,331.64
  • Savings: Over $50,000 with full upfront payment.

Top-of-the-Line Memory-Optimized Unit: For high-performance computing and storage.

  • Monthly: $23,484.59 (no upfront payment)
  • Monthly with upfront payment: $10,872.49 (upfront $413,020.38)
  • Full upfront payment: $735,850.40
  • Savings: Over $100,000 with full upfront payment.

Additional Storage Costs

Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS):

  • 11 TB: $3,379.20 per month
  • 33 TB: $6,758.40 per month
  • 55 TB: $8,448.00 per month

AWS Simple Storage Service:

  • 26 TB: $2,662.40 per month
  • 96 TB: $9,830.40 per month
  • 380 TB: $38,912.00 per month

Regional Pricing

Pricing can vary by region. It's important to assess your current and future needs and work with your IT team and AWS representatives to configure a cost-effective solution.

By considering these costs and options, you can determine a financially viable setup for your company with AWS Outposts.

Comparing AWS Outposts with Similar Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Feature/CriteriaAWS OutpostsAzure Stack HubGoogle Anthos
IntegrationSeamless integration with AWS servicesIntegrates with Azure servicesIntegrates with Google Cloud services
ManagementManaged by AWSManaged by user or via Microsoft partnersManaged by user
Supported EnvironmentsOn-premises, hybrid environmentsOn-premises, hybrid environmentsOn-premises, hybrid environments, multi-cloud
HardwareAWS-designed hardwareAzure-certified hardwareWorks with existing VMware, hardware-agnostic
Use CasesLow latency, local data processing, hybrid workloadsEdge computing, disconnected environments, hybrid appsConsistent development, multi-cloud management, hybrid apps
PricingSubscription-based, includes hardware and servicesCapital expenditure for hardware + Azure service costsSubscription-based, per-node pricing
DeploymentAWS handles setup and maintenanceUser or partner manages setup and maintenanceUser manages setup, can use existing infrastructure
SupportAWS supportMicrosoft supportGoogle Cloud support, Anthos partners

Tips for optimizing AWS Outposts for various use cases

Use CaseBest Practices
Low Latency ApplicationsPlace Outposts in close proximity to users, ensure network connectivity is optimized to reduce latency.
Local Data ProcessingLeverage AWS services on Outposts for data-heavy operations, use local storage to minimize data transfer costs.
Regulatory ComplianceUse Outposts to store sensitive data locally, ensure compliance with local data residency regulations.
Disaster RecoveryIntegrate Outposts with on-premises DR solutions, regularly test failover and recovery processes.
Hybrid WorkloadsSeamlessly extend AWS services to on-premises environments, use consistent security and management policies across environments.
Edge ComputingDeploy Outposts at edge locations, use for processing data close to where it is generated for faster insights.

Conclusion

AWS Outposts help you bring AWS services’ power and flexibility into your on-premises infrastructure, enabling you to create a consistent hybrid environment anywhere you want. Using AWS Outposts allows you to have scalability, reliability, and innovation from the AWS cloud while still maintaining full control over systems located offsite. This is especially important for organizations that wish to build applications with high-speed transaction processing, align with data residency requirements, or migrate gradually to additional cloud-based solutions without interrupting normal business activities.

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