Amazon Web Services (AWS) has dropped a couple of hints that next week’s Re:Invent conference will see it push deeper into hybrid cloud.
AWS dominates the public cloud but has barely acknowledged hybrid clouds other than with its VMware partnership and its Snowball Edge device. But hybrid cloud is increasingly seen as inevitable, because there are plenty of reasons to keep certain workloads on-premises.
And AWS’ competitors’ are ahead of it in hybrid. Microsoft has a fine hybrid story with both Azure Stack and Windows Server 2019 while the Google/Nutanix deal also offers a route to hybrid. And then there’s IBM buying Red Hat, specifically to target hybrid clouds.
Amazon surely wants to remain dominant as hybrid clouds become more common and will struggle to do that with VMware alone.
The announcements it has made this week aren't huge, but are telling.
One reveals that Snowball Edge, a storage appliance that can do a little pre-processing of data before it uploads to the cloud, will now come in "Storage optimized" and "Compute optimized" editions. The latter will even offer a GPU that AWS says makes it suitable for "real-time full-motion video analysis & processing, machine learning inferencing, and other highly parallel compute-intensive work."
Snowball Edge effectively runs a conventional EC2 instance and is driven from the AWS Console, making it just-about-hybrid cloud, albeit for a limited set of workloads.
AWS also revealed a new Route 53 Resolver for Hybrid Clouds “enable bi-directional querying between on-premises and AWS over private connections” and “allow for recursive DNS lookup for your hybrid workloads.
“This saves you from the overhead of managing, operating and maintaining additional DNS infrastructure while operating both environments,” says AWS’ Shaun Ray.
That’s a nice little shortcut.
But the post announcing the new Route 53 feature is tagged “AWS Re:Invent” suggesting that it will be featured at next week’s conference that AWS uses to make its biggest annual news splash. Add the Route 53 news to the Snowball Edge news and it looks a lot like AWS has hybrid on its mind.
And AWS has form sneaking out rather significant news in the week before the event. In the days before Re:Invent 2017 it published a post announcing a new hypervisor and hinting at new EC2 instance types.
Those instances turned out to also use a whole new server design that split core compute functions and security and networking chores into discrete devices.
And that architecture, named “Nitro”, is now AWS’ flagship next-generation infrastructure design.
A gruntier Snowball Edge and better hybrid networking are both nice. But AWS knows much more is required to make it a proper hybrid contender. The announcements we've seen so far don't do that.
Watch this space.