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Amazon lights up Australian cloud


Lia Timson

Cloud computing takes a stronger meaning in Australia today, with the darling of the internet world, Amazon, finally announcing it will be offering a full range of services to government agencies, academic institutions, developers and businesses of all sizes onshore.

As widely expected,'s cloud computing arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the new Sydney data centre overnight Tuesday, via a blog post. It will offer the company's best known services including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), DynamoDB and Simple Storage Service (S3).

The new facility will cater for customers tempted by the cloud computing giant's scale and easy self-serve model, but restricted in their choice of provider by data sovereignty requirements.

Amazon did not reveal the location of the facility, but it is expected it will be housed in Equinix's new SYD3 data centre to be officially opened by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy on Thursday November 15. Prospective customers will be told more details today (Tuesday) when the company holds its love-in, a Customer Appreciation Day, at The Westin hotel in Martin Place, Sydney.

Senator Conroy has been pushing Australia as a data centre destination as part of his national broadband network agenda setting.

Amazon had already taken the first step onto Australian soil with a small "edge location" announced in June. The location offers CloudFront, a hosting service, and Route 53, a domain name system (DNS) hosting service that connects to EC2.

The company said this will be its ninth region, the third in Asia Pacific with Singapore and Tokyo already established.

The move comes as Ninefold, an Australian cloud service provider, announces it is expanding in the opposite direction. The company opened a US "availability zone" in California this week.

Ninefold chairman and co-founder Peter James said the overseas expansion would cater for demand by customers whose clients were in the US.

"Australia is home to many innovative ideas, but reaching international markets has typically meant choosing between a local or international cloud provider. Either way, you suffer latency impact at home or overseas. Now, we have bridged that problem as we make our first step into the international cloud space," James said in a statement.

James took the opportunity to have a dig at US-based providers opening facilities in Australia suggesting only those "owned and operated by an Australian company" could provide "absolute certainty regarding laws governing their data".

Rackspace, another well known American cloud computing provider, opened its first Australian data centre in Sydney in August. At the time, its general counsel, Alan Schoenbaum, issued a promise the company would not transfer customer data to the US to comply with the Patriot Act without customer's permission unless compelled to do so by Australian law.

"Data hosted in Australia by Rackspace is subject to the same laws as cloud services operated by wholly owned Australian companies," he said.

Amazon said it will add local technical support to its local services in 2013 via a "global network of support centres". The company has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and has partnered with hosting companies and systems integrators including Melbourne IT, SMS IT and Bulletproof Networks.

It listed the Commonwealth Bank, Fruit Ninja's developer Halfbrick Studios and MYOB Atlas among its Australian customers., and the City of Melbourne are lined up to speak at today's customer session.

6 comments so far

  • It seems other cloud providers might have real problems now. While AWS in other regions, regardless the common opinion, is not necessary so cheap, in Australia it seems to rock! If you compare it on (Australia tab) , Amazon really stands out in virtually any configuration!

    Date and time
    November 13, 2012, 9:12AM
    • So Senator Conroy is going to open Amazon's new Australian facility.
      I suggest before he does so that he gets written agreement that they will pay tax on any profits they make in Australia ( not reducing their profits to zero by the simple method of claiming that the amount of profit they would make is actually royalties to be paid to their overseas office- conveniently located in a low tax haven.)
      There are too many overseas companies operating in Australia and repatriating profits overseas under various guises-if they don't pay their taxes here then don't let them in and thereby let Australian businesses (who DO pay their taxes) replace them.There are already Australian companies operating here who operate cloud facilities; if enormous overseas companies are allowed to operate here without paying local taxes then Australian companies will simply go broke and the Australian people will be deprived of their rightful tax income. I think there is a story here for some of the wonderful Fairfax investigative journalists.

      Double Bay
      Date and time
      November 13, 2012, 10:51AM
      • JoeC excellent point. So few comments. Is no-one interested in this important story. Lia - how about a follow up on how US multinationals are paying little tax to the detriment of Australian IT industry and the Australian taxpayer?

        Date and time
        November 13, 2012, 4:24PM
    • Great, we now have more opportunity to store our data o/s. How many Australian companies were shocked to find their web-sites went down when Hurricane Sandy knoocked out the New York data centres where their sites were hosted? American data centres typically locate their back up power supplies in nice, convenient and easily flooded places like basements. Experience and logic should have made it obvious that the greater the distance between user and host, the greater the probability of failure. Hopefully we will have also learn't that you don't keep all your virtual eggs in the one physical basket

      Date and time
      November 13, 2012, 2:04PM
      • GO NINEFOLD! :)

        Date and time
        November 13, 2012, 11:38PM
        • Let's hope Amazon and others hire local talent in the cloud space too while they're at it. As already pointed out, if they're hoping to offer services to government organisations, then they'd better ensure they have the proper data security policies and security clearances for their staff otherwise they'll be limiting their opportunities here. Good to see more competition in the cloud space though - hopefully it'll translate to better offerings from existing providers too!

          Date and time
          November 14, 2012, 8:55AM

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