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ISPs say AWS listed by Australian peering services

Source says co-located data centre testing under way

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is close to turning on an Australian facility, The Register has been told by a provider of IP networking services.

A staffer at the company, who asked not to be identified, added that AWS intends to offer cloud computing, as distinct from cloud storage and other AWS services. The computing service will not be served from an Amazon facility, as the company has chosen to co-locate in an existing third-party data centre in Australia.

The IP networking company's staffer told The Reg it has been approached to provide peering services.

Adding credence to that account is a similar report from a worker at an Australian ISP, who told The Reg that network operator Pipe is already providing peering services for AWS. The ISP's staffer said a management console Pipe provides to its customers last week listed AWS among customers for whom it provides peering in New South Wales. A staffer at a second IP reports traffic flowing over the link.

Pipe’s and Equinix's Sydney operations can already be identified as peers for AWS, through sources like Robtex.

While the evidence above offers more proof of AWS' intention to create a local data centre, which have previously been inferred by job ads, it is not yet utterly conclusive evidence of an Australian AWS presence. Peering exchanges are used by big internet traffic generators to ensure their data flows efficiently between network operators, instead of being forced on long, latency-inducing, routes. But as Paul Brooks of networking consultancy Layer10 told The Register, peering could be a way for AWS to speed traffic flows to offshore data centres.

We're therefore not entirely certain the involvement of Australian peers is a smoking gun for a local AWS presence, although given the job ads for data centre and infrastructure experts ran months ago it is hard not to imagine the cloudy company hasn’t cooked up something on Australian shores.

AWS is certainly vigorous here: the company staged a summit in Sydney and Melbourne last month. Customers who spoke at the Sydney event included Vodafone and News Limited and the latter said it has replaced its entire test and development platform with AWS and is considering wider use of the company's cloud services, possibly as a platform on which to host online properties. The former said it is contemplating a cloud-based CMS for all its content, after using AWS to power a live cricket broadcasting app.

Both applications are, we feel it is fair to say, latency-sensitive and could therefore benefit from a local AWS facility. But they’re not quite so sensitive that they would need the extraordinary security that AWS provides for its own data centres, which could explain the co-location option.

If it is indeed the case that Amazon will co-locate its first Australian presence, it is therefore hard to imagine governments stampeding towards the web services giant. But even if that is the case, AWS would be ahead of Microsoft and Google, both of which rely on offshore data centres. Local cloud providers would also be fearful: few can match the range of services AWS provides. ®

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