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AWS Local Zones Now GA In Boston, Houston And Miami

Amazon Web Services plans to add a dozen more AWS Local Zones this year.

New AWS Local Zones are now generally available for use in Boston, Houston and Miami, and Amazon Web Services expects to launch a dozen more later this year.

A newer type of infrastructure deployment and extension of an AWS cloud region, an AWS Local Zone brings AWS compute, storage, database and other services close to large population, industry and IT centers, allowing customers to local run applications that require single-digit millisecond latency in geographic proximity to end-users.

AWS Local Zones are a great way for customers to get latency-sensitive workloads on a managed cloud platform without any on-premise infrastructure, according to Eamonn O’Neill, cofounder and chief customer officer at Lemongrass, an Atlanta-based AWS Premier Consulting Partner that helps large and midsize enterprises migrate and run their SAP applications on AWS.

“For our customers, the new zones could help with certain use-cases such as manufacturing execution systems, which connect tightly to both central SAP on AWS and the physical production lines,” O’Neill said. ”This again demonstrates how AWS is driving their solutions in line with evolving customer demand.”

AWS now has five Local Zones after launching its first in Los Angeles for end-users in the southern California area in December 2019 and adding a second one there last August.

Each AWS Local Zone is a “child” of a particular “parent” region and is managed by the control plane in the region. AWS’ U.S. East cloud region in northern Virginia is the parent region for the three new Local Zones in Boston, Houston and Miami.

The new AWS Local Zones will greatly improve the abilities of real-time interactions, said Jimmy Chui, director of customer success at ClearScale, a San Francisco cloud systems integrator and AWS Premier Consulting Partner.

“Systems that provide interfaces to control devices, such as remote activities via robotics -- medical/manufacturing/IoT devices -- will benefit from increased usability,” Chui said. “Applications with high interactivity such as gaming and securities trading will improve. AWS Local Zones will also bring the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence closer to customers, enabling deep data processing on the fly in contrast to the partially asynchronous experience customers have today.”

Local Zone use cases can be grouped into two categories, according to AWS “chief evangelist” Jeff Barr. They include the distributed edge for customers that want to put selected parts of their gaming, social media and voice assistant applications in multiple, geographically disparate locations to deliver a low-latency experience to their users; and locality for customers requiring access to cloud services in specific locations close to their branch offices and data centers. The latter customers often must process and store data within a specific geographic region to meet regulatory requirements and frequently use a third-party software VPN appliance on an Amazon EC2 instance to connect to a Local Zone, according to Barr.

AWS Advanced Technology Partner Ambra Health, a New York medical data and image management SaaS company, has a cloud-based medical image management suite used by some of the largest health systems, radiology practices and clinical research organizations. Its suite uses Local Zones to provide radiologists with rapid access to high-quality images in lieu of traditional desktop image viewers.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Couchbase, another AWS Advanced Technology Partner that provides a distributed NoSQL cloud database for enterprise applications, uses AWS Local Zones to provide low latency and single-digit, millisecond data access times for applications to ensure developers’ apps are always available and fast, according to Barr.

“Using Local Zones along with Couchbase’s edge computing capabilities means that their customers are able to store, query, search and analyze data in real-time,” he said.

The 12 additional AWS Local Zones expected this year will be in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle.

“We are also putting plans in place to expand to additional locations, both in the U.S. and elsewhere,” Barr said in a blog post today. “Over time, we plan to add additional AWS services, including AWS Direct Connect and more EC2 instance types in these new Local Zones, all driven by feedback from our customers.”

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