The Amazon Web Services will open a new cloud region targeting the German market by establishing a data center in Germany (Frankfurt). But is this so exciting for German companies?
Amazon AWS to touch down in Germany
Apparently, Amazon AWS has recognized the importance of the German market and the concerns of German companies. Crisp Research knows from reliable sources that the cloud provider will open a cloud region for the German market with a location in Frankfurt in the coming weeks.
After the announcement of Salesforce of a German data center location, Amazon is the next big U.S. cloud provider to follow the trend. This again shows the attractiveness of Germany. After all, most American companies treat the German market rather stepmotherly. Typically, the majority of American cloud providers supply the European market through data centers in Ireland (Dublin) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam). This reduces the attractiveness of cloud providers, especially in the case of medium-sized German businesses. Consultations with IT users consistently show that storing data outside of Germany and an agreement that is based on maximum European law are a no-go.
[Update]: Technical evidence
On the 4th of July 2014 German blogger Nils Jünemann published an article technically referencing on a new AWS region “eu-central-1”. Using a traceroute to “ec2.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com” he proved, that something is available. However, when I traceroute ec2.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com on the 5th of July 2014 the host was unknown.
AWS Portfolio: Slowly reaching the enterprise IT
In addition to the data center site, Amazon has announced AWS CloudTrail last year, the first service to allow companies more control over compliance. AWS CloudTrail helps you monitor and record the AWS API calls to one or more accounts. Here views from the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), from your own applications or third party applications are taken into account. The collected data are stored on either Amazon S3 or Amazon Glacier for evaluation and can be viewed on tools from AWS or external providers. Amazon CloudTrail can be used free of charge. However, costs are associated with storing the data on Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier as well as with Amazon SNS notifications.
AWS CloudTrail is one of the most important services for enterprise customers that Amazon has released in recent times. The collected logs support the compliance with government regulations by allowing recording of all accesses to AWS services. One can operate more successful security audits based on the log data, identifying the precise origin of vulnerabilities and unauthorized or erroneous hits on data.
Enterprise quo vadis?
After establishing itself as a leading infrastructure provider and enabler for startups and new business models in the cloud, the company from Seattle has been trying to get one foot directly in the lucrative business environment for quite some time. However, one question remains open. Will that be enough to achieve a critical mass of German companies in order to evolve from a provider for startups and developers to a serious alternative for IT workloads for business?
Yes, under certain conditions:
- Business related services must be launched simultaneously in all regions and not only in the U.S..
- AWS requires a network of partners in order to reach the mass of attractive German corporate customers.
- The localization of all information, such as white papers, how-to’s and training is critical.
- Less self-service, more managed services and professional services, e.g. through the partner network.
- Reducing complexity by simplifying the use of the scale-out principle.
- Cloud Connectivity for reliable access to the services.
- Avoidance of the service lock-in.
- Strengthening the AWS Marketplace for easier use of scalable standard workloads and applications.
- Consideration of hybrid cloud scenarios and strengthening of the partner Eucalyptus on the private cloud side.
Note on the Eucalyptus partnership: Nearly all Eucalyptus customers should also be AWS customers (Source: Eucalyptus). This means, conversely, that some hybrid cloud infrastructure exists between on-premise Eucalyptus infrastructure and the Amazon public cloud.
The existing question marks: Microsoft and Google
Medium-sized businesses demand from cloud providers that the data are stored in a German data center. About 75 percent consider physical data location a necessity to enforce German law more easily.
After Salesforce, IBM and Amazon are the only remaining major cloud providers who could be expected to make investments in this direction.
About Google, one can unfortunately say that nothing will happen in the near or far future. The DNA and mentality of the company in terms of data location and customer concerns differ too strongly from those of other providers.
At Microsoft, the cards are basically good. However, the Redmond company doesn’t need to play them now. Microsoft is pursuing a different strategy by using the Cloud OS Partner Network for local providers worldwide (e.g. Pironet NDH in Germany), empowering them with the so-called “Azure Pack” to offer an own Microsoft Azure based cloud infrastructure in a hosted model from a local data center.
How the trend of building local data centers will develop remains to be seen. Bottom line is, Germany and especially the location of Frankfurt, among others due to the DE-CIX, are well prepared to take additional international cloud providers. A key finding of this development is that international providers have understood the concerns and are willing to make compromises in the name of what is good for the user.