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Partner products now certified for AWS Outposts

AWS has brought more than 30 certified partner software products into the mix for Outposts, the on-premises version of its public cloud.

Customers of AWS Outposts can now choose to deploy more than 30 partner products that have been certified to run on it, bringing a fuller-fledged version of the company's public cloud to the on-premises appliances.

AWS Outposts, which became generally available in December, is a fully managed appliance that sits inside customer data centers and runs a subset of AWS public cloud capabilities, including Elastic Kubernetes Service and Amazon RDS.

Offerings from AWS partners than span storage, security, networking and other technical areas have been tested and certified to run on Outpost racks, AWS said. The list includes HashiCorp Terraform, Confluent, New Relic, NetApp, Veritas, Commvault and Citrix.

Outposts is aimed at customers that need to keep certain applications and data on-premises to meet compliance, security and latency needs. It ties into a general trend of bringing public cloud services on-premises, and competes with the likes of Microsoft's Azure Stack, IBM Cloud Private and the recently released Oracle Cloud@Customer Dedicated Regions.

The Outpost racks require a continuous connection to an AWS public cloud region for management purposes, unlike other AWS products such as Snowball Edge, which can run compute with low or no connectivity for edge applications. An Enterprise Support plan is required for Outposts, which are built with proprietary AWS hardware.

This is a departure from competing products, as IBM Cloud Private supports a variety of hardware partners. Azure Stack falls somewhere in between, as initially Microsoft said customers could choose their own servers, network and storage, but subsequently decided to work with several hardware providers on a packaged software and hardware appliance to ensure a consistent user experience.

Still to come is VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts, which AWS announced in December at the re:Invent conference. That product, which seeks to piggyback on the popular VMWare Cloud on AWS public cloud service, could be a focus of this year's conference, which begins Nov. 30.

The addition of certified partner software for Outposts could help persuade more customers to adopt the platform. Through a spokesman, AWS declined to say how many Outposts customers there are, and how many are in production.

AWS continues to handle management and support for Outposts racks and its own software. The company's teams deliver, install, monitor, patch and upgrade the systems for customers. But validated third-party software on Outposts will be supported by the vendor offering it, according to the spokesman.

Enterprises need stuff to work and not have the old issues of integrating their 'mess' on premises.
Holger MuellerVice president and principal analyst, Constellation Research

The new partner product certifications for Outposts are part of AWS's existing Service Ready program. Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, said they should be welcomed by customers who have Outposts or are considering a purchase.

"Enterprises need stuff to work and not have the old issues of integrating their 'mess' on premises," he said. "It's good for enterprises, as they know things will work together well and have been tested. If you are an early adopter [of a third-party product] there is risk, but at least the vendor has tested the partner in a lab and it doesn't happen all at a customer's site and on a customer's dime."

The benefits are at least twofold for AWS, given it controls which software gains certification on Outposts and can lead to successful outcomes for customers, he added. AWS also generates revenue from partner programs such as this, and gets help selling Outposts as a related benefit.

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