AWS launches datacentres in Korea

AWS has launched availability in Seoul, extending its cloud computing services into a fifth Asia-Pacific region.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced that it will be launching services for its fifth Asia-Pacific region in Seoul, South Korea, with two availability zones each featuring "one or more datacentres" enabling customers to run low-latency and scalable applications in a more fault-tolerant environment.

"Customers continue to choose AWS as their infrastructure technology platform because we have a lot more functionality than any other cloud provider, a significantly larger partner and customer ecosystem built around AWS, and unmatched maturity, security, and performance," said Andy Jassy, senior vice president for AWS.

"Our Korean customers and partners have asked us to build AWS infrastructure in Korea so that they can run more of their workloads on AWS and approve new initiatives that could change their business and customer experience. We're excited about delivering this to our customers today."

AWS is also working on its cloud computing infrastructure for Korean customers, having partnered with systems integrators such as Bespin Global, Megazone, GS Neotek, and Vsystems to aid enterprises in their migration to AWS, deployment of apps on AWS, and helping to monitor, automate, and manage customers' AWS environments.

Local independent software vendors, including Dreamline, TMAXSoft, IGAWorks, Ahnlab, and Hancom are also working alongside AWS to provide integrated solutions for software, security, and connectivity.

The AWS Educate program is also being taken to eight universities in the region, including Seoul National University, Sogang University, and Yonsei University, in order to provide students with cloud computing training. The program was launched in May 2015, with more than 1,000 Korean students participating since then.

AWS Cloud now operates in 12 regions across the globe, with four additional regions -- the United Kingdom, China, India, and Ohio -- planned for launch this year.

Amazon recently revealed that its AWS unit had carried most of the company's profit for the 2015 fiscal year.

According to Pacific Crest analyst Brent Bracelin, however, AWS' profit margins may fall thanks to the business investing in moving into new regions.

"While AWS did not expand into any new regions during 2015, the company appears poised to add a record four new regions in 2016 across three new countries: The United Kingdom, India, South Korea, and a new Ohio region in the United States," Bracelin said in a research note.

"This should elevate capital expenditures, which could pressure operating margins ... Each region holds increasing importance, considering this year each region on average generates about $715 million of revenue. This average revenue per region has more than doubled in the past two years."

Amazon has yet to report its 2015 fourth-quarter results, but announced in a blog post earlier this week that it would be cutting prices for its C4, M4 and R3 Elastic Compute Cloud by around 5 percent for instances running Linux in the US, Asia-Pacific, and European regions.

These price cuts followed Amazon's announcement earlier this week that it is opening up its corporate cloud-based email and calendar service to general availability almost a year after first announcing WorkMail.

In a blog post by AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr on Monday, Amazon said the preview mode has now finished, with the service generally available in three AWS regions.

"WorkMail's security features and controls ... include location control, encryption of stored data, message scanning for spam and virus protection, and policies and actions for controlling mobile devices," Barr said.

"I am happy to be able to announce that Amazon WorkMail is now generally available in three AWS regions: US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), and Europe (Ireland)."

WorkMail was built as a native back-end support solution for Microsoft Outlook on Windows and Mac OS X, and is able to integrate with several existing corporate directories, including Microsoft Active Directory. Mailboxes can also be synced with iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, BlackBerry 10, and Windows Phone devices using the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol.

All data is SSL-encrypted across Amazon WorkMail, with the service costing $4 per month for each user for 50GB of storage. Up to 25 users in a business can also access a 30-day free trial of the service.

"Customers have repeatedly asked us for a business email and calendaring service that is more cost-effective and simpler to manage than their on-premises solution, more secure than the cloud-based offerings available today, and that is backed by the same best-in-class infrastructure platform on which they're reliably running so many of their current -- and future -- workloads," vice president for AWS Compute Services Peter De Santis said when announcing the service in January 2015.

"We built Amazon WorkMail to address these requests and to help businesses achieve agility and cost savings by letting AWS manage the non-differentiated heavy lifting involved in corporate email and calendaring."

Updated at 10.40am AEDT, January 8: Article originally stated that AWS had launched two datacentres in South Korea; AWS has since clarified that it is actually "two or more" datacentres, as each of the two availability zones contains "one or more" datacentre.


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