AWS launches fresh challenges to on-prem hardware vendors

Offers alternative to vanilla servers and recruits world's biggest tech distributors to push hybrid storage appliance

Amazon Web Services has launched two significant challenges to on-prem hardware.

One is the addition of Dedicated Hosts to its on-prem cloud-in-a-box Outposts product.

Outposts see AWS drop a rack full of kit, or individual servers, onto customers' premises. AWS manages that hardware, which is designed to run its own cloud services such as the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) on-prem.

AWS slices and dices its physical hardware into many different virtual server configurations, either in its cloud or on Outposts. But EC2 also allows customers to rent Dedicated Hosts that AWS describes as "a physical server fully dedicated for your use."

As of June 1, Dedicated Hosts can run on Outposts – meaning AWS effectively offers standalone on-prem servers. They're not quite bare metal, because Dedicated Hosts ship with a hypervisor. But they're otherwise just servers that customers can configure as they choose, rather than being confined to the possibilities offered by EC2 instance types.

AWS suggests Dedicated Hosts to make software licenses more portable. Many software vendors charge by the server, socket, or core for on-prem products, but offer different terms when their wares run in a public cloud. Because Dedicated Hosts aren't abstracted into EC2 instances, applying those licenses is possible.

AWS still manages the Outposts hardware employed as Dedicated Hosts, meaning this isn't quite AWS just renting an on-prem server – but it's very, very, close.

Another move that brings AWS closer to pre-cloud computing is its decision to offer its on-prem Storage Gateway Hardware Appliance for sale through real-world resellers.

The Gateway devices serve as local storage and sync to the Amazonian cloud. They can present as a single logical storage resource, spanning the on-prem box and AWS storage services.

Distribution giant TD Synnex has picked up the product, meaning its tens of thousands of resellers can offer the AWS box.

Selling the Gateways through the channel means AWS has the muscle to challenge on-prem storage vendors like never before. And bringing Dedicated Hosts into Outposts means AWS has an offering that challenges server vendors in their own backyards. ®

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