Amazon Launches AWS India Region: What It Means for Enterprise Cloud Costs

July 18 2016 | by Yoav Mor

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At the end of June, AWS took another step in its rapid global expansion campaign when it officially launched its first infrastructure region in India, as part of a $5 billion investment in the country.

AWS India

CEO Andy Jassy and the AWS team in India. Image source: @aws_gov twitter

The move comes in response to demand from India’s 75,000 existing customers, who are already using other AWS regions, but want a data center in their own backyard—giving them sovereignty over their data and reduced latency. The new AWS region is one of thirteen to date, with additional regions in Canada, China, Ohio and the UK due to come online by the end of the year.

India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and second only to China in terms of population. So it clearly makes commercial sense for AWS to boost its presence in the country and cash in on its burgeoning IT industry.

But how much will the new services cost? And what impact will the move have on the nation’s cloud marketplace? In this post, we consider the implications AWS India will have on enterprise cloud users with operations in the country.

What Services Are Available from AWS India?

Alongside EC2 and related services such as EBS volumes, Auto Scaling and Elastic Load Balancing, the new Mumbai region supports most of the cloud vendor’s other offerings—including S3, RDS, DynamoDB and EMR. However, newer additions to the AWS portfolio, such as IoT, WorkSpaces, Lambda and the EC2 Container Service, have yet to become available. As with the Seoul region, customers have a choice of T2, M4, C4, R3, I2 and D2 instance families.

What’s more, in line with other regions, AWS India users are able to create highly available, fault-tolerant environments by making use of the two availability zones on offer.

What About the Charges?

Each AWS region is an independent cloud marketplace with its own individual pricing. And the new AWS India region is no exception. But, broadly speaking, EC2 prices are in line with its Asia Pacific neighbors of Seoul, Singapore and Sydney.

EBS charges, on the other hand, are amongst the lowest outside the US, with pricing almost identical to the Seoul region. A General Purpose SSD (gp2) volume costs $0.114 per GB-month and EBS Snapshots are charged at $0.095 per GB-month. Standard Storage to S3 is priced at the same usage tier rates as the N. Virginia region.

Are There Any Other Costs?

If your enterprise operates in India and wants to migrate workloads to the country, it will need to bear in mind the cost of moving data between different regions. The cost will depend on which region you migrate your data from. In the case of EC2, for example, transferring data from the Singapore region will set you back $0.09 per GB. By contrast, it costs just $0.02 per GB to move data across from the Frankfurt region.

The cost of data transfer also highlights another important issue that enterprise cloud users face as vendors continually expand their range of services and features. This service enrichment introduces more complexity and calls for even greater visibility over costs to ensure organizations maintain financial control over their own mixture of on-premise and public cloud environments.

The Race Is On

In an emerging market, such as India, it’s critical cloud vendors get a foothold in the market as early as possible. In 2014, IBM did exactly that, stealing a march on its competitors by becoming the first of the big four to open a cloud data center in the country. Microsoft quickly followed suit in 2015 when it opened sites in Pune, Chennai, and Mumbai. Nevertheless, despite lagging behind its rivals in terms of a physical presence, AWS has long been a cloud platform of choice in India for both start-ups and many high-profile companies, such as Tata Motors, NDTV and STAR India.

But existing AWS customers won’t be the only cloud users to welcome the new region. India-based customers of both Azure and IBM will also benefit from the move, through increased competition and the potential for lower prices. Not only that, but the option to use AWS will make it easier for all of India’s cloud users to adopt a multi-vendor cloud strategy, thereby reducing the risk of vendor lock-in.

India is a very different cloud market from that of highly developed nations, as fewer companies have the financial resources to build their own on-premise IT infrastructure. This presents a massive opportunity for all the leading cloud vendors. And now the race is on to become the dominant player in the world’s seventh-largest economy.

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