Read time: 3 minutes

Local Zones key to AWS’ Africa growth strategy

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has reiterated its interest in Africa and will continue to deploy Local Zone infrastructure as an easy way for customers to access availability zone resources and services in order to run data-heavy workloads.

AWS describes Local Zones as a new type of infrastructure designed to run workloads that require single-digit millisecond latency, like video rendering and graphics intensive, virtual desktop applications.

These workloads require availability zone resources to run effectively, but, as AWS explains, not every customer wants to operate their own on-premise availability zone, while others may be interested in getting rid of their local availability zone entirely.

Local Zones allow customers to gain all the benefits of having compute and storage resources closer to end-users, without the need to own and operate their own availability zone infrastructure, AWS continues.

The company puts this value in context within the cloud services market, adding that Local Zones place AWS compute, storage, database, and other services at the edge of the cloud near large population, industry, and IT centres.

“AWS Local Zones allow customers to use core AWS services locally while seamlessly connecting to the rest of their workloads running in AWS Regions with the same elasticity, pay-as-you-go model, application programming interfaces (APIs), and toolsets,” the company states.

AWS asserts that more regions require ultra-low latencies with AWS infrastructure closer to the end-user to support a more seamless cloud experience.

That is why, with a datacentre already in place in Cape Town, the company officially established an AWS Local Zone in South Africa’s Mother City, and declared Johannesburg as the next AWS Local Zone location.

“The new AWS Local Zone in Johannesburg is a continuation of our investment to support customers of all kinds and our commitment to accelerate innovation by bringing cloud infrastructure to more locations in the country. We know that delivering ultra-low latency applications for a seamless user experience matters in every business and industry, so we are excited to bring the edge of the cloud closer to more customers in South Africa to help meet their requirements,” the company adds.

AWS Local Zones will empower more public and private organisations, innovative start-ups, and AWS partners to deliver a new generation of leading edge, low-latency applications to end users. Customers can take advantage of the cost savings, scalability, and high availability that AWS provides.

Chris Erasmus, commercial sector leader for AWS in South Africa believes this new Local Zone will further entrench cloud capability and advantage to an economy that desperately needs to grow.

“We know that speed and user experience matter in business, so we are excited to bring the cloud closer to more customers in South Africa to help meet this demand,” says Erasmus. “AWS Local Zones will empower more public and private organisations, innovative start-ups, and AWS partners to deliver a new generation of leading-edge, low-latency applications to end-users, taking advantage of the cost savings, scalability, and high availability that AWS provides.”

AWS has also launched a Local Zone in Kenya, one of 32 to be launched in 26 countries beginning this year.

But how does it work in practice?

AWS explains: “For example, Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 190 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries, and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Netflix has many artists and content creators who can benefit from bringing the on-premises infrastructure they use day-to-day to the cloud. However, every second counts, especially when it comes to the time it takes to compile and render 3D models and animations. For some time, Netflix have wanted to move these artists' workstations to AWS in order to take advantage of the performance, elasticity, and cost benefits of the cloud. However, due to the interactive nature of these applications, the artists need very low latency access to their workstations to have a good working experience.”

“AWS Local Zones, which bring cloud resources closer to our artists, have been a game-changer for these applications. By taking advantage of access to AWS' highly performant and cost-effective compute resources, Netflix has been able to migrate portions of our content creation process to AWS Local Zones, while ensuring an even better experience for artists.”

AWS confirmed it is unable to furnish details about the costs or resources involved in establishing Local Zones, but is confident of its value-add to markets. 

Daily newsletter