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Amazon set to shake up Australian cloud market

In a move that has been expected by local commentators for quite some time, Amazon Web Services -- the cloud computing arm of Amazon.com -- overnight announced that customers can now access AWS services through an Asia Pacific (Sydney) Region.

AWS revealed that the new Sydney Region consists of two availability zones; Amazon's term for operationally discrete data centres.

Cloud services available from the Sydney region include EC2, EBS, S3, and Amazon RDS.

According to AWS, overall Amazon's cloud computing service has more than 10,000 customers in Australia and New Zealand. These customers include the Commonwealth bank, financial software company MYOB, Qantas subsidiary, digital marketing business REA Group and mobile gaming studio Halfbrick.

AWS senior vice-president Andy Jassy said that the Sydney data centre will offer single-digit millisecond latency to local customers.

Amazon currently has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, and the company said it will open a local technical support operation for AWS in early 2013.

The new Region is likely to "have a positive impact on Amazon's ability to attract customers concerned about offshore cloud services," said Telsyte senior analyst Rodney Gedda. "However, just providing local hosting is unlikely to win over companies who are not interested in handing over sensitive data to a third-party, whether it is a US-owned company or not."

The new Amazon data centres mean that organisations in the financial and government sectors might be more willing to move to the cloud, Gedda said. "Organisations in these sectors are already using offshore cloud services for various workloads so this announcement should break down any barriers relating to data location."

However, concerns around data sovereignty and control "don't go away so easily and require a more holistic strategy", Gedda cautioned.

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