Amazon launches second Cloud pad in Asia

Japan-based data centres push up service costs for heavy Linux users

Australia has lost out to Tokyo, Japan in a bid to host data centres as infrastructure for Amazon.com’s Cloud-based Web services. However, data-heavy users of Linux instances are expected to be hit hardest by inflated prices of the new region.

Japan became the fifth region to offer local infrastructure for Amazon.com’s public Cloud services and will form a second Asia Pacific base, complementing existing infrastructure in Singapore.

Services available this week include Amazon.com’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Simple Storage Service (S3) and Relational Database Service (RDS). The virtual private cloud is not yet available outside of US data centres.

The launch of Cloud services in Japan is expected to reduce latency for local companies to under 10 miliseconds. Amazon.com will also provide Japanese language support for available Web services and additional plans to bill in Japanese Yen as well as US currency in coming months.

Several Japanese companies have already begun using the local Web services. Facebook and iOS game developer Zynga - potentially worth up to $US10 billion based on current funding rounds - appears to have been the initial anchor tenant for the Japanese version of Amazon.com’s Cloud services.

However, in the launch of the Japanese data centre, the Web giant’s Cloud division made no mention of a local data centre in Australia, despite staff telling Computerworld Australia the company had been mulling local infrastructure in April last year.

Though Singapore and Japan are typically seen as high-volume business centres in the Asia Pacific region, the company had noted its inability last year to attract financial and government clients concerned about data sovereignty issues.

Recent statistics from analyst firm Telegeography have indicated global IP transit prices to Sydney have collapsed recently, with industry speculating continuing trends could allow global Cloud providers to more competitively market locally from data centres located internationally.

A spokesperson for Amazon.com said the company still retained plans to launch in other regions "over time" but did not reveal a timeline for Australian availability. Recent job postings for regional sales managers and solutions architects for Amazon Web Services in Australia have also led some to speculate that an Australian data centre ploy is in planning.

However, those using the services offered in Japan will take a price hit due to an increase in data transfer and on-demand instance costs. According to a translated form of the Japanese Web services website, the price hikes are a result of a five per cent government tax.

Pricing starts at 10c US for a default Linux instance per hour, 0.5c per hour more expensive than most other regions including Singapore, and 1.5c more expensive than Amazon’s cheapest data centres in North Virginia, United States.

Heavy data transfers are also penalised - Japanese users will pay 1.1c more than Singapore and 5.1c more than other Amazon regions for transferring between one gigabyte and ten terabytes of data per month, and 4.7c more than European and US regions for transferring between 100 and 150 terabytes per month to the company’s servers.

Pricing for on-demand Windows instances remain unchanged compared to Singapore pricing, but those for “spot instances” - or bidding for unused space on Amazon.com infrastructure - has increased slightly.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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