AWS EMEA chief: Outposts not 'top of agenda' for UK companies

Speaking to Computerworld during the AWS re:invent conference in Las Vegas this week, Andy Isherwood, MD for the EMEA region, spoke about early interest in the vendor's hybrid cloud option Outposts, the impact of the Capital One breach and what's on his agenda for the new year

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The head of the EMEA region for Amazon Web Services (AWS) says that its new hybrid cloud option isn't "top of the agenda" for UK customers but it is piquing interest in Switzerland.

Launched at the same conference last year, Outposts involves AWS delivering configured hardware and software to a customer's on-premise data centre or co-location space to run applications in a cloud-native manner without having to run it in AWS data centres.

Now generally available, Outposts was aimed at customers who have workloads they aren't quite ready to shift to the public cloud yet, be it for data residency, latency or other more cultural reasons.

"There is probably more excitement [in Outposts] in those countries where there isn't a region. So when I think about the financial services companies I speak to in the UK, I wouldn't say Outposts was top of the agenda. If I was in Switzerland: very much top of the agenda," Andy Isherwood, MD for AWS in EMEA told Computerworld during the AWS re:invent conference in Las Vegas this week.

"That's not to say there isn't the interest in the UK but it is slightly different with that region on their doorstep with three availability zones and the capability is there, so the data sovereignty issues just don't exist in the same way. We're seeing a lot of interest and if I look across EMEA, the uptake will be pretty significant," he added.

Read next: AWS gets serious about hybrid cloud with Outposts, so who is it for?

He does admit that some organisations will take longer than others to move everything to the cloud, which, after all, is the overarching goal for AWS as a business.

"It will take some organisations longer to move all of their workloads; my question is are people moving quickly enough or are they creating barriers they don't need to create? I see companies that just smash the barriers down," he said.

UK priorities

Long-time UK leader for AWS Gavin Jackson left the organisation in the summer to join the robotic process automation (RPA) vendor UiPath. Since then, company veteran Darren Mowery has been placed as the UK MD for AWS, officially taking the role in July.

"The structure is pretty similar and we continue to invest heavily in what is a big market and are continuing the work that Gavin started," Isherwood said.

He went on to echo what AWS CEO Andy Jassy said in his keynote regarding the overall market opportunity for the company: "What you have to remember is that we are only just starting this journey and people think because we have been around since 2006 the cloud market is near capacity, but as Andy [Jassy] said yesterday we are probably addressing 2-3 percent of the market, so this is just the start," he said.

This means a big chunk of Isherwood's job is talking to large enterprises that need that final push to move key workloads to the cloud.

"Many companies have 2-3,000, up to 7,000 applications they need to think about moving and you can't do all of those at once but you can a lot quicker than they think," he said. "They are only constrained by their inability to think big."

Isherwood pointed to the example of Goldman Sachs, which launched a consumer facing digital savings proposition called Marcus in the UK last year using AWS.

Read next: How Goldman Sachs brought Marcus to the UK using AWS

"Those ideas still have to come from the business and what we do more of is you need more education to enable the business to think about what cloud can do," Isherwood added.

Capital One fallout?

Lastly, when asked if any of his big financial services clients in the UK voiced concerns over the recent Capital One breach – which saw software engineer and former AWS employee Paige Thompson arrested for hacking a cloud server containing the personal data of over 100 million people who had filed credit card applications – Isherwood said he "didn't get one phone call."

"Transparency is super important and one of our key things is to build trust and be transparent and be completely data driven and that is what we preach and live and breathe," he added.

Speaking to the press this week, Jassy also confronted the topic in more general terms, stating that: "If you listen to what Capital One shared after it happened, this was something that could have happened on premises or in the cloud cloud and if you misconfigure a web application firewall that has relatively permissive permissions you have a chance to have an issue.

"I don't think this has shaken people's confidence in any way in the cloud and we continue to see customers go full steam ahead."

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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