All Things Distributed is written by the world-famous Amazon CTO Werner Vogels. His blog is a must-read for anyone who uses AWS. He publishes sophisticated posts about specific AWS services and keeps his readers up-to-date on the latest AWS news.
Last year, I spent some time in Jakarta visiting HARA, an AWS customer. They've created a way to connect small farms in developing nations to banks and distributers of goods, like seeds, fertilizer, and tools. Traditionally, rural farms have been ignored by the financial world, because they don't normally have the information required to open an account or apply for credit. With HARA, this hard-to-obtain data on small farms is collected and authenticated, giving these farmers access to resources they've never had before.
A major component to the system that HARA created is blockchain. This is a technology used to build applications where multiple parties can interact through a peer-to-peer-network and record immutable transactions with no central trusted authority. HARA has had to develop additional technologies to make their application work on Ethereum, a popular, open source, blockchain framework.
Today, I am happy to introduce the new AWS Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) Region. AWS customers can now use this Region to serve their end users in Hong Kong SAR at a lower latency, and to comply with any data locality requirements.
The AWS Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) Region is the eighth active AWS Region in Asia Pacific and mainland China along with Beijing, Mumbai, Ningxia, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo. With this launch, AWS now spans 64 Availability Zones within 21 geographic regions around the world, and has announced plans for 12 more Availability Zones and four more AWS Regions in Bahrain, Cape Town, Jakarta, and Milan.
Today, I am excited to announce our plans to open a new AWS Region in Indonesia! The new AWS Asia Pacific (Jakarta) Region will be composed of three Availability Zones, and will give AWS customers and partners the ability to run workloads and store data in Indonesia.
The AWS Asia Pacific (Jakarta) Region will be our ninth Region in Asia Pacific. It joins existing Regions in Beijing, Mumbai, Ningxia, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo, as well as an upcoming Region in Hong Kong SAR. AWS customers are already using 61 Availability Zones across 20 infrastructure Regions worldwide. Today's announcement brings the total number of global Regions (operational and announced) up to 25.
At re:Invent 2018, AWS announced the AWS App Mesh public preview, a service mesh that allows you to easily monitor and control communications across applications. Today, I'm happy to announce that App Mesh is generally available for use by customers.
New architectural patterns
Many customers are modernizing their existing applications to become more agile and innovate faster. Architectural patterns like microservices enable teams to independently test services and continuously deliver changes to applications. This approach optimizes team productivity by allowing development teams to experiment and iterate faster. It also allows teams to rapidly scale how they build and run their applications.
As you build new services that all need to work together as an application, they need ways to connect, monitor, control, and debug the communication across the entire application. Examples of such capabilities include service discovery, application-level metrics and logs, traces to help debug traffic patterns, traffic shaping, and the ability to secure communication between services.
You often have to build communication management logic into SDKs and require it to be used by each development team. However, as an application grows and as the number of teams increase, providing these capabilities consistently across services becomes complex and time-consuming overhead.
Our goal is to automate and abstract the communications infrastructure that underpins every modern application, allowing teams to focus on building business logic and innovating faster.
Relational databases have been around for a long time. The relational model of data was pioneered back in the 1970s by E.F. Codd. The core technologies underpinning the major relational database management systems of today were developed in the 1980–1990s. Relational database fundamentals, including data relationships, ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) transactions, and the SQL query language, have stood the test of time. Those fundamentals helped make relational databases immensely popular with users everywhere. They remain a cornerstone of IT infrastructure in many companies.
This is not to say that a system administrator necessarily enjoys dealing with relational databases. For decades, managing a relational database has been a high-skill, labor-intensive task. It's a task that requires the undivided attention of dedicated system and database administrators. Scaling a relational database while maintaining fault tolerance, performance, and blast radius size (the impact of a failure) has been a persistent challenge for administrators.
At the same time, modern internet workloads have become more demanding and require several essential properties from infrastructure:
Users want to start with a small footprint and then grow massively without infrastructure limiting their velocity.
In large systems, failures are a norm, not an exception. Customer workloads must be insulated from component failures or face system failures.
Small blast radius. No one wants a single system failure to have a large impact on their business.
These are hard problems, and solving them requires breaking away from old-guard relational database architectures. When Amazon was faced with the limitations of old-guard relational databases like Oracle, we created a modern relational database service, Amazon Aurora.
Aurora's design preserves the core transactional consistency strengths of relational databases. It innovates at the storage layer to create a database built for the cloud that can support modern workloads without sacrificing performance. Customers love this because Aurora provides the performance and availability of commercial grade databases at 1/10th the cost. Since Aurora's original release, it has been the fastest-growing service in the history of AWS.
In this post, I'd like to give you a peek under the hood at how we built Aurora. I'll also discuss why customers are adopting it faster than any other service in AWS history.
In April 2017, Amazon Web Services announced that it would launch a new AWS infrastructure region Region in Sweden. Today, I'm happy to announce that the AWS Europe (Stockholm) Region, our 20th Region globally, is now generally available for use by customers.
The AWS Europe (Stockholm) Region is our fifth European Region, joining Dublin, Frankfurt, London, and Paris. With this launch, AWS now provides 60 Availability Zones, with another 12 zones and four Regions expected to come online by 2020 in Bahrain, Cape Town, Hong Kong, and Milan.
Starting today, developers, startups, and enterprises—as well as government, education, and non-profit organizations—can use the new AWS Europe (Stockholm) Region. They can run applications in Sweden, serve end users across the Nordics with lower latency, and leverage advanced technologies such as containers, serverless computing, and more.
The opening of the AWS Europe (Stockholm) Region adds to our continued investments in Sweden and across the Nordics region, which also includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway. Over the last five years, we have expanded our physical presence in the Nordics, opening offices in Copenhagen, Espoo, Helsinki, Oslo, and Stockholm. We launched Edge Network locations in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Today, we add to that presence with an infrastructure Region in Stockholm with three Availability Zones.
All across the Nordics, AWS technologies are fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and experimentation, helping to grow the next generation of Nordic enterprises. In 2013, AWS launched the AWS Activate program to provide Nordic startups access to guidance and one-on-one time with AWS experts. We also provided web-based training, self-paced labs, customer support, third-party offers, and up to $100,000 in AWS service credits–all at no charge.
In 2018, we launched the first Pop-Up Loft in Stockholm, offering a co-working space and access to technology and business experts to support the growth of Nordic organizations. In addition, we are working with the venture capital community, startup accelerators, and incubators to help startups grow in the cloud. Across the Nordics, we work with Atomico, Creandum, EQT Ventures Nordic Makers, Northzone, and SUP46, in order to support the rapid growth of their portfolio companies.
Organizations across the Nordics are moving their mission-critical workloads to the AWS Cloud to drive cost savings, accelerate innovation, and speed time-to-market, including enterprise customers like:
Aktia Bank, Ambita, Arriva, ASSA ABLOY, Bonnier, Basware, Cargotec, Den Norske Bank, F-Secure, Finnair, Fortum, Gelato, Husqvarna, Icelandair, IKEA, Modern Times Group, Nokia, Scania, Schibsted, SOK, Stockmann Oyj, Telenor Connexion, Telia, Tine SA, TopDanmark, Unibet, Visma, Volvo Group Connected Solutions, VR (Finnish Rail), WirelessCar, Wärtsilä, and XXL.
We are also enabling some of the Nordics' most successful startups and gaming companies, such as:
Public sector customers, such as VR (Finnish Rail), the government-owned railway in Finland, rely on AWS to support their move from on-premises infrastructure. For VR, this is a journey that is already one-third complete and expected to be finished by the end of 2019.
"We are in the middle of the biggest transformation of our company," says Antti Kleemola, Chief Digital Officer of VR Group. "We are preparing for the opening of competition on rails in Finland and at the same time the industry is going through transformation to mobility as a service for both passengers and goods. Winning in this race requires that we become much more customer oriented, much more efficient in all of our operations, and at the same time shift our culture towards more lean and experimental. For this, the public cloud forms the basic backend for doing all of this and our choice for all of our own digital products and customer experience is AWS."
Hemnet is Sweden's largest real estate listings site with more than 2.8 million unique visitors and 26 million searches made every week. Ninety-one percent of all private properties on the real estate market are listed on Hemnet.
Hemnet started using AWS more than three years ago and has now moved all of their applications and services to AWS to innovate faster and save IT costs. With Auto Scaling, Hemnet has been able to cut costs by up to 50 percent for some of their instances. In addition, Hemnet's developers can now spin up temporary clones of Hemnet's entire application stack in just a few minutes. Shortening the feedback loop between the developer and the product owners leads ultimately to the faster development of new services.
WirelessCar, based in Gothenburg, Sweden, is a provider of connected vehicle services. They support more than 3.3 million vehicles in more than 75 countries with services like car locator, engine remote start, driving journal, heater start, and stolen vehicle tracking.
They are using AWS to automatically scale up and down their connected car services on-demand, as well as to drastically reduce their time-to-market for new services. WirelessCar is also using a host of AWS security services to ensure that the data it collects for its customers is secure, and also that the services the company offers are reliable as well.
Supercell is a mobile game developer, based in Helsinki, Finland, with over 100 million people playing their games every single day. They are responsible for some of the highest grossing mobile games in history, including Clash of Clans, Hay Day, Boom Beach, and Clash Royale.
They rely on the AWS Cloud for their entire infrastructure and use almost every AWS service available. We help Supercell to quickly develop, deploy, and scale their games to cope with varying numbers of gamers accessing the system throughout the course of the day.
Using the AWS Cloud, Supercell is able to reduce the risk and cost of failure in developing new games. They cancelled 14 games that they felt weren't good enough to take to market, and moved four others forward, some of which have become some of the highest grossing mobile gaming titles in history.
Vivino has brought AI technology to the world of wine and is all-in on AWS. Using the app, users take a picture of the label of the wine they are drinking with their smartphone camera. The app then locates the wine, and provides user reviews, ratings, food matching recommendations, average pricing, and purchase options for every bottle.
Vivino was founded in 2010 and now has more than 20 million users worldwide and offices in four countries across three continents. Today, users have easy access to a library of 10 million wines and in turn, contribute 300,000 ratings on average every single day. Vivino also uses Auto Scaling to deal with the large seasonal fluctuations in traffic. During the winter holiday season, the use of the app increases by up to 300% and AWS allows them to seamlessly scale up to cope with the increase in traffic.
Telenor Connexion is a part of one of the world's largest mobile telecommunications companies, Telenor. They started using AWS in 2014 after a decision to move away from outsourcing without having to build on-premises infrastructure, in an initiative to restart innovation in-house after a hiatus spanning several years.
Telenor Connexion is all-in on AWS. They are primarily using the services for two main platforms. The first platform is a real time, big data platform being used for analyzing traffic usage patterns to identify congestion and connectivity issues. The second platform is a managed IoT cloud with customer-facing applications and data management, which went live in 2016.
The partnership with AWS has enabled Telenor Connexion to change the way the company does business. After the move to the AWS Cloud, the company now has a way to develop and test solutions quickly and at a low cost. If the solution works as envisioned, Telenor Connexion can easily deploy it to production and scale as needed without an investment in hardware.
Our AWS Europe (Stockholm) Region is open for business now. We are excited to offer a comprehensive portfolio of services, from foundational technologies such as compute, storage, and networking to more advanced services such as containers and serverless computing. We look forward to continuing to broaden this portfolio with more services in the future.
People often ask me if developing for the cloud is any different from developing on-premises software. It really is. In this post, I show some of the reasons why that's true, using the Amazon Redshift team and the approach they have taken to improve the performance of their data warehousing service as an example. The Amazon Redshift team has delivered remarkable gains using a few simple engineering techniques:
Leveraging fleet telemetry
Verifying benchmark claims
Optimizing performance for bursts of user activity
Leveraging fleet telemetry
The biggest difference between developing for the cloud and developing on-premises software is that in the cloud, you have much better access to how your customers are using your services.
Every week, the Amazon Redshift team performs a scan of their fleet and generates a Jupyter notebook showing an aggregate view of customer workloads. They don't collect the specific queries, just generic information such as the operation, count, duration, and plan shape. This yields hundreds of millions of data samples. I picked a few graphs to demonstrate, showing frequency, duration, and query plan for both SELECT and INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE statements.
Looking at the graphs, you can see that customers run almost as many INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE statements on their Amazon Redshift data warehouses as they do SELECT. Clearly, they're updating their systems far more frequently than they did on-premises, which changes the nature of engineering problems the team needs to prioritize.
You can also see that runtime roughly follows a power law distribution—even though the vast majority of queries run in under 100 ms, the aggregate time in each bucket is about the same. Each week, the team's job is to find something that shifts the durations left and aggregate time down by looking at query shapes to find the largest opportunities for improvement.
Doing so has yielded impressive results over the past year. On a fleet-wide basis, repetitive queries are 17x faster, deletes are 10x faster, single-row inserts are 3x faster, and commits are 2x faster. I picked these examples because they aren't operations that show up in standard data warehousing benchmarks, yet are meaningful parts of customer workloads.
These sorts of gains aren't magic—just disciplined engineering incrementally improving performance by 5-10% with each patch. Over just the past 6 months, these gains have resulted in a 3.5x increase in Amazon Redshift's query throughput. So, small improvements add up. The key is knowing what to improve.
Verifying benchmark claims
I believe that making iterative improvements based on trends observed from fleet telemetry data is the best way to improve customer experience. That said, it is important to monitor benchmarks that help customers compare one cloud data warehousing vendor to another.
I've noticed a troubling trend in vendor benchmarking claims over the past year. Below, I show measurements on comparable hardware for Amazon Redshift and three other vendors who have been recently claiming order-of-magnitude better performance and pricing. As you see later, the reality is different from their claims. Amazon Redshift is up to 16 times faster and up to eight times cheaper than the other vendors.
Note: $/Yr for Amazon Redshift is based on the 1-year Reserved Instance price
It is important, when providing performance data, to use queries derived from industry standard benchmarks such as TPC-DS, not synthetic workloads skewed to show cherry-picked queries. It is important to show both, cases where you're better as well as ones where you're behind.
Note: You need valid AWS credentials to access the public S3 data. Script users should update the DDL file with their own AWS keys to load the TPC-DS data.
Optimizing performance for bursts of user activity
Another significant difference between on-premises systems and the cloud is the abundance of available resources. A typical data warehouse has significant variance in concurrent query usage over the course of a day. It is more cost-effective to add resources just for the period during which they are required rather than provisioning to peak demand.
Concurrency Scaling is a new feature in Amazon Redshift that adds transient capacity when needed, to handle heavy demand from concurrent users and queries. Due to the performance improvements discussed above, 87% of current customers don't have any significant queue wait times and don't need concurrency beyond what their main cluster provides. The remaining 13% have bursts in concurrent demand, averaging 10 minutes at a time.
With the new feature, Amazon Redshift automatically spins up a cluster for the period during which increased concurrency causes queries to wait in the queue. For every 24 hours that your main cluster is in use, you accrue a one-hour credit for Concurrency Scaling. These means that Concurrency Scaling is free for more than 97% of customers.
For any usage that exceeds accrued credits at the end of the month, customers are billed on a per-second basis. This ensures that customers not only get consistently fast performance, but also predictable month-to-month costs, even during periods of high demand variability. In the following diagram, see how the throughput of queries derived from the TPC-H benchmark goes up as the number of concurrent users increase and Amazon Redshift adds transient clusters.
Concurrency Scaling is a good example of how the Amazon Redshift team is able to leverage the elasticity of cloud resources to automatically scale capacity as needed. For Amazon Redshift customers, this results in consistently fast performance for all users and workloads, even with thousands of concurrent queries.
Concurrency Scaling is launching soon. You can sign up for the preview to receive an email notification when the feature is available for you to try. I hope to see you at re:Invent 2018, where you can hear more about Amazon Redshift's performance optimization techniques and how they are helping AWS customers reduce their analysts' time-to-insight.
Today, I am happy to announce our plans to open a new AWS Region in Italy! The AWS Europe (Milan) Region is the 25th AWS Region that we've announced globally. It's the sixth AWS Region in Europe, joining existing regions in France, Germany, Ireland, the UK, and the new Region that we recently announced in Sweden. The AWS Europe (Milan) Region will have three Availability Zones and be ready for customers in early 2020.
Currently we have 57 Availability Zones across 19 technology infrastructure Regions. As of this announcement, another five AWS Regions and 15 Availability Zones are coming over the next year in Bahrain, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, South Africa, and Sweden. We are continuing to work to open additional Regions all over the world where our customers need them the most.
Organizations across Italy have been using the AWS Cloud for over a decade, using AWS Regions located outside of Italy. This has led us to steadily increase our investment in Italy. We needed to serve our growing base of startup, government, and enterprise customers across many vertical industries, including automotive, financial services, media and entertainment, high technology, education, and energy.
In 2012, Amazon opened its first Italian office and its first Italian point of presence (PoP) based in Milan. Since then, AWS has added another PoP in Palermo in 2017. We have offices in Rome and Milan, where we continue to help Italian customers of all sizes move to the AWS Cloud. In Italy, we employ local teams of account managers, solutions architects, business development managers, partner managers, professional services consultants, technology evangelists, start-up community developers, marketing managers, and many more.
Some of the largest enterprises and public sector organizations in Italy are using AWS to build innovations and power their businesses, drive cost savings, accelerate innovation, and speed time-to-market. This includes:
Enterprises such as Decysion, Docebo, Eataly, Edizioni Conde Nast, ENEL, Ferrero, GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, Imperia & Monferrina, Lamborghini, Mediaset, Navionics, Pirelli, Pixartprinting, SEAT Pagine Gialle, Tagetik Software, and Vodafone Italy.
Public sector customers such as A2A Smart City, City of Cagliari, Corte dei Conti, Istituto Centrale per i Beni Sonori ed Audiovisivi, Madisoft, National Institute for Astrophysics, National Institute of Molecular Genetics, Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico Torino, Regione Autonoma Sardegna, UniNettuno, and Università degli Studi di Cagliari.
Lamborghini, the world-famous manufacturer of elite, luxury sports cars based in Italy, has been using AWS to reduce the cost of their infrastructure by 50 percent, while also achieving better performance and scalability. Today, their time-to-market is close to zero. The Lamborghini website was being hosted on outdated infrastructure when the company decided to boost their online presence to coincide with the launch of their Aventador J sports car. When evaluating the different options, Lamborghini looked at an on-premises data center, which was costly; a local hosting provider, which did not offer scalability; and cloud computing with AWS. The company decided it wanted the scalability, flexibility, and cost benefits of working in the cloud. By moving to AWS, Lamborghini was able to prepare the development and test environment in a couple of days. The website went online in less than one month and was able to support a 250 percent increase in traffic around the launch of the Aventador J.
ENEL is one of the leading energy operators in the world. ENEL is using AWS to transform its entire business, closing all of their data centers by 2018, migrating workloads from over 6,000 on-premises servers onto AWS in nine months, and using AWS IoT services to better manage and understand energy consumption.
Seat Pagine Gialle Italia is an Italian media company most famous for producing the Yellow and White Pages directories. Since first launching in 1925, Seat Pagine Gialle has been looking to help companies to market themselves better, and has branched out from telephone directories. They now offer street maps, online advertising, mobile and web content creation, and ecommerce services.
Seat Pagine Gialle currently hosts over 100,000 websites while serving the needs of over 12.5 million households and over 3 million businesses in Italy. To meet such large traffic numbers, they need a technology infrastructure that is secure, reliable, and flexible. Seat Pagine Gialle is working to move their technology infrastructure to AWS. Seat Pagine Gialle is now able to scale its infrastructure, and at the same time reduce operational costs by 50 percent. This helps support over 50 million searches every month on its networks across Italy.
GEDI Gruppo Editoriale is an Italian multimedia giant that publishes some of the largest circulation newspapers in Italy, including La Repubblica and La Stampa. They are the trusted source of news for millions of Italians. Using AWS has allowed them to scale up and down whenever their news cycles require it, allowing them to deliver the news to readers when it is needed the most.
A great example of this comes from the Italian general elections in March 2018 where they experienced the highest peak traffic ever for Repubblica.it. On that day, they had over 80 million pageviews and 18.8 million unique visits. Instead of spending all their resources on making sure that the website was available, La Repubblica was able to provide their readers with continuous special election-day coverage with real-time data of elections results.
AWS also has a vibrant partner ecosystem in Italy as part of the AWS Partner Network (APN). This includes system integration (SI) and independent software vendor (ISV) partners who have built cloud practices and innovative technology solutions using AWS.
APN SIs working in Italy include Accenture, BeSharp, Capgemini, Claranet, CloudReach, Deloitte, DXC, NTT Data, Sopra Steria, Storm Reply, Techedge, XPeppers and Zero12. They help enterprise and public sector customers migrate to the AWS Cloud, deploy mission-critical applications, and provide a full range of monitoring, automation, and management services for customer's AWS environments. Some of our Italian ISV partners include Avantune, Docebo, Doxee, Tagetik Software, and TeamSystem.
We are also focused on supporting start-up companies across Italy. In 2013, we launched a dedicated program called AWS Activate. This program gives startups access to guidance and one-on-one time with AWS experts. We also give them web-based training, self-paced labs, customer support, third-party offers, and up to $100,000 in AWS service credits—all at no charge. This is in addition to the work AWS already does with the venture capital community, startup accelerators, and incubators to help startups grow in the cloud.
To support the rapid growth of their portfolio companies, we also work with accelerator organizations such as H-Farm, Nana Bianca, and PoliHub and VC firms like United Ventures and P101. Startup customers have built their businesses on top of AWS, including Beintoo, brumbrum, DoveConviene, Ennova, FattureinCloud, Musement, Musixmatch, Prima Assicurazioni, Satispay, SixthContinent, Spreaker, and Wyscout.
The new AWS Europe (Milan) Region—together with our portfolio of existing European Regions in France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK—will provide customers in Italy and across EMEA with highly reliable, scalable, secure, fast, and low-latency access to the powerful and innovative capabilities of the AWS Cloud.
Today, I'm happy to announce that the AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region, our 19th global infrastructure Region, is now available for use by customers in the US. With this launch, AWS now provides 57 Availability Zones, with another 12 zones and four Regions in Bahrain, Cape Town, Hong Kong SAR, and Stockholm expected to come online by 2020.
The AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region is our second AWS GovCloud (US) Region, joining AWS GovCloud (US-West) to further help US government agencies, the contractors that serve them, and organizations in highly regulated industries move more of their workloads to the AWS Cloud by implementing a number of US government-specific regulatory requirements.
Similar to the AWS GovCloud (US-West), the AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region provides three Availability Zones and meets the stringent requirements of the public sector and highly regulated industries, including being operated on US soil by US citizens. It is accessible only to vetted US entities and AWS account root users, who must confirm that they are US citizens or US permanent residents. The AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region is located in the eastern part of the United States, providing customers with a second isolated Region in which to run mission-critical workloads with lower latency and high availability.
In 2011, AWS was the first cloud provider to launch an isolated infrastructure Region designed to meet the stringent requirements of government agencies and other highly regulated industries when it opened the AWS GovCloud (US-West) Region. The new AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region also meets the top US government compliance requirements, including:
Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Moderate and High baselines
US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) Low, Moderate, and High baselines
Department of Justice's Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy
Department of Defense (DoD) Impact Levels 2, 4, and 5
The AWS GovCloud (US) environments also conform to commercial security and privacy standards such as:
Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security
System and Organization Controls (SOC) 1, 2, and 3
ISO/IEC27001, ISO/IEC 27017, ISO/IEC 27018, and ISO/IEC 9001 compliance, which are primarily for healthcare, life sciences, medical devices, automotive, and aerospace customers
Some of the largest organizations in the US public sector, as well as the education, healthcare, and financial services industries, are using AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. They appreciate the reduced latency, added redundancy, data durability, resiliency, greater disaster recovery capability, and the ability to scale across multiple Regions. This includes US government agencies and companies such as:
The US Department of Treasury, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Adobe, Blackboard, Booz Allen Hamilton, Drakontas, Druva, ECS, Enlighten IT, General Dynamics Information Technology, GE, Infor, JHC Technology, Leidos, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Novetta, PowerDMS, Raytheon, REAN Cloud, a Hitachi Vantara company, SAP NS2, and Smartronix.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for providing vital services like healthcare to America's veterans. It enjoys the flexibility and cost savings of AWS while they efficiently innovate to better serve US military veterans. By using AWS, they have been able to provide a more streamlined experience to veterans, giving them faster, easier access to benefits, healthcare, and other essential services through vets.gov.
Raytheon, one of the world's leading providers of technology for mission-critical defense systems, is using the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions to comply with a wide range of government regulations. By using AWS, they have been able to reduce the time to build, test, and scale software from weeks to hours.
State and local governments, including law enforcement agencies, are using the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions to store their data in a cost-effective way. For example, the Indiana State Police Department relies on AWS GovCloud (US) to innovate and advance law enforcement through technology, while securely storing data that is CJIS-compliant.
Drakontas provides products for law enforcement, criminal justice, infrastructure protection, transportation, and military communities. Its DragonForce software, which combines multiple planning tools to deliver real-time information to commanders and field members, is built entirely on AWS.
For more information about the AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region, I encourage you to visit the Public Sector section of the AWS website.
Expanding the AWS Cloud—An AWS Region is coming to South Africa!
Today, I am excited to announce our plans to open a new AWS Region in South Africa! AWS is committed to South Africa's transformation. The AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region is another milestone of our growth and part of our long-term investment in and commitment to the country. It is our first Region in Africa, and we're shooting to have it ready in the first half of 2020.
The new AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region will have three Availability Zones and provide lower latency to end users across Sub-Saharan Africa. AWS customers will also be able to store their data in South Africa with the assurance that their content won't move unless they move it. Those looking to comply with the upcoming Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) will have access to secure infrastructure that meets the most rigorous international compliance standards.
This news marks the 23rd AWS Region that we have announced globally. We already have 55 Availability Zones across 19 infrastructure regions that customers can use today. Another four AWS Regions (and 12 Availability Zones) in Bahrain, Hong Kong SAR, Sweden, and a second AWS GovCloud (US) Region are expected to come online in the coming months. Despite this rapid growth, we have no plans to slow down or stop there. We are actively working to open additional Regions in the locations where our customers need them most.
We have a long history in South Africa. AWS has been an active member of the local technology community since 2004. In December of that year, we opened the Amazon Development Center in Cape Town. That's where we built many pioneering networking technologies, our next-generation software for customer support, and the technology behind our compute service, Amazon EC2.
In 2015, we expanded our presence in the country, opening an AWS office in Johannesburg. Since then, we have seen an acceleration in AWS adoption. In 2017, we brought the Amazon Global Network to Africa, through AWS Direct Connect. Earlier this year, we launched infrastructure on the African continent by introducing Amazon CloudFront to South Africa, with two new edge locations in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Because of our expansion, we now count a number of well-known South African enterprises as customers such as Absa, Discovery, Investec, MedScheme, MiX Telematics, MMI Holdings Limited, Old Mutual, Pick n Pay, Standard Bank, and Travelstart. We also work with some of Africa's fastest growing startups such as Aerobotics, Apex Innovations, Asoriba, Custos Media, EMS Invirotel, Entersekt, HealthQ, JUMO, Luno, Mukuru, PayGate, Parcel Ninja, Simfy Africa, Zapper, Zanibal, and Zoona.
Innovative organizations in the South African public sector are using AWS to help change lives across the continent, such as Hyrax Biosciences. Hyrax has developed an AWS based technology called Exatype, which rapidly and accurately tests HIV drug resistance. Traditionally, it cost $300 to $500 to do a single resistance test. With the AWS based system, Exatype can do this at a fraction of the cost.
Many of our startup customers in Africa are leveraging the AWS Cloud to grow into successful global businesses. One example is JUMO, a technology company that has developed a platform for operating inclusive financial services marketplaces to serve small businesses and individuals in emerging markets. Since it launched in 2014, more than 9 million people have saved or borrowed on the JUMO platform. The platform gives these customers real-time access to loans, savings, and insurance products from banks.
JUMO has offices in Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Pakistan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Using AWS allows JUMO to rapidly expand their operations throughout Africa and Asia and enables the company to focus on business expansion and forge technology partnerships. They partner with leading international and pan-African banks like Barclays and Letshego, and large mobile money operators like Airtel, MTN, Telenor, and Tigo. JUMO uses a broad range of behavioral and payments' data, near real-time analytics and predictive modeling, to create financial identities for people who were previously beyond the reach of banks. Using AWS, JUMO has been able to process this data more than 1 000 times faster. What would have taken two weeks on local servers now only takes a few minutes.
One of my favorite stories to come from Africa, however, is the work we are doing alongside our partners—Intel and Digital Divide Data—to help the National Museums of Kenya digitize their entire collection of artifacts. The National Museums of Kenya holds one of the largest collections of archaeology and paleontology in the world. This project uses 3D digital imagery to create records of over one million items. This makes the records more accessible to researchers around the globe. It also preserves the museums' collection for future generations.
As well as helping customers in South Africa, and across the continent with technology, we also have a number of programs to help foster startups and to support the development of technology skills in the education sector. With AWS Activate, we have been supporting startups across Africa with access to guidance and 1:1 time with AWS experts. We offer web-based training, self-paced labs, customer support, third-party offers, and up to $100,000 in AWS service credits—all at no charge.
This has helped unearth innovative startups like Asoriba. Asoriba is a web and mobile platform that runs entirely on AWS and enables church administrators to effectively manage church membership, events, communications, and finance. The platform also allows church members to easily make donations and offerings via a mobile app. Asoriba already has 1,500 churches as members, serving 150,000 with the aim of touching all of Africa's 521 million churchgoers.
We also work with the venture capital community, accelerators, and incubators in South Africa. In Cape Town, AWS works with organizations such as Demo Africa, LaunchLab, Mzansi Commons, and Silicon Cape as well as co-working hubs, such as Workshop17. We provide coaching and mentorship, technical support, and resources to help African startups launch their businesses and go global.
For educators and students, we have AWS Educate. This program gives access to resources such as AWS credits, a jobs board, and training content to accelerate cloud-related learning. With this program, we are already working with institutes such as the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University in South Africa. We also support the Explore Data Science Academy to educate students on data analytics skills and produce the next generation of data scientists in Africa.
Another program for higher education institutes is AWS Academy, which provides AWS-authorized courses for students to acquire in-demand cloud computing skills. The program has already attracted the country's major academic institutions, including the University of Cape Town, University of Johannesburg, and Durban University of Technology. By providing resources to tertiary institutes, we believe we can grow the number of cloud professionals and create a generation of cloud-native technology experts to help grow African economies into the future.
We have also been investing in helping with a number of philanthropic and charity activities in South Africa. We support organizations such as AfricaTeenGeeks, an NGO that teaches children to code; Code4CT, a charity set up to inspire and empower young girls by equipping them with technical skills; DjangoGirls, which introduces women to coding; and GirlCode, which supports the empowerment of women through technology. Our engineers work with these and other charities to provide coaching, mentoring, and AWS credits.
We look forward to working with customers from startups to enterprise, public to private sector, and many more as we grow our business in South Africa and across the African continent. For more information about our activities in South Africa, including webinars, meetups, customer case studies, and more, see the AWS Africa page.