Australia to get Top Secret rated AWS Cloud Region

In 2013 I was presenting to representatives of the South Australian government on the benefits of AWS Cloud. Security was obviously a prime consideration, and my role as the (only) AWS Security Solution Architect for Australia and New Zealand meant that this was a long discussion.

Clearly the shared responsibility model for cloud was a key driver, and continues to be so.

But the question came up: “We’re government, we need our own Region“. At that time, the US had just made its first US GovCloud in August of 2011. I knew then that the cost for a private region then was around US$600M, before you spun up your first (billed) workload.

The best thing about public cloud is, with the safeguards in place around tenant isolation, there are a whole bunch of costs that get shared amongst all users. The more users, the less cost impact per individual. At scale, many things considered costly for one individual, become almost free.

Private AWS Regions are another story: there is not a huge client base to share these costs across. With a single tenant, that tenant pays 100% of the cost. But then that tenant can demand stricter controls, encryption and security protocols, etc.

This difference will perhaps be reflected in the individual unit costs (eg, per EC2 instance per hour, etc).

Numerous secret regions have been created since 2013, such as the Mercury Veil Project for the CIA’s secret AWS Cloud Region.

Today we have two more interesting private regions currently being commissioned: the previously announced European Sovereign Region, and today, the Australian Secret Region at an initial AUD$2B cost.

After 11 years, the cost of a private (dedicated) Region has seemingly increased 333%.

If you thought cloud skills were getting passe, then there’s a top secret world that’s about to take off.

The Sky Is Falling — For Alibaba Cloud Customers in India and Australia

If there is one thing that Cloud customers look for, it is long term availability and stability of the Cloud.

Not only cannot it not go down, but it needs to be long-term sustainable for the provider to operate. And so it comes as some surprise to me that Alibaba has decided to shutter its Regions in India and Australia, according to an article on The Register.

To me this is a clear signal that Alibaba does not want important, long term engagements with customers, anywhere. If they can close these Regions and tell their customers to get out or lose their data, then they can do this in any other Region.

The cost to play the Cloud Provider game is high, and the optics are critical.

This reminds me of the statements made by Google in 2018 , as CNBC reported:

In early 2018, top executives at Alphabet debated whether the company should leave the public cloud business, but eventually set a goal of becoming a top-two player by 2023, according to a report from The Information on Tuesday.


Any kinds of indication that the Cloud Provider is not committed long term (multi decade) to being a cloud provider is going to limit the customers trust. of course, the providers then just address the optics by providing statistics slide and diced in such a way as to how them in a favourable light, or including stuff that’s not really cloud in their revenue reporting lines, like software licences.

It’s best to stick to independent industry analysts views of the leaders in the Cloud market place, and to understand the perspective of global versus within a specific country.

If there are any soon-to-be-former Alibaba clients in India or Australia who are now somewhat alarmed at the rug pull from under them, please reach out and I can put you in touch with teams of experts who can help migrate your workloads. See also, my AWS Cloud Migration Consideration series.