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.

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