Cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services, a unit of Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) announced on Friday that it would open an infrastructure region in Israel in the first half of 2023. The company recently won the Israeli government's "Nimbus" computing tender along with Google Cloud. The two companies were selected by the Ministry of Finance and the Government Computer Authority as providers of cloud services to the government of Israel and the IDF for the next seven years, in a tender estimated to be worth some NIS 4 billion.
After losing in the tender, software giant Microsoft, with its Azure cloud computing service, and computer technology company Oracle, filed administrative petitions with the aim of leaving an opening for a future legal appeal against the results of the tender, but no direct legal proceedings are taking place to annual the outcome. Microsoft and Oracle stress the fact that they are continuing their efforts to set up datacenters in Israel.
Oracle announced that it would open its cloud center located in the Jerusalem area this summer. Microsoft, which announced in early 2020 that it would open its datacenter in 2021, later announced that it would open only in the first half of 2022. Google, which has also officially announced that it will set up a regional cloud datacenter, has not stated when it will start to operate.
Amazon's regional cloud, like the others, is not intended for government use only, but for the entire Israeli economy. In its announcement on Friday the company stated: "The AWS Israel (Tel Aviv) Region will enable even more developers, startups, and enterprises as well as government, education, and non-profits to run their applications and serve end-users from data centers located in Israel. Additionally, the government of Israel announced that it has selected AWS as its primary cloud provider as part of the "Nimbus" contract for government ministries and subsidiaries. The Nimbus framework will provide cloud services to Israeli government ministries including local municipalities, government-owned companies, and public sector organizations with the aim of helping to accelerate digital transformation. It will be instrumental in driving innovation and enabling new digital services for the citizens of Israel."
In August 2020, it was announced that AWS was working on setting up datacenters at three sites in Israel, each with an output of 16 megawatts. AWS began to advance the project together with Azrieli Group Ltd. (TASE: AZRG) and US company Compass. The sites, according to the report, are at Bet Shemesh, Shoham, and in Hefer Valley. The real estate deals involved were estimated at NIS 300-400m, and the project as a whole at about NIS 1 billion.
Accountant General Yali Rothenberg said, ""We congratulate AWS on their winning bid in the first tender of Project Nimbus, a multi-year flagship project led by the Israeli Government Procurement Administration to provide a comprehensive framework for the provision of cloud services to the Government of Israel"
"The new AWS Israel (Tel Aviv) Region will empower more public and private institutions, innovative startups, and global companies to deliver built-for-the-cloud applications that help fuel economic development across the country.
"It is the latest in our list of AWS Regions across Europe and the Middle East, which includes existing regions in Bahrain, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK as well as regions under development in Spain, Switzerland, and United Arab Emirates," said Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of Global Infrastructure, AWS.
"The new region is a continuation of our investment to support enterprises of all kinds, help startups scale and grow, enable technical skills development, and create cloud literacy," DeSantis continued. "Cloud technology is at the heart of the Israeli government’s digital transformation program, and their approach highlights the importance of setting a strong course for cloud adoption and leading by example to re-invent citizen services."
AWS, considered the world's leading cloud services provider, set out in its announcement how its global datacenter network is structured, and its advantages for users. "AWS Regions are comprised of Availability Zones, which place infrastructure in separate and distinct geographic locations with enough distance to significantly reduce the risk of a single event impacting customers’ business continuity, yet near enough to provide low latency for high availability applications that leverage multiple Availability Zones. Globally, AWS has 81 Availability Zones across 25 geographic regions, with plans to launch an additional 21 Availability Zones and seven AWS Regions in Australia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.
"Each Availability Zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security and is connected through redundant, ultra-low-latency networks. AWS customers focused on high availability can design their applications to run in multiple Availability Zones and across multiple regions to achieve even greater fault tolerance.
"The addition of the AWS Israel (Tel Aviv) Region will enable local customers with data residency requirements to store their data in Israel with the assurance that they retain control over the location of their data. Organizations using this region will also be able to access advanced technologies from the world’s leading cloud with the broadest and deepest suite of cloud services to drive innovation including analytics, compute, database, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, mobile services, storage, and more."
Like other cloud companies, AWS provided a list of some of its most prominent customers, among the Bank Leumi, Migdal, CyberArk, Fiverr, monday.com, Hashavshevet (Wizsoft), the Rami Levy group, and the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv (Ichilov Hospital).
AWS has a Partner Network (APN) Partners consisting of tens of thousands of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Systems Integrators (SIs) around the world. AWS Partners build innovative solutions and services on AWS, and the APN helps by providing business, technical, marketing, and go-to-market support. APN SIs, consulting partners, and ISVs working in Israel help enterprise and public sector customers migrate to AWS, deploy mission-critical applications, and provide a full range of monitoring, automation, and management services for customers' environments on AWS.
According to the company's announcement, among AWS Israel Partners are Alcide, AllCloud, AppsFlyer, Automat-IT, BigPanda, Bringg, Checkmarx, CloudBuzz, Matrix CloudZone, Comm-IT, Continuity Software, CloudRide, DoIT International, Guardicore, Kaltura, MidLink, Namogoo, Nice, Orca Security, Perimeter81, Quali, Radware, Sapiens, TeraSky, and Trax Retail.
The collaboration with AllCloud, for example, was reported in December 2020, and includes investment of some $30 million in transferring Israeli companies to AWS cloud services.
The regional cloud represents a continuation of AWS’s activity in Israel, which includes Amazon CloudFront edge locations. Amazon CloudFront is described as "a highly secure and programmable Content Delivery Network (CDN) that accelerates the delivery of data, videos, applications, and APIs to users worldwide with low latency and high transfer speeds."
In 2020, AWS also launched AWS Outposts and AWS Direct Connect in Israel. AWS Outposts is a fully managed service that offers the same AWS infrastructure, AWS services, APIs, and tools to virtually any data center, co-location space, or on-premises facility for a truly consistent hybrid experience. AWS Direct Connect makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection from customers’ on-premises infrastructure to AWS infrastructure. Using AWS Direct Connect, customers can establish private connectivity between AWS and their data center, office, or colocation environment, which can reduce their network costs, increase bandwidth throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience than internet-based connections."
The company also mentioned its AWS Activate program for cooperation with startups in Israel, which has been in operation since 2013. "This program gives startups access to guidance and one-on-one time with AWS experts as well as 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 that AWS already does with the venture capital community, startup accelerators, and incubators to help startups grow in the cloud. In Israel, AWS works with accelerator organizations such as 8200 EISP, F2 Venture Capital - thejunction, and TechStars as well as venture capital firms like Aleph, Pitango, TLV Partners, and Viola Ventures to support the rapid growth of their portfolio companies," the AWS announcement said.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 13, 2021
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