The FINANCIAL — Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company announced the launch of a second full region in Japan, the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region. The region is an expansion of the existing AWS Osaka Local Region, which opened to select customers in February 2018. The new region consists of three Availability Zones (AZs) and joins the existing 25 Availability Zones in eight AWS Regions across Asia Pacific in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Ningxia, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo. Globally, AWS has 80 Availability Zones across 25 geographic regions, with plans to launch 15 more Availability Zones and five more AWS Regions in Australia, India, Indonesia, Spain, and Switzerland. Starting today, developers, startups, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and non-profit organizations can leverage the new AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region to run their applications locally, serve end-users across Asia with lower latency, and access the broadest and deepest suite of services available in the cloud according to Amazon.
“We launched the AWS Osaka Local Region to help select customers run specific workloads in western Japan. Since then, customers have asked AWS to launch a second full region with multiple Availability Zones and broad service selection in the country, and today we’re excited to deliver on those requests,” said Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of Global Infrastructure and Customer Support, AWS. “Together with the AWS Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Region, the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region provides customers with even lower latency to end users in Japan, as well as the ability to architect workloads across multiple Availability Zones and multiple regions in Japan for even greater fault tolerance, resiliency, and availability.”
“Congratulations on the opening of AWS Osaka Region. The government has adopted a “cloud-by-default” principle and basic policy prioritizing the use of cloud services, and we welcome AWS as a part of our services,” said Takuya Hirai, Member of the House of Representatives and Minister of State for Digital Transformation. “The mission of the Japan Digital Transformation Agency, scheduled to be established in September 2021, is to think about how systems should be run on the cloud in order to promote standardization and interoperability, which are necessary for both national and local governments to promote digitalization. In cooperation with various companies, including AWS, we will do our utmost to promote the digitalization of Japan.”
As Amazon notes, 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. Each Availability Zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security and is connected via 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. Additionally, Japanese customers, from startups to enterprises and the public sector, will have additional infrastructure to leverage advanced technologies including compute, storage, analytics, database, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile services, and more to drive innovation. The launch of a second AWS Region in Japan provides customers with even lower latency across the country and supports disaster recovery applications for business continuity.
Customers and AWS Partners welcome the new AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region
Millions of active customers use AWS each month in over 190 countries around the world, and hundreds of thousands of active customers use AWS services in Japan each month to accelerate innovation, increase agility, and drive cost savings. Organizations across Japan moving their mission-critical workloads to the cloud include customers such as Bellsystem24, Gibraltar Life Insurance, KDDI, Kindai University, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Nabtesco Corporation, NRI, NTT East, OGIS-RI CO. ltd., Prudential Life Insurance, Sony Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, and many more.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), whose business operations include commercial banks, trust banks, securities, and credit cards, adopted a cloud-first strategy and announced its full AWS deployment in 2017. “We have been making steady progress in IT architecture transformation and digitalization by leveraging AWS to build new systems,” said Hiroki Kameda, Managing Corporate Executive and Group CIO of MUFG. “AWS enabled us to build a big data platform for all our bank and group data so that we can use it flexibly, streamline administrative processes such as tremendous data entry work using AI, migrate a part of a market risk management system, and conduct applied research in more advanced AI algorithms and other new technologies. We reduced large costs by migrating and building a new system on AWS compared to on-premises. We have been using the AWS Osaka Local Region, and its expansion into the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region will enable us to actively run even more workloads and systems to enhance the agility and availability of our customer services. With digital technology playing an increasingly important role in our competitiveness, we will continue to grow our digital workforce both quantitatively and qualitatively to further drive our digital transformation.”
According to Amazon, Sony Bank is an Internet bank established in 2001 as an asset management bank for individuals. It provides various financial services such as foreign currency deposits, home loans, investment trusts, and debit cards. “Since the end of 2013, we have been gradually migrating our general internal business systems and banking peripheral systems onto AWS, and by the end of 2019, approximately 80 percent of our systems had been running on AWS,” said Tatsuya Fukushima, Executive Officer leading the System Planning Department, System Development Department, and System Administration Department of Sony Bank. “As a result, infrastructure-related costs have been reduced by up to 60 percent compared to on-premises systems, and infrastructure procurement and construction time have been cut by more than half. We are currently building a next-generation banking system on AWS with a cloud-native architecture designed to ensure high availability by utilizing the AWS services in both the Tokyo and Osaka regions, so the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region is key to our future plans. As an Internet bank, we will continue to improve management efficiency and provide products and services that meet our customers’ needs.”
KDDI Corporation (KDDI), established in 2000, is engaged in telecommunications, Internet, financial services, electricity distribution, intelligent consumer appliances, and other businesses both in Japan and overseas. KDDI started using AWS as its official cloud vendor in 2016 after AWS met its stringent internal security standards. “I am delighted that the AWS Osaka Local Region has expanded into a full AWS Region in such a short time,” said Akihiro Nakashima, Administrative Officer and Deputy General Manager, Service Planning and Development Division, Solutions Business Sector, KDDI Corporation. “KDDI currently develops and operates more than 60 services on AWS, such as the back end for our power supply business ‘au Denki’, ‘au Home’, which leverages IoT to make everyday life more convenient, and the subsystem of ‘au PAY’, a smartphone service that allows payment with QR codes. Leveraging AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region, we will be able to provide additional business continuity services through multi-region operations in Japan.”
Founded in 1983, OGIS-RI CO., ltd. is a global IT consulting firm providing information strategy, systems integration, systems development, network construction, support, and security solutions. OGIS-RI CO., ltd. is a group company of Osaka Gas Group. “Osaka Gas was the first in Japan to deploy IoT technology in consumer gas appliances in April 2016 using AWS. We have since been selling ENE FARM fuel cells, gas water heaters, and other products connected to the Internet around the clock,” said Kosuke Nakatani, Director, Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Head of IT Platform Service Division, OGIS-RI CO., ltd., which develops and manages the IT systems of Daigas Group (previously known as Osaka Gas Group) companies. “We use AWS to provide our enterprise customers with ‘ekul,’ a simple data measurement service that measures and visualizes gas and electricity usage in real time and transmits information to corporate customers across the country. We also provide cloud integration services based on our experience in the migration of on-premises business systems to AWS and system development on AWS. With the launch of the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region, we are very pleased to offer our customers in the Kansai area a selection of multiple regions with low latency, enabling us to have even greater availability.”
Sansan, established in 2007, is the provider of “SanSan,” a corporate business card management cloud service, and “Eight,” a business card app, under the mission of “creating innovation through encounters.” Seita Fujikura, CTO of Sansan, said, “Business cards are the proof of business encounters. SanSan and Eight solve various issues that business people face by accurately converting into data and utilizing the business cards that are captured every day. Our applications are configured on several hundred Amazon EC2 instances. By utilizing a variety of AWS services, we are able to substantially reduce costs and develop our products based on customer requests. The AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region will help us further evolve our products and services and provide new value as a business infrastructure.”
Founded in 1925, Kindai University provides learning to all ages and is one of the largest universities in western Japan with 48 departments ranging from medicine to the arts with 52,000 students enrolled. “Kindai University migrated our teaching system and all 17 cloud-enabled business systems to AWS from on-premises systems in 2015 based on an estimation that the initial investment cost would be reduced by about 70 percent and the total cost of initial investment and running costs over 10 years would be reduced by another 20 percent compared to on-premises systems,” said Takumi Ueda, Educational and Administrative Information Systems Department of Kindai University. “AWS enables us to provide a powerful, stable system for our students and faculty, and the opening of the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region gives us the opportunity to provide increased availability and even lower latency.”
AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners welcomed the arrival of a second AWS Region in Japan. The APN includes tens of thousands of Independent Software Vendors (ISV) and Systems Integrators (SI) 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. SI Consulting Partners supporting enterprise and public sector customers migrating to AWS include Classmethod, CTC, FUJISOFT, iret, NEC, NTT Data, SCSK, Serverworks and many others. APN ISVs in Japan including Acroquest Technology, AptPod, Digital Cube, Hatena, VMware, Works Human Intelligence, and many others, are already using AWS to deliver their software to customers around the world and will serve their Japanese customers from the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region at launch. Customers can also easily find, trial, deploy, and buy software solutions for AWS on the AWS Marketplace. For the full list of the members of the AWS Partner Network, please visit: https://aws.amazon.com/partners/.
NEC is an IT vendor that has been driving innovation in Japan since 1899 and is a premier consulting partner in the APN. NEC has a vision of creating a positive impact on society through technological advances. “The inauguration of the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region significantly broadens NEC’s service infrastructure offering in Japan, and we are happy to help accelerate our customers’ innovation efforts,” said Toshifumi Yoshizaki, Senior Vice President, NEC. “NEC has a long history as an AWS Partner, having joined the AWS Partner Network in 2012 and becoming a certified Premier Consulting Partner in 2016. In 2020, we became the first company in Japan to embark on a strategic corporate-level collaboration with AWS. This collaboration enabled us to provide higher-level managed services to government and corporate customers pursuing digital transformation. NEC Group will be increasing the number of AWS-certified personnel to 3,000 over the next three years and will continue to support large-scale cloud migration projects by significantly strengthening its delivery capabilities.”
VMware Cloud on AWS is a jointly engineered service that brings VMware’s enterprise-class software-defined data center software to the AWS Cloud. Delivered as an on-demand service with optimized access to AWS services, VMware Cloud on AWS enables IT teams to leverage the best of both worlds. “AWS is VMware’s preferred public cloud partner for all VMware vSphere-based workloads. And VMware Cloud on AWS is the preferred AWS solution for vSphere workloads,” said Tadashi Yamanaka, Vice President and General Manager, VMware Japan. “We look forward to serving the needs of customers in Japan with the expansion of VMware Cloud on AWS to the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region. This expansion will provide our customers in western Japan with more geographic diversity and disaster recovery alternatives. Customers throughout the country will also gain more flexibility to move their vSphere workloads to VMware Cloud on AWS for application modernization, as well as improved agility, cost and security.”
Works Human Intelligence Co., Ltd (Works HI), the provider of COMPANY, one of the top HR Payroll ERP software package systems in Japan, is an ISV Partner with AWS. “Works HI first adopted AWS in 2012 when we launched the cloud version of our software solution COMPANY. We continue to modernize the architecture of the SaaS version of COMPANY and enhance its functionality by making use of the multitude of AWS services available in Japan.” said Asahi Morita, Product Division Senior General Manager at Works Human Intelligence. “The opening of the AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region helps us support a greater number of customers with mission-critical operations and business continuity support with our COMPANY software solution by making it available across multiple regions in Japan.”
Amazon’s Continued Investment in Japan
In March 2011, AWS launched the AWS Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Region with two Availability Zones as the company’s fifth AWS Region. A third Tokyo AZ was added in 2012 and fourth in 2018 to help customers build highly available and fault-tolerant applications across the region’s four existing AZs. In February 2018, AWS launched the Osaka Local Region to enable compliance with guidelines for applications that require even greater distance between Availability Zones for select customers. As a response to further customer demand for a standard region in western Japan, today AWS is extending the capability of the Osaka Local Region by expanding it into a standard AWS Region.
Amazon is also continuing to invest in the upskilling of local developers, students, and the next generation of IT leaders in Japan through programs such as AWS Academy and AWS Educate. AWS Academy provides higher education institutions with a free, ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum that prepares students to pursue industry-recognized certifications and in-demand cloud jobs. AWS Educate provides student access to AWS services and content designed to build knowledge and skills in cloud computing.