February 9, 2021 Continent 8 Team

Continent 8 enabling AWS Outpost for iGaming

In this blog, Justin Cosnett, Chief Product Officer at Continent 8 Technologies provides information on how we are enabling AWS Outposts for our customers.

Ordering an AWS Outpost is advertised as a partner or AWS led activity; certainly customers need to have identified and confirmed sufficient capabilities prior to placing an order, as well as meeting some AWS criteria.  Until server form factor outposts are available (expected 2021); AWS Outpost is a full pre-built 42U rack of AWS proprietary equipment, with some very specific requirements (and even dimensions) to be confirmed.  It’s worth briefly covering some of the aspects or considerations which C8 assists with through our enablement package.

Environment:

Rack environment needs to be suitable, as you would expect for any computer equipment.  In theory an AWS Outpost could be placed geographically anywhere; although as AWS-only supported hardware, it has to be cited within range of AWS personnel and parts.

Note: Some specific iGaming jurisdictions have been a challenge here, and we are keen to assist in overcoming this in some way, in the very near future.

Most of the requirements questions for a co-location provider like C8 are pretty standard response.  In all cases C8 has a policy of ensuring minimum ASHRAE standards for any co-location we build, develop or partner in.  However, there are questions which many co-location providers wouldn’t have in standard data sheets or RFI responses, and C8 is well versed in responding or managing these queries.

It’s worth noting that whilst the AWS Outpost rack is a relatively industry standard 42U height, many colocation facilities are setup with existing racks and containment to produce the most efficient airflow and PUE, (more often recently with 46 or 48U racks in-situ, and dual PDU).  It’s necessary to confirm any size difference and containment works necessary to accommodate the AWS Outpost rack (80 (h) x 24 (w) x 48 (d) inches), and this may bear some cost or timescale, as well as ensuring sufficient space for delivery for final placement via loading dock and all areas between.

Power:

AWS documentation shows that Outpost comes in 3 “default” flavours per published details (5, 10 or 15 kVA), though actual power draw will differ by ordered configuration and utilization.  There are very specific power feed and power connector options (8 in total published, redundant and non redundant single or three phase).  In the US, for example, C8 have found requirements often result in selection of a single phase (delivered via 2-6 whips from above or below) being the main supported configuration because of the circuit voltage and frequency available by default in US facilities.  This may be different in other geographies or even specific facilities.  Again, additional power whips / upgraded power circuit breakers or specific power connector requirements may incur some cost or timescale.

Network:

AWS Outpost support single mode fiber (SMF) with Lucent Connector (LC), multimode fiber (MMF), or MMF OM4 with LC in 1, 10, 40 and 100Gbps port speed connections.

Currently (and this may change), an AWS Outpost – whilst having local gateway and load balancer features – by default requires a “Customer owned” local area network infrastructure in order to connect publicly and privately to AWS and the internet (Hence article diagram).  This means customers are expected to either have a pre-existing network edge capability in situ, or one which will be installed to a separate rack on site, as the AWS Outpost cannot contain any non-AWS infrastructure, or indeed be accessed by any non-AWS staff for maintenance.

iGaming, where the Outpost is intended as a production or “back-end” infrastructure to satisfy geographic requirements; some customers don’t have or want dedicated owned local network infrastructure.  In this scenario C8 can assist by provided the necessary network edge as a service (NEaaS), providing all of the functionality necessary to connect the AWS Outpost to the internet (in-jurisdiction and Tier 1 peering) and AWS (privately or publicly).

C8 are already able to provision direct private connectivity to AWS (and many other hyper-scale clouds) for our customers from any C8 source site. This service (C8 Cloud Connect) can be similarly delivered to an AWS Outpost via our MPLS backbone and interconnection to suitable AWS network edge, ensuring low latency, reduced jitter and no packet loss from source to destination and not subject to public surface area for DDoS attack.

Project Management and Delivery:

With a bespoke hardware infrastructure stack, there are considerable preparation tasks and assessments and 3-party liaison before an order can be placed, let alone delivery and installation confirmed and completed.  The C8 team are familiar with the necessary information to be provided (pre- and post- AWS order), regular calls with customers and AWS specialists, and also site assessments and validations necessary to ensure all preparations and information correct for a successful deployment.

AWS Enablement Package:

As you would expect for a co-location provider for many years, C8 is well prepared to accommodate different or pre-built racks, having similarly delivered other racks, such as Infinidat, with a very similar process.  However, C8 are also able to bring network, security and industry experience and expertise to support this growing hybrid cloud and cloud partner solution requirement.

For more information on how Continent 8 can support your cloud, connectivity and security needs, get in touch via sales@continent8.com

Justin Cosnett, Chief Product Officer at Continent 8 Technologies. With 20+ years’ experience in the hosting and SaaS sectors in a number of customer facing roles, Justin has a strong technical background. He joined Continent 8 in 2012 and was Head of Solution Architect before being promoted to Chief Product Officer.