Hitachi adds Amazon Web Services to cloud lineup in Japan

The company said it will support AWS alongside Microsoft's Azure as separate 'components' in its lineup

Hitachi said Monday it will officially support Amazon Web Services as part of its cloud solution offerings, a victory for Amazon over rival Microsoft Azure.

Amazon and Microsoft have long been locked in competition for the Japanese cloud server market. Many large, traditional Japanese firms tend to stick with long-time domestic providers such as Hitachi, but need more support when they expand Web services abroad.

Tokyo-based Hitachi said it will begin this month offering products that "truly align" its offerings with those of Amazon. Hitachi's offerings will include yen-based transactions, AWS-based services on a fixed monthly fee rather than usage-based billing, and a "direct connect" service that links Hitachi-hosted services with those on Amazon servers.

Hitachi also offers a VPN-based connection service to services using Microsoft Azure servers outside of Japan, but doesn't sell Azure services directly to customers. Hitachi Solutions, the company's systems division, is strong at home but has gaps internationally, and said it will pitch its AWS services as a way to fill the gap.

"Amazon has a big position globally," said Hitachi spokesman Takeshi Kawakami. "When clients want to expand outside of Japan, we will offer support for Amazon data centers as standard, particularly where we don't have our own presence."

Kawakami said Hitachi will not promote or emphasize Amazon over Microsoft, as the company views both as components of its potential offerings to clients.

The announcement is a victory for Amazon in that Hitachi will adopt AWS as part of its own cloud offerings. Last month, Hitachi announced a VPN solution that uses its Harmonious Cloud data centers in Japan, where sensitive data is stored, and can link directly to Microsoft data centers abroad.

Both Microsoft and Amazon have made Japan a major focus for expansion.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer visited Tokyo last month to personally announced the addition of two new data centers to support Azure's cloud presence in Japan. Microsoft is trusted in corporate Japan but Azure has suffered from a reputation for laggy performance and a lack of native Japanese materials.

Later this week, Amazon will host the two-day "AWS Summit Tokyo," which will include a keynote by company CTO Werner Vogels. Japanese giants NEC and NTT Data will also make presentations at the event.

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