Amazon Web Services (AWS) is to begin operations from a data centre in the UK in a move that will add a third EU region to the firm’s global cloud presence. The announcement recognises the UK’s importance as a place to do business, and addresses growing concerns over data sovereignty for customers in the UK.
The move was detailed in a blog post by Amazon chief technology officer Werner Vogels, who said that the AWS UK region is expected to be up and running by the end of 2016 or early 2017, and will provide lower latency and stronger data sovereignty for local users.
AWS builds out its global cloud presence through regions, which are typically one or more data centres in a specific geographic area. The firm already has one EU region hosted in Frankfurt and a second in Dublin. Each region is divided into several Availability Zones, which enables customers to distribute resources across multiple Availability Zones for high availability.
“The new region, coupled with the existing AWS regions in Dublin and Frankfurt, will provide customers with quick, low-latency access to websites, mobile applications, games, SaaS applications, big data analysis, Internet of Things applications, and more,” said Vogels.
AWS is cagey about the exact locations of the data centres, but most facilities operating in the UK tend to cluster in or around London to provide low latency access for companies operating in the City.
AWS is the largest cloud service provider on the planet, and already has a great many customers in the UK. The opening of an AWS region here is further evidence of the importance of the UK economy as AWS continues to expand its infrastructure.
The move also comes as many organisations are increasingly concerned about where their data is stored and processed, especially in light of events such as the recent European Court of Justice ruling that rendered invalid the Safe Harbour framework for US-based companies to transfer data outside Europe.
Concerns about US agencies using legislation such as the Patriot Act to access data held by any US-owned company have also led to more UK and European companies insisting that any of their data in the cloud is stored and processed on home turf.
UK government chief technology officer Liam Maxwell said in a statement welcoming the AWS announcement: “It’s great to see that AWS will be providing commercial cloud services from data centres in the UK.
“Not only will this mean a significant investment in the UK economy, but more healthy competition and innovation in the UK data centre market. This is good news for the UK government given the significant amount of data we hold that needs to be kept onshore.”