Amazon Web Services, the e-commerce giant’s cloud infrastructure services arm, is planning to establish cloud data centers in the UK.
Expected to come online late next year or early in 2017, this will be the company’s first cloud region in the country and third in Europe, the company’s CTO Werner Vogels wrote in a blog post. The other two are in Germany and Ireland.
An AWS region usually consists of a cluster of data centers interconnected by a Wide Area Network. The company has had cloud data centers in Dublin for several years and launched its first Frankfurt data center earlier this year.
As Amazon and its chief competitors in the cloud services market, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Google, race to capture market share, they invest billions of dollars in data center infrastructure around the world every quarter.
Cloud service providers, and especially Infrastructure-as-a-Service, compete on the basis of global reach, feature set, and pricing.
As these service providers go after enterprise customers around the world, it becomes increasingly important to have physical infrastructure that’s local to where the customers are located.
Physical proximity improves performance of enterprise applications, which often use data stored in enterprise data centers and in the cloud. It also addresses “data sovereignty” concerns that have heightened since former US National Security Administration contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures of widespread government surveillance of electronic communications.
Physical location of data has become even more important since European Union authorities rejected so-called “safe harbor” rules around transporting user data between data centers in Europe and the US. The safe-harbor ruling has made it even more important for cloud service providers like Amazon and its peers to be able to store European users’ data in European data centers.
Today, there are 11 AWS regions around the world. Earlier this week Amazon announced plans to establish a new region in South Korea.
The company is working to bring online new regions in China, India, and Ohio next year.