Report: AWS Data Center May Be Coming to Germany

Post-Snowden, cloud data center location concerns grow beyond latency

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

July 7, 2014

3 Min Read
Report: AWS Data Center May Be Coming to Germany
Amazon CTO Werner Vogels (left) on stage at GigaOm Structure 2014 in San Francisco.

Amazon’s next data center to support its public cloud services may be located in Germany, according to an operations employee at a German mobile marketing startup, who found an Amazon Web Services end node identified as using open source cryptography tools.

“A traceroute to is showing us that the traffic is going to Frankfurt am Main,” Nils Jünemann, vice president of operations at Bitplaces, wrote in a post on his personal blog describing the discovery. The post was first spotted by The Register.

AWS is extremely secretive about everything that has to do with its data centers, including their precise locations. Cloud providers try to have data center presence in as many densely-populated areas as possible so they can provide lower service latency to users in those areas.

Amazon's European data center footprint currently consists of a cluster of facilities in Ireland, and “edge locations” in Amsterdam, Marseillle, Milan, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Stockholm, Madrid and Warsaw.

As Jünemann mentioned in his post, AWS senior vice president Andy Jassy has said publicly that the company had identified Germany as one of the handful of countries with high customer demand for a dedicated German AWS data center.

An AWS spokesperson sent us an email saying, "We’re constantly getting feedback from customers on where they would like the next AWS region and have a long list of target countries we are looking at. We're always re-evaluating and re-prioritizing that list. and Germany is one of the many countries that we are currently looking at.

"In the fullness of time you can expect AWS regions in multiple major countries around the world.”

Not just about latency anymore

In light of Edward Snowden’s information leaks that indicated widespread spying on international electronic communications by the U.S. National Security Agency, the need for a data center in Germany to serve German customers may have gone beyond latency concerns.

Speaking at the GigaOm Structure conference in San Francisco in June, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith recalled a meeting with a group of CIOs in Berlin in May where CIO for a German state said there was no way his organization would store data in any American company’s data center until the U.S. government stopped permitting its law enforcement to access private citizens’ information stored in data centers outside of the country.

Brazil’s government contemplated legislation for an outright ban on storing Brazilian users’ data beyond the country’s borders. The provision, however, was struck from an Internet privacy bill in March, Reuters reported.

Lower house of the Russian parliament passed a law late last week seeking to do just what the Brazilian government has backed out of, BBC reported. The Russian law, however, is viewed more as an attempt by the government to increase control of information on the Internet than as a result of genuine concern for citizens’ data privacy.

A number of European service providers have been using the post-Snowden erosion of trust in their U.S. counterparts to their advantage. Deutsche Telekom AG subsidiary T-Systems, for example, put data location front and center in messaging around its new data center in Biere, Germany.

Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously said AWS only had one fully-fledged data center in Ireland. The company actually has several facilities in the country, and the article has been corrected accordingly. Data Center Knowledge regrets the error.

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