Amazon Web Services (AWS) promised a UK Region by the end of 2016 and guess what? AWS delivered. They expanded their footprint and launched its 16th Region and 42nd Availability Zone in London at the end of last year. This is 11 more regions than a year ago. The UK have now joined Ireland and Germany as the 3rd Region in Europe, with its two Availability Zones compared to Irelands three. In 2017 globally, we will also see five more Availability Zones and two more Regions coming online.*
But what does this all mean? What are the benefits?
The UK is a high growth area for AWS, therefore they are keen to invest in the UK’s digital economy and by increasing the number of Regions and Availability Zones they are also expanding their cloud offering.
For organisations in the UK, who were reluctant to store their data out of country, this launch is a major milestone. This has certainly opened the doors for public sector organisations to start their cloud journey and start to innovate.
Most of AWS’s key services are available in the UK Region including: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon CloudWatch and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), to name a few. Some of the more advanced tools such as Lambda, EFS, SES, CloudHSM and Directory Service are missing. Hopefully, they will be available soon.
Werner Vogels CTO - Amazon.com says in his blog:
“We believe in our customers and are investing for the long term. With the AWS Europe (London) Region, we look to better serve end users in the UK. With the launch of the AWS Europe (London) Region, AWS can enable many more UK enterprise, public sector and start up customers to reduce IT costs, address data locality needs, and embark on rapid transformations in critical new areas, such as big data analysis and Internet of Things.”
As the public sector footprint has grown in the UK, organisations have been able to work with AWS to build an AWS solution enabling them to save money, improve performance and availability and scale with ease. Giving more time for the organisations to focus on innovation for their customers. By having the London Region, AWS are now able to store data and deliver secure solutions for OFFICAL workloads. This is key for the public sector due to the strict compliance standards.
Jeff Barr says in Amazon’s announcement:
“Every AWS Region is designed and built to meet rigorous compliance standards including ISO 27001, ISO 9001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC3, PCI DSS Level 1, and many more. The UK Government recognizes that local datacentres from hyper scale public cloud providers can deliver secure solutions for OFFICIAL workloads. In order to meet the special security needs of public sector organizations in the UK with respect to OFFICIAL workloads, we have worked with our Direct Connect Partners to make sure that obligations for connectivity to the Public Services Network (PSN) and N3 can be met.”
With so many organisations already reaping the benefits of moving to AWS, this launch will more than likely see organisations on the edge of moving, move.
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The AWS Cloud infrastructure is built around Regions and Availability Zones (“AZs”). A Region is a physical location in the world where we have multiple Availability Zones. Availability Zones consist of one or more discrete data centres, each with redundant power, networking and connectivity, housed in separate facilities. These Availability Zones offer you the ability to operate production applications and databases which are more highly available, fault tolerant and scalable than would be possible from a single data centre.