AWS Opens a UK Region, Offering Choice for Companies Looking to Use Amazon’s Cloud Running on Local Servers

Dec 16, 2016
Amazon Web Services

AWS opens a UK region in London this week. AWS customers can use the new London region to better serve end-users and store data in the UK, but what does it mean for our customers?

AWS has opened their latest region in the UK. Coming roughly a year after it announced it would be opening a UK Region – why is it important?

AWS has recently opened their latest region in the UK. Coming roughly a year after it announced it would be opening a UK Region, this is an important milestone for a number of reasons, including:

  • The uncertainty caused by Brexit/GDPR/US Rule 41 has led many organisations to desire to host data locally
  • The UK is a high growth market for AWS
  • Microsoft opened their competing UK Azure Region a few months ago so Amazon needed to respond

This announcement is the proof-point that Amazon is investing in the UK’s digital economy and is committed to providing local regions for its global cloud offering. Indeed, AWS now offers 42 availability zones across 16 regions – up from 11 regions only a year ago.

AWS UK Region – More Choice

The main take-away for our customers is that this is a positive sign – choice is always a good thing. Indeed, less than 24 hours after the announcement, we had an inbound request from a customer asking about the viability of moving to the UK region. This immediately shows there is demand and we expect to receive similar requests from current and prospective customers in the future. In the wider market, it additionally opens the door in the UK to more public sector and government AWS roll-outs, where strong sovereignty is a prerequisite.

London Region – Advanced Tools

However, not all the clouds are created equal. The London region launches with AWS’s core services but some of the more advanced tools such as Lambda, EFS, SES, CloudHSM and Directory Service are missing. It will be interesting to see how the UK region compares to its more established big brother (EU-West-1 – Ireland) in terms of bringing new features to market in the coming months.

It should also be noted that the London region consists of two Availability Zones, compared with Ireland’s three. This is a consideration, although the risk of an Availability Zone becoming unavailable is low, two is definitely less resilient than three. Compounded with the fact that the UK Region carries a small price premium for many services, there are reasons that many customers will choose to stay in the Ireland region instead of migrating across.

The Benefits

In conclusion, the opening of the UK Region is a significant milestone for AWS and opens the benefits of AWS to even more organisations who may have been reluctant to use it until a local in-country presence was available.

With many companies already experiencing the benefits of virtualised infrastructure, this latest AWS announcement may just tip the balance for businesses thinking about making the transition to public cloud infrastructure.

Kevin Linsell
Director, Strategy & Architecture

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