The quest for dominance in Web-scale networking just got more interesting. Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) has successfully opened data centers in the U.K., seeking to stay ahead of competitors offering government and healthcare customers access to cloud computing services. IBM and Microsoft have decided to do the same.
According to a recent Bloomberg (News - Alert) post, the U.K. data region is made up of two zones, each consisting of multiple data centers. This expansion is a sixteenth for Amazon Web Services, its third in Europe alone. Another expansion into France is planned for next year.
Amazon’s action “is a strong endorsement of our approach to the digital economy” and “shows a clear confidence in the U.K. being open for business and one of the best places in the world for technology companies to invest in and grow,” said Karen Bradley, U.K. Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, in a statement.
A key driver for this expansion is the reality that governments are increasingly moving towards using cloud computing to reap the cost and accessibility benefits. The challenge is that governments are also generally required to maintain data within their national borders for regularity and security purposes. The same can be said for healthcare information in Web-scale networking situations. To meet this demand, cloud providers are expanding their physical footprints.
Yet the push is important, as clients are already starting to see benefits. Liam Maxwell, national technology advisor to the U.K., shared that the government has already saved $4.4 billion by electing to host data in the cloud rather than use their own servers. Financial services firms are seeing some of the same benefits, leveraging Web-scale networking and cloud computing to decrease the time it takes to connect to trading venues. Considered central to the finance industry, the U.K. offers promise in this space as well.
While the decision to build its new data centers in the U.K. came before the country voted in June to leave the European Union, providing customers there the opportunity to store data is still a viable business move. British privacy rules will still rein for governments, healthcare entities and others operating there. Deviation from European standards would be likely only in the event that the standards become more stringent. In that situation, the U.K. will already have the upper hand.
Edited by Alicia Young