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AWS to open UK datacentre in late 2016

Cloud giant sets out plans to open another European datacentre, as demand for its services continues to grow

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has set out plans to open its first datacentre in the UK by the end of 2016, as user concerns about data sovereignty continue to grow.

The move was confirmed in a brief blog post by Amazon.com CTO Werner Vogels, in which he promised the new facility would benefit UK-based AWS users concerned about data sovereignty and achieving low latency.

“The AWS UK region will be our third in the European Union (EU) and we’re shooting to have it ready by the end of 2016 (or early 2017),” he wrote.

“Leading UK organisations were among the early adopters of the cloud when we first started AWS back in 2006, and we continue to help drive increased agility, lower IT costs, and easily scale globally.”

The move has been warmly welcomed by both the Trade and Investment Minister Francis Maude and UK government CTO Liam Maxwell.

“It’s great to see Amazon Web Services will be providing commercial cloud services from datacentres in the UK," said Maxwell.

"Not only will this mean a significant investment in the UK economy, but it means more healthy competition and innovation in the UK datacentre market. This is good news for the UK government given the significant amount of data we hold that needs to be kept onshore.”

As mentioned, the company already has several European datacentres, located in Dublin and Frankfurt, and the announcement of the new UK site comes days after the company confirmed plans to open a facility in South Korea early in 2016.

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Industry watchers have predicted that, in the wake of the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) recent decision to invalidate the Safe Harbour data-sharing agreement, more US tech firms would look to open European datacentres.

While Vogels referenced data sovereignty as a key concern for UK users of its services, the company has previously dismissed the notion that the abolishment of Safe Harbour will affect how it operates within the continent.

Speaking at the 2015 AWS re:Invent user conference in Las Vegas in October 2015, AWS senior vice-president Andy Jassy said: “We have a number of ways for our customers to move their data outside of the EU to AWS beyond Safe Harbour.

“As the European data protection agency has approved the AWS data protection agreement via the Article 29 Working Party, it really has no impact on our customers,” he added.

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