aws, amazon, Amazon Rekognition

Amazon yesterday announced that its region of Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers in London is now live for customers to use. A wide range of services are available from the EU (London) region, along with basic cloud-based computing and storage resources.

News of the data center, which will be the cloud giant’s third in Europe, emerged late on Friday (UK time) in a blog post by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, which didn’t really go into the details about the data center, except to say that the UK would get its own AWS “region” when the data center comes on line by the end of 2016 or early 2017.

This is the third AWS region to go live in Europe, AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post on the news, which means that AWS now has 16 available regions and 42 availability zones inside of those regions, according to a statement. That marks an increase from 11 regions only a year ago and a number that’s likely to rise over the course of 2017. The new region in London will feature two availability zones.The coming of a London region was first announced by AWS in November 2015. Also in this quarter, AWS made its Ohio and Canada regions available for public use.

AWS leads the public cloud infrastructure market. Its biggest competitors, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, have also been expanding their geographical reach.

London will offer all of AWS’s core services (EC2, S3, RDS, etc.). It is interesting to note that some of AWS’ more advanced tools like Lambda and its recently announced machine learning services won’t be available in London just yet. Amazon’s portfolio of managed enterprise mail, file storage, sharing and virtual desktop services also isn’t yet available in London. Vogel wrote in his blog,

 With the launch of the AWS Europe (London) Region, AWS can enable many more UK enterprise, public sector and startup 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.

The data center being placed in the UK also comes with other implications, most specifically addressing some user issues related to privacy in light of the decision by the European High Court to strike down the Safe Harbor rules which had previously held sway. Amazon’s position has been that users decide where data resides; an additional EU data center will improve performance and availability of users in those facilities and allow AWS users to deploy region redundant data and applications more easily completely within the EU.

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