Given all the talk about data sovereignty requirements, it’s not surprising that Amazon Web Services would add a German region to its roster — a plan that the Register confirmed Monday based on research from German startup Bitplaces. Currently, Amazon runs all of its European cloud operations out of Dublin with some edge locations elsewhere in Europe.
In March, Amazon SVP Andy Jassy told CIO Journal that Germany was at the top of its list for new cloud regions, but AWS CTO Werner Vogels dodged questions about a possible German region just a few weeks ago at Structure 2014. The thing about AWS is that it doesn’t talk about anything until it suddenly does talk about it and by then it’s usually a fait accompli. (Usually, but not always. Amazon announced a bunch of stuff at AWS Re:invent in November, some of which — WorkSpaces, etc. — did not appear until March. More proof that AWS is becoming an enterprise IT company.)
An AWS spokesperson acknowledged the need for more regional presence worldwide. She said via email that:
“[Amazon has a] long list of target countries we are looking at. We’re always re-evaluating and reprioritizing that list and Germany is one of the many countries that we are currently looking at. In the fullness of time you can expect AWS Regions in multiple major countries around the world.”
Amazon CTO Werner Vogels will speak at the AWS Summit Thursday in New York City, so it’s possible there will be news of a new European region at that time.
Given the demand for local compute power and lower latency, no one expected Amazon’s Dublin-only status quo to last indefinitely. Veteran AWS user and watcher Adrian Cockcroft recently predicted that AWS would add regions in Germany, the U.K., France and elsewhere to meet burgeoning demand for local data compute and storage.
His point is that despite all the hype about cloud erasing national boundaries and distance, latency issues dog cloud deployment. For that reason, and because of data sovereignty requirements, many customers will demand that their clouds be local. Gigaom speculated last year that Amazon would add lots of new cloud regions when it was ready — and when competitive pressures make that move necessary. And here we are.
Despite its lack of local data centers to date, AWS has not exactly been dormant in Germany. As David Meyer reported, it’s been hiring cloud and machine learning experts in that country for months and bought Berlin-based Peritor two years ago. Amazon OpsWorks comes out of that acquisition.
As the Register points out, AWS will also face some other wrinkles in Germany, where workers for parent company Amazon.com’s distribution centers have gone on strike to protest what they call sub-standard wages and may do so again.