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AWS to invest $7.5B to create New Zealand cloud region

AWS to invest $7.5B to create New Zealand cloud region

At least three Auckland data centres are part of AWS' plan for New Zealand region.

Tim Dacombe-Bird (AWS)

Tim Dacombe-Bird (AWS)

Credit: AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is following in the footsteps of Microsoft by creating a New Zealand cloud region in an investment the cloud giant said was worth NZ$7.5 billion.

According to AWS, the new cloud region -- which is expected to launch in 2024 -- joins 25 other regions globally with the $7.5 billion set to be spent on construction, operations, equipment and staff over 15 years. The region is expected to include three availability zones in Auckland, each serviced by one or more data centres.

The region would allow start-ups, enterprises, government and more to run applications and store data locally and to drive growth and innovation, as outlined by AWS' country manager for the public sector, Tim Dacombe-Bird. 

This is in addition to the expected creation of 1000 new jobs amid a $10.8 billion contribution to New Zealand's GDP over the next fifteen years.

Dacombe-Bird said the region would "unleash further innovation, drive greater productivity, increase our skilled workforce, and truly position NZ at the forefront of digital commerce for generations of Kiwis to come" -- it would also be sustainable.

"We believe it is vital that growth in the cloud is driven in the most sustainable way," he added.

AWS has copped criticism over its carbon footprint internationally, but Dacombe-Bird said the technology giant was committed to powering its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of its initial target of 2030.

Customers in turn would also reduce carbon footprints by moving their own workloads to the cloud.

The relationship between Auckland-based electricity infrastructure company Vector and AWS appeared to be one major catalyst for the investment.

The companies are working together on what they call a new energy platform that Vector CEO Simon Mackenzie said demonstrated joint alignment in vision and culture.

In August, Vector announced it was taking its IT innovations to market through new unit Vector Technology Services (VTS).

“Vector Technology Services has been established to take to market solutions we have developed as part of our own digital transformation journey," Mackenzie said at the time.

"We are exploring global opportunities for key priority solutions including the New Energy Platform created through our strategic alliance with AWS, Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS), cyber security, and others."

Today, Mackenzie said AWS' significant investment recognised the world leading technology investment coming out of New Zealand.

"The scale and nature of this AWS investment and commitment to New Zealand will encourage and build confidence for increased levels of innovation across all sectors," he said.

A thriving tech sector benefitted us all, Mackenzie said, adding diversity to the economy and keeping talent on shore while allowing companies to scale globally from New Zealand.

AWS supported thousands of organisations across New Zealand, said Adam Selipsky, CEO of AWS. 

“Our investments reflect AWS’s deep and long-term commitment to Aotearoa," he said. "We are excited to build new world-class infrastructure locally, train New Zealanders with in-demand digital skills, and continue to help local organisations deliver applications that accelerate digital transformation and fuel economic growth.”

AWS regions are comprised of "availability zones", which place infrastructure in separate and distinct geographic locations with enough distance to help support customers’ business continuity, but near enough to provide low latency for high availability applications that use multiple zones. 

Each availability zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security, and is connected through redundant, ultra-low latency networks. 

Local AWS customers include Air NZ, ANZ Bank, Bank of New Zealand, Contact Energy, Education Perfect, Halter, New Zealand Department of Conservation, Lancom, New Zealand Ministry of Health, New Zealand Ministry of Justice, Orion Health, Sharesies, The Clinician, TVNZ, UneeQ, University of Auckland, Vodafone, and Xero.


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