Expanding in Europe, Amazon Web Services sets new cloud region in Sweden next year

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Amazon Web Services is to expand further into Europe with a new data center facility that’s set to open in Sweden sometime next year.

AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr said in a blog post that the AWS EU Stockholm region will be comprised of three availability zones when it opens in 2018, without giving a more specific date. Stockholm will thereafter become AWS’s fifth EU region, alongside London, Frankfurt and Ireland, and a new facility that’s set to open in France later this year. The cloud giant is also set to open a new region in China later this year. Currently, AWS operates 42 availability zones across 16 regions.

In a statement, AWS Chief Executive Andy Jassy said the move will provide big benefits for the company’s Nordic customers. “An AWS Region in Stockholm enables Swedish and Nordic customers, with local latency or data sovereignty requirements, to move the rest of their applications to AWS and enjoy cost and agility advantages across their entire application portfolio,” Jassy said.

Meanwhile, Swedish innovation and enterprise minister Mikael Damberg said the company’s decision to set up shop in his home country was a “recognition of Sweden’s competitive position within the European Union, with the highest levels of renewable energy, in the power grid, in the EU.”

Sweden is one of Europe’s leading nations with regard to its use of renewable power sources. Speaking at the UN General Assembly in 2015, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said country was working towards becoming one of the first fossil fuel-free states in the world. Currently, 57 percent of Sweden’s power comes from renewable energy sources such as hydropower and wind. The country is on track to run entirely on renewable energy sources within 25 years.

AWS’s biggest cloud rival, Microsoft Corp., has yet to open a data center for its Azure cloud service in the region, though Facebook Inc. has operated a data center in Luleå, Sweden, since 2013, taking advantage of the freezing climate for cooling efficiencies and sustainability.

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