Amazon Web Services Opens First Asian Data Center

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud-computing arm of Amazon.com, opened its first Asian data center in Singapore on Wednesday.

The new data center extends AWS's offerings, which include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), to Asia and will offer improved performance for existing AWS customers in the region. The Singapore data center joins a network of data centers that AWS has built in the U.S. and Ireland, serving North American and European customers.

Singapore, which is already home to the Asian regional headquarters of many multinational technology companies, is host to a growing number of data centers, including one opened by Salesforce.com last year.

The decision by AWS to build a data center in Asia was driven by customer demand for cloud computing services, said Andy Jassy, senior vice president of AWS.

AWS's partners, which include Accenture and Capgemini, among others, also played a role in the decision. "They were saying, 'We have global businesses that have customers in Asia-Pacific and it's just not as good an experience for them if you're serving them out of the U.S. or Europe than if you were here [in Asia]," Jassy said.

Ultimately, AWS success in Asia will depend on its partnerships with global systems integrators, as well as regional companies.

"With the cloud being particularly new -- even if it's easy to understand and you can get going in minutes to use it and you don't need anybody [to help] -- a lot of larger companies want that consultation and counsel," Jassy said.

Jassy cited Patni, a mid-size outsourcing company in Mumbai, as an example of the partners that AWS is working more closely with as part of its Asian expansion plans. The outsourcing company is moving the "vast majority" of its computing infrastructure to AWS, both to take advantage of the technology and to deepen its understanding of AWS's cloud platform so that it roll out similar systems for its customers, he said.

"We have a few of those partnerships that are evolving very nicely and moving at a very fast clip," Jassy said, adding that AWS is in the early stages of developing partnerships with other system integrators in the region.

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