NZ IT leaders welcome AWS investment in local cloud data centres

The move, following ones by Microsoft and Google, should address data-sovereignty needs and provide lower latency for data transfer and applications.

New Zealand  >  Auckland  >  cityscape / skyline
Henry McIntosh

Amazon Web Services’ plan to spend $7.5 billion over the next 15 years establishing and operating a data region in Auckland is being welcomed by senior leaders at ANZ Bank, the Ministry of Justice, and Air New Zealand, who cite increased resilience, data sovereignty, and digital innovation as key benefits of the move.

Three availability zones in Auckland data region

AWS’s Auckland Region will consist of three availability zones and join the current 81 availability zones across 25 geographic AWS regions when it launches in 2024.

An AWS availability zone means infrastructure is placed in separate and distinct geographic locations with enough distance to help support customers’ business continuity (such in the event of earthquakes, natural disasters, or infrastructure disruptions), yet near enough to provide low latency for high-availability applications that use multiple availability zones.

“Each availability zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security, and is connected through redundant, ultra-low-latency networks. AWS customers focused on high availability can design their applications to run in multiple availability zones to achieve even greater fault tolerance. The AWS Asia-Pacific (Auckland) Region will enable local customers with data-residency preferences to securely store data in New Zealand, while providing even lower latency across the country,” said AWS’s announcement.

IT and business leaders welcome the move

ANZ New Zealand CIO Michael Bullock says the new region will benefit the whole New Zealand economy and provide access that will “meet our customers’ data-sovereignty preferences and desire for innovation. … Our tech sector is world-class, and this sort of investment is a great step toward providing New Zealand with greater technical resilience and opportunities for innovation.”

The Ministry of Justice’s deputy secretary for Corporate and Digital Services, Tina Wakefield, notes that the planned AWS infrastructure region will help address data-sovereignty concerns. “Investment in new technology would make it easier for citizens to access and engage with the courts and tribunals, while at the same time ensuring the ministry can maximise the use of all our resources since court-related data must be hosted within New Zealand in line with judicial policy,” she says. “Using locally hosted technologies, we can further align with the New Zealand government’s cloud-first strategy and progress toward new ways of working that improve the experience of justice services for court participants, with the aim of improving access to justice for all New Zealanders.”

Meanwhile Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran says the new data region will enable its plans to become a more digitally focused airline to differentiate its service globally. “We have collaborated with AWS on many innovations to embed digital at the heart of everything we do, including building a secure digital booking system that easily scales to meet fluctuating demand. Looking ahead, we need strong, resilient cloud architecture to provide customers a more personalised and innovative digital experience. The new AWS infrastructure will help us deliver on our vision, provide customers even faster access to all our services, and underpin our delivery of a best-in-class digital experience to Kiwis for many years to come.”

AWS, Microsoft, and Google ramp up activity in NZ

AWS’s plans to open a data region follows moves by rival vendors Microsoft and Google to invest in the New Zealand market, which according to IDC is ripe for the picking. IDC senior analyst Prabhitha Druz says that while these major infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers account for 70% to 80% market share in countries across Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan and China), in New Zealand it has been a different story to date.

“Local vendors such as Spark and Datacom together account for 43% of the overall NZ IaaS market share. From a public cloud IaaS perspective, Amazon Web Services has the largest market share of 23%, followed by Microsoft at 19%. Late entrant Google continues to make progress but has just 1% market share in 2019,” Druz says.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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