AWS sees a huge opportunity in Canada, both with local companies and customers like Salesforce that need a footprint in the country.
(TORONTO) -- AWS announced the launch of its “Canada Central” region with two Availability Zones at an event in Toronto on Thursday. AWS CTO Werner Vogels told the audience at AWS Executive Insights that focusing on customers is driving innovation at the company.
AWS only opened its Canadian office a year ago; even so, there were already “tens of thousands” of AWS customers in Canada, including major financial, retail, media, and government organizations. The company also added CloudFront locations in Toronto and Montreal in August to meet that demand. The new region is offered from its Montreal data centers, which were announced in January.
“For many years, we’ve had an enthusiastic base of customers in Canada choosing the AWS Cloud because it has more functionality than other cloud platforms, an extensive APN Partner and customer ecosystem, as well as unmatched maturity, security, and performance,” Andy Jassy, CEO, AWS said in a statement. “Our Canadian customers and APN Partners asked us to build AWS infrastructure in Canada, so they can run their mission-critical workloads and store sensitive data on AWS infrastructure located in Canada. A local AWS Region will serve as the foundation for new cloud initiatives in Canada that can transform business, customer experiences, and enhance the local economy.”
Director of AWS Canada Eric Gales said at the event there has been a shift in the initial conversation with organizations interested in adopting the cloud, even within the past year. From “What is it about?”, through “Why is it for me, given my commitments to infrastructure and staff?” and, “When do you think we should start thinking about doing this?” Gales hears more organizations now asking “How do we start?”
Unique Customer Requirements Drive Innovation
Gales gave examples of different kinds of Canadian companies benefiting from AWS, including Porter Airlines and the National Bank of Canada.
“We're customer obsessed,” he said. “We care about every customer. We care about their unique requirements, and as we get feedback from our customers as they use the platform, we put that feedback into our hugely scalable innovation engine, to deliver new features and services to our customers. As we've done so, the rate of adoption around the world has continued to increase. Now every type of customer, and every kind of workload, we can see being supported around the world, and it's no different in Canada.”
Vogels said that not just regulatory compliance but also “emotional barriers” were removed by adding the Canadian region. He also pointed out that it benefited not just Canadian companies, by addressing those concerns, and reducing latency, but also helps its customers like Box and Salesforce that have their customers in the country. Box announced a Canadian zone in August.
Vogels said that barriers to adoption continue to fall, while the incentives, such as an improved awareness of the security of public cloud, are increasing. Money drives all business, of course, and Vogels said “survival is a big driver.”
“Going to talk to your CFO and asking for $2 million for a particular project because you need to buy hardware for it is a very difficult conversation to have, especially because cloud is there,” he said.
Vogels also downplayed the value of private cloud, telling the audience that “dressing up your cage doesn't make you free,” and saying that the ability to get rid of CapEx and the full benefits of cloud are only realized with a public cloud model.
When asked about the future of AWS, Vogels said that he is excited about the massive and democratized potential of data analytics.
AWS made a number of launches last week at its AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, including a new security tool for cloud customers and an image recognition service, a speech-to-text service dubbed Polly and Lex.