Amazon Web Servces has begun the construction of several data centers in Stockholm required for the launch of its upcoming European cloud region. The company plans to have three availability zones - so at least three data centers - online by 2018.

AWS UK launch
AWS UK launch – DCD/Sebastian Moss

Scandi Cloud 

The company already runs 42 availability zones in 16 regions including Ireland, Germany and the UK, with plans to launch new cloud regions in France and China later this year. Scandinavia is an important stomping ground for AWS, which will not only benefit from increased use of the cloud among local businesses, but also the lowest energy costs in the European Union, and wide availability of renewable energy.

Plans for a new AWS facility were encouraged by government-backed organizations Invest Stockholm, Business Sweden and Data Centers by Sweden, which hope to see the company’s presence further develop the region’s digital economy.

Nordic countries already have a high density of cloud-dependent enterprises, currently using distant AWS cloud regions. The new infrastructure means that regional customers will benefit from lower latency and added security mandated by national and EU legislators.

Stockholm syndrome

“Stockholm is home to major headquarters of large multinationals as well as fast scaling startups such as Spotify, Klarna, and King at a level not seen anywhere except in Silicon Valley,” said Torbjörn Bengtsson of Invest Stockholm.

“In addition to being close to important decision makers within these companies, Stockholm, being an Internet hub with 125 connected networks and all the major carriers, allows data center operators and content providers to connect redundantly to end users in the Nordics as well as Russia.”

Sweden’s innovation and enterprise minister Mikael Damberg sees the investment as an important opportunity for the country, stating it “will strengthen [its] position in the global digital shift.”

“For us, trade in a modern globalized economy is not only about goods, but also about services, sharing of knowledge, and the free flow of data.”

Last year, Amazon reported that its Web Services had passed the million user mark, ten percent of which were enterprise-scale clients. This growing dependence on AWS means that an increasingly large share of corporate revenue hinges on the company’s ability to provide reliable, safe, and fast cloud access, as the recent S3 outage showed: it was estimated that the few hours of downtime in a localized area may have cost S&P 500 index companies over $150 million.