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Amazon Web Services has opened a London region, offering UK-based companies and their end-users lower latency than they may have experienced using more distant regions, and keeping sensitive data local. The new Europe (London) region, which embraces two availability zones, will offer a wide range of AWS services. It was announced just over a year ago.

AWS just last week opened its first Canadian region, and both AWS and its major competitors are racing to build out new data centers worldwide as the cloud-computing movement continues to grow.

In Europe, AWS also maintains an EU (Ireland) region outside Dublin and an EU (Frankfurt) region in Germany.

More than 100,000 UK organizations are already using AWS, the company said. The new region is served by more than 30 AWS partners offering consulting and specialized assistance — for example, by sector. The UK government itself has a cloud-first policy, said Liam Maxwell, its national technology advisor.

“All around us, we see that the AWS capabilities foster a culture of experimentation with businesses of all sizes,” said Amazon CTO Werner Vogels in a blog post. “I have been humbled by just how much our UK customers have been able to achieve using AWS technology so far.”

AWS defines availability zones as separate and distinct geographic locations far enough apart significantly reduce the risk of a single event’s impacting availability, yet near enough for business continuity in applications that require rapid failover. Each availability zone has independent power, cooling and physical security and is connected via redundant, low-latency networks.

The UK has been a particular focal point for cloud growth. IBM last month said it will triple the number of data centers it has there by building four new ones. Microsoft since September has maintained two Azure regions in the UK, dubbed West and South. Google Cloud offers three western Europe regions, though all are based in St. Ghislain, Belgium.

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