Amazon Web Services to Invest Billions in Calgary Cloud Hub | RENX
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is poised to give Alberta’s small but growing tech sector a huge boost. The global cloud services and infrastructure giant will create a new Calgary-based AWS Canada West region.
Over the next 16 years, AWS says Canada West and the established region of Central Canada (based in Montreal) are expected to create more than 5,000 jobs and result in an investment of over $ 21 billion (all figures are Canadian ).
Of that, about $ 4.3 billion is expected to be spent on Calgary-based operations – the largest technology investment in the province’s history. In total, AWS says the investment in the Calgary operation could create more than 950 new full-time equivalent jobs.
AWS did not provide any details on the breakdown of this overall investment figure (construction and infrastructure costs, salaries, materials, operations, etc.).
âWith another AWS Region in Canada, customers will see even lower latency for emerging solutions such as 5G-enabled applications and machine learning at the edge, and this will strengthen their ability to design their regional infrastructure for tolerance to even greater outages, resiliency and availability. â, Said Prasad Kalyanaraman, vice president of infrastructure services at AWS, in Monday’s announcement. âWe’re excited to build a world-class infrastructure to help organizations reinvent the way they deliver solutions to customers and fuel economic growth. “
Amazon has already innovated on the first installation.
The AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region
AWS Canada West will enable more customers to run their applications and serve end users from data centers located in Canada. AWS expects the infrastructure to be operational by the end of 2023 or early 2024.
The region will consist of three so-called Availability Zones (AZ), which will join the existing three Canadian AZs operated from the central Canadian hub.
Availability Zones involve infrastructures placed in separate geographic locations.
âAvailability Zones are far enough apart to support customer business continuity, but close enough to provide low latency for high availability applications that use multiple Availability Zones,â Amazon said in the announcement.
âEach 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 for even greater fault tolerance.
âThe AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region will allow customers with data residence preferences to securely store data in Canada while providing even lower latency across the country and greater flexibility to run applications in several regions. “
The global structure of AWS
Globally, AWS has 81 Availability Zones in 25 geographic regions. It plans to launch 27 additional AZ and nine additional AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
âThis major investment from AWS demonstrates once again that Alberta is emerging as a dominant player in digital technology and innovation. This multi-billion dollar data center project in our province highlights the work Invest Alberta is doing to create jobs and diversify the economy, âAlberta Premier Jason Kenney said in the announcement.
AWS already has a large Canadian customer base, including companies and organizations such as Air Canada, Athabasca University, BMO Financial Group, Canada Border Services Agency, Hootsuite, Humber College, NHL, lululemon Athletica, Sun Life and more.
While the data centers and related infrastructure are water intensive facilities, Amazon has two renewable energy projects under development in Alberta. They are part of its commitment to achieve net zero carbon in all of its business operations by 2040.
Amazon’s first Canadian renewable energy project is an 80 MW solar site in Newell County. When completed, it will provide the grid with approximately 195,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy per year (enough to power over 18,000 homes for a year).
In June 2021, Amazon announced its largest renewable energy project in Canada – a 375 MW solar farm at Vulcan. When it goes live in 2022, the project will bring Amazon’s capacity in Canada to over one million MWh (enough to power more than 100,000 Canadian homes for a year).
Amazon in Canada
AWS also launched five Amazon CloudFront edge locations in the Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal regions. Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network for data, video, applications, and APIs to users around the world with low latency and high transfer speeds.
Amazon opened technology hubs in Toronto and Vancouver for developers, engineers, sales, marketing and business development professionals, and opened the AWS Thinkbox office in Winnipeg focused on developing solutions and services for the creative industry.
In March 2021, Amazon Games launched a new development studio in Montreal.
Amazon’s e-commerce operation also currently has 17 distribution centers, six sorting centers and 35 delivery stations across the country.
It employs over 39,500 full and part-time employees and has announced plans to create thousands more jobs nationwide through its operating network.