AWS earmarks US$8.8 billion to expand cloud infrastructure in Australia
- The investment is for AWS to expand its cloud computing operations in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, and to run its data centers entirely on renewable energy.
- The investment in the expansion and operation of the two centers will bring in 11,000 full-time-equivalent positions.
- AWS has also been expanding to “local zone” services that provide similar cloud services to people in Perth, with Brisbane set to be announced soon.
In January this year, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing arm of Amazon, launched its second AWS infrastructure Region in Australia—the AWS Asia Pacific (Melbourne) Region. The second Australian region came 11 years after AWS’s first cloud infrastructure in the country, the Sydney region.
The AWS Sydney region has been in place since 2012, and according to the cloud computing giant, an estimated US$6 billion was spent in the decade since the launch. As for the Melbourne region, AWS stated in January that it plans to invest an estimated US$4.5 billion until 2037. Less than three months following the announcement, AWS set forth another investment round of more than US$8.9 billion (AU$13 billion) for the next five years.
AWS shared that the added investment in Australia is so it can expand its cloud computing operations in both Melbourne and Sydney while working towards running its data centers entirely on renewable energy. The company estimated that the investment in the expansion and function of the two centers would bring in 11,000 full-time-equivalent positions.
That would include direct employees, contractors, construction, maintenance, engineering, and communications suppliers. According to the Australia and New Zealand country director at AWS Worldwide Public Sector, Iain Rouse, the company had spent US$419 million (AU$620 million) on network infrastructure, such as fiber links, on top of covering a variety of needs of both data centers.
The customers of AWS in Australia include Atlassian, Qantas, NAB, and government agencies, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, NSW Health Pathology, and the Western Australian Department of Education. Rouse reckons companies in Sydney and Melbourne were choosing where to host their services based on their customers’ locations.
“If I can give you a faster transaction, to book a flight or book a rideshare or do banking … I can make a decision to [host] from Melbourne or [host] from Sydney,” he added. To top it off, AWS has also been expanding to “local zone” services that provide similar cloud services to people in Perth, with Brisbane set to be announced soon.
So far, AWS has offices in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and Canberra and will soon have a combined AWS and Amazon retail office in Melbourne by late 2023. In welcoming the investment this week, Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, shared how “Economic and infrastructure investment from cloud providers like AWS helps create jobs, advances digital skills, boosts innovation, and uplifts local communities and businesses.”
He also acknowledged AWS’s investment into the nation over the past decade. He welcomed its planned investment over the next five years, the full-time jobs supported annually, and its contribution to the nation’s GDP. In May 2022, AWS announced that its first Australian utility-scale renewable energy projects have begun delivering clean energy to the Australian grid.
Amazon–its parent company–has estimated it will reach 100% renewable energy by 2025. The company so far has two solar farms in regional New South Wales (NSW) – one in Gunnedah and another in Suntop. Those two generate 392,000MWh of energy each year, making up the 310 renewable energy projects across 19 countries Amazon has.
Separately, a wind farm built in Hawkesdale in regional Victoria will bring in another 717,000MWh when operational, powering Amazon’s operations. “I think there’ll always be more for us to do around space, but these are physical facilities in Australia,” Rouse said.
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