Written by Andre Tupara Morrison, December 2023
AWS are working to open data centres in New Zealand
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been granted permission to build a number of data centres in Aotearoa with the goal of opening a new cloud region in New Zealand in 2024. In this post, I’ll be discussing what’s happening and what it means for the average kiwi and local business owner.
AWS are working to create a new Asia Pacific (Auckland) Region which will consist of three availability zones. To build this infrastructure, it’s estimated AWS will be investing around $7.5 billion NZD.
An AWS Region is a physical location around the world where AWS have a cluster of data centres. Each cluster is known as an Availability Zone (AZ) and each AWS Region consists of multiple, isolated, and physically separate AZs. Here in New Zealand, it’s understood the data centres are being built in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.
One obvious benefit of an Auckland region is improved disaster recovery or DR. Currently your data is likely hosted in the Sydney Region. In the event of an outage in one region, AWS will automatically switch you to another until the usual service can be restored. If Sydney was to go offline, the next nearest Region is in Singapore, which has significantly higher latency for New Zealand users. From 2024, you’ll be able to utilise a better multi-region approach, drawing on the data centres in Auckland and Sydney.
Each AZ has independent power, cooling, and physical security and is connected via redundant, ultra-low-latency networks. AZs are also physically separated by a meaningful distance whilst typically being within 100 km of each other. Think fast and safe!
Data is crucial for every business and where that data is physically processed and stored is of the utmost importance to some customers. Particularly so for Māori and government entities, but there are also private companies who want their data residing in Aotearoa.
When the AWS Auckland Region comes online, customers that use the region will get peace of mind knowing they will be able to process and store data in New Zealand. Previously this has only been possible through local data centres, which do not have the breadth of services available on AWS.
What it will mean for the average user and business
Whilst you likely won’t notice your Netflix loading faster – Auckland already has an AWS Point of Presence (PoP) where data is cached locally – you will benefit from the increased resilience that comes from having a local AWS Auckland Region.
In the event of a large disaster impacting APAC, our businesses and users will be better placed to remain online and available. Just last year, Tonga lost its connection to the outside world for 38 days due to a volcanic eruption. With a fully-fledged AWS Region within our borders, Kiwis will still be able to access key services hosted in the cloud.
Finally, creating an Auckland Region will see significant investment in local infrastructure. Whilst the estimated number of jobs created varies, each data centre will require significant investment to develop, build and maintain – which has to be good for the New Zealand economy.
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