Public Services > Central Government

AWS creates new UK data centre region

David Bicknell Published 15 December 2016

New UK-based data centres set up to build on appeal to existing AWS public sector customers as DVLA, MoJ, and Peterborough City Council


With Microsoft and IBM recently having made announcements about their UK data centres, this week saw Amazon Web Services announce its own locally situated services are now available to public sector customers from UK data centres.

The company, which says it has more than 100,000 active customers in the UK, including the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Peterborough City Council and the Ministry of Justice from the public sector, has created a new AWS Europe (London) Region, enabling customers to run applications and store data in the UK.

The AWS Europe (London) Region is AWS’s third European region, joining existing regions in Ireland and Germany.

AWS said its London region offers two Availability Zones, which refer to technology infrastructure in separate and distinct geographic locations with enough distance to significantly reduce the risk of a single event impacting availability, yet near enough for business continuity applications that require rapid failover.

The company highlighted the public sector’s use of AWS, “entrusting” it to deliver the highest levels of security and privacy. In terms of the public sector, AWS showcased the role of the DVLA in maintaining accurate and up-to-date records for over 47m drivers and over 39m vehicles and collecting around £6bn a year in Vehicle Excise Duty.

“We welcome the launch of the AWS Europe (London) Region,” said Dave Perry, chief technology officer (CTO) for the DVLA. “As we transform our organisation, and move to the cloud, we continue to protect the personal data of citizens that use our services with exemplary levels of security. The availability of UK-based cloud options supports this move while removing concerns around data residency.”

James Munson, DVSA director of Digital Services and Technology, said, "My priority is to transform and modernise DVSA technology to create a service that focuses on customer needs. After looking at a number of suppliers, Amazon Web Services provided the best cloud-based platform for DVSA to rapidly develop and deploy a modern web-based MOT service.

“We moved to using AWS midway through a complex rollout - and found straight away, it still provides the foundation for a good service a year later. I am pleased that the introduction of this modern digital service means DVSA has played a central role in opening the door for the rest of government to consider this new way of working."

Karen Bradley, secretary of state of Culture Media and Sport said, “I’m delighted to welcome the opening of the UK Amazon Web Services Region, which is a strong endorsement of our approach to the digital economy. The new AWS Region shows a clear confidence in the UK being open for business and one of the best places in the world for technology companies to invest in and grow.”

Liam Maxwell, the government’s National Technology Advisor, said, “We're one of the first governments to implement a cloud-first policy and our reforms have saved more than £3.5bn. We now have a competitive market to deliver cloud services onshore with the scale of AWS, meaning that companies and organizations can benefit from scalable, pay-as-you-go enterprise compute services. In the public sector, the effect on user experience, project delivery timescales, and costs will be marked.”

AWS said in order to meet the special security needs of public sector organisations in the UK with respect to OFFICIAL workloads, it has worked with direct connect partners to make sure that obligations for connectivity to the Public Services Network (PSN) and N3 can be met.  

AWS said it will operate both directly and through third party partners, whichever its customers prefer. Its partners include Claranet, Kainos, KCOM, RackSpace, Splunk, Redcentric, and HeleCloud.




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