The FINANCIAL — Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company, on December 8 announced the launch of the AWS Canada (Central) Region.
With this launch, AWS now provides 40 Availability Zones across 15 technology infrastructure regions globally, with another seven Availability Zones and three regions in the UK, France, and China expected to come online in the coming months. Tens of thousands of Canadian customers are using other AWS Regions and starting today, developers, start-ups, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and non-profit organizations can leverage the AWS Cloud to run their applications and store their data on infrastructure in Canada.
The AWS Canada (Central) Region offers two Availability Zones at launch. AWS Regions are comprised of 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. Each Availability Zone has independent power, cooling, physical security, and is connected via redundant, ultra-low-latency networks. AWS customers focused on high availability can architect their applications to run in multiple Availability Zones to achieve even higher fault-tolerance. AWS also provides two Amazon CloudFront edge locations in Toronto and Montreal for customers looking to deliver websites, applications, and content to Canadian end users with low latency. These locations are part of AWS’s existing network of 68 edge sites across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, according to Amazon.
The new AWS Canada (Central) Region continues the company’s focus on delivering cloud technologies to customers in an environmentally friendly way. AWS data centers in Canada will draw from a regional electricity grid that is 99 percent powered by hydropower.
“For many years, we’ve had an enthusiastic base of customers in Canada choosing the AWS Cloud because it has more functionality than other cloud platforms, an extensive APN Partner and customer ecosystem, as well as unmatched maturity, security, and performance,” said Andy Jassy, CEO, AWS. “Our Canadian customers and APN Partners asked us to build AWS infrastructure in Canada, so they can run their mission-critical workloads and store sensitive data on AWS infrastructure located in Canada. A local AWS Region will serve as the foundation for new cloud initiatives in Canada that can transform business, customer experiences, and enhance the local economy.”
“The digital economy is now the economy itself. Virtually every sector of the economy is propelled by digital technologies, which are being enabled by cloud computing,” said Navdeep Singh Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development in Canada. “The rapidly growing demand for digital services is one reason for the significant investment that Amazon Web Services is making in Canada. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I congratulate Amazon on the success of its cloud business and welcome the expansion of Amazon Web Services in this country.”
“Significant projects like the one being realized by Amazon Web Services represent the kind of large-scale investment that take Quebec a long way toward its goals in the digital world. Indeed, this initiative will stimulate the development of cloud computing in Quebec, a key area that can be an engine for our province’s information technology and communication sector,” declared Dominique Anglade, Minister of the Economy, Science, and Innovation in Quebec, and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy.
All AWS infrastructure regions around the world are designed, built, and regularly audited to meet rigorous compliance standards and provide high levels of security for all AWS customers. These include ISO 27001, SOC 1 (Formerly SAS 70), SOC 2 and SOC 3 Security & Availability, PCI-DSS Level 1 and many more. With AWS, customers are in control of their data and choose the AWS Region(s) where they want their data stored. Data does not move between AWS Regions unless the customer chooses to do so, and AWS provides a variety of options – both from AWS and APN Partners – enabling customers to encrypt their data in motion or at rest if they desire.
Customers and APN Partners Welcome the AWS Canada (Central) Region
For more than a decade, AWS has changed the way organizations acquire technology infrastructure. AWS customers are not required to make any up-front financial or long-term commitments, paying on demand for the IT resources they use rather than incurring large capital expenses. This enables them to scale quickly by adding or shedding resources at any time, accelerate their time to market with innovative applications, and free up limited engineering resources from the undifferentiated heavy lifting of running backend infrastructure—often while significantly improving operational performance, reliability, and security in the process. This has led to more than two million1 active customers using the AWS Cloud each month in over 190 countries around the world.
Salesforce, the Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM company, will leverage AWS Cloud infrastructure for a new Canada-based instance for its core services, starting in mid-2017. “Partnering with AWS in Canada will enable us to continue to deliver trusted solutions to our customers in the region with high levels of reliability, performance, and security,” said Richard Eyram, Area Vice President, Salesforce Canada.
National Bank of Canada, one of Canada’s leading financial services organizations with over CAD$219 billion in assets, chose the AWS Cloud to help it collect and process a fast-growing volume of stock-market financial data. “The application we were using wasn’t effective. We were only able to answer 10 percent of the questions we wanted to answer. We also couldn’t process historical data, which we needed to do in order to get more context. The speed and performance of AWS is impressive and data manipulation processes that once took days are now done in one minute,” said Pascal Bergeron, Director of Algorithmic Trading for the bank’s Global Equity Derivatives Group. “We have been able to better serve our customers and have improved and optimized trading operations, therefore generating more revenue for National Bank of Canada.”
Porter Airlines is an award-winning regional airline headquartered in Toronto that provides flights to over 23 destinations in Canada and the United States. Porter needed the ability to respond instantly to fluctuating load demands on their public site with a scalable and low-cost solution. Porter needed the ability to store large datasets, transform them, and make them available to other applications and end users for analytics and actions. Porter looked to AWS and services like Amazon Redshift to provide the scalable highly available infrastructure required to meet these goals. “Amazon solved a lot of our problems around scale. Specifically, with our data, AWS answered the questions we used to have to figure out ourselves – like how do we scale our massive data store, how do we access it quickly, how do we keep it secure – and they gave us the solution needed,” said Dan Donovan, CIO for Porter Airlines. “So, we now have the time, freedom and confidence to concentrate on how to make our passengers’ experiences better. Using AWS is one of the main ways we do this, and now that AWS has opened a local region in Canada, we can move even more of our systems to the AWS Cloud and put more focus on enhancing passenger experience.”
Lululemon is a technical athletic apparel company that makes technical athletic clothes for yoga, running, working out, and most other sweaty pursuits. Based in Vancouver, they started out of a yoga studio and quickly became a global retailer and community hub for encouraging healthy lifestyles and habits. In order to rapidly build and deploy their digital marketing properties for the 2016 holiday season, Lululemon leveraged AWS CloudFormation, AWS Lambda, and AWS ElasticBeanstalk to streamline the management, deployment, and continuous delivery of their application. “Leveraging AWS allows us to spend more time focusing on what truly differentiates us in the market, rather than on maintaining custom infrastructure solutions,” said Sam Keen, Director of Product Architecture. “AWS Services are highly performant and easily choreographed, allowing us to measure deployments in minutes or even seconds. We see competing cloud providers cloning AWS services but we remain with AWS since they are far in the lead and continue to accelerate the release of new services and regions, now with an AWS Region in Canada, which only serves to continue to enhance the value of their offerings.”
D2L (formerly Desire2Learn), a learning technology leader, recently chose AWS as its strategic cloud infrastructure service provider. “By leveraging built-in AWS Cloud services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Elasticsearch, and the suite of AWS analytics and security services, D2L is accelerating our innovation and global expansion in a cost-effective way to serve millions of learners,” said Nick Oddson, CTO of D2L. “Serving our customers from AWS locations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and now Canada, learners everywhere can have an exceptional learning experience on Brightspace, our award-winning LMS. With AWS’s reliability, security, and availability, D2L will continue to provide our high level of service and a global, end-to-end security approach, now on one trusted infrastructure,” said Oddson.
Sequence Bio is a data-driven biotechnology company in Newfoundland and Labrador. “Sequence Bio hopes to obtain approval to embark on a 100,000 person genome sequencing project in Newfoundland and Labrador that deals with sensitive genomic and health information – having a new AWS Region allows us to build and deploy our platform and keep data 100 percent in Canada,” said Dan Brake, Director of Technology Development, Sequence Bio.
Postmedia is one of the largest news media companies in Canada with more than 200 brands across multiple print, online, and mobile platforms. “As one of the earliest adopters of cloud computing in Canada, we have utilized AWS for years – and it has delivered on the promise of a powerful, cost-effective, flexible and innovative cloud offering for us,” said Thomas Jankowski, EVP and Chief Digital Officer, Postmedia. “We are excited that AWS is bringing even more capabilities to market in Canada, just in time for our B2B platform build out of the Postmedia Innovation Outpost at Communitech (Waterloo, ON).”
Investing in Canada’s Cloud Future
The AWS Partner Network (APN) includes tens of thousands of independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators (SIs) around the world, with APN Partner participation in Canada growing significantly over the past 12 months. APN Partners build innovative solutions and services on the AWS Cloud and the APN helps by providing those partners with business, technical, marketing, and go-to-market (GTM) support. APN SIs such as Accenture, Deloitte, Scalar Decisions, TriNimbus, Slalom Consulting, iTMethods, and Softchoice are helping enterprise and public sector customers migrate to AWS, deploy mission-critical applications on AWS, and provide a full range of monitoring, automation, and management services for customers’ AWS environments. AWS ISVs in Canada including Salesforce.com, NuData Security, Acquia, Silanis, OpenText, Splunk, Adobe, and NthGen Software will be able to serve their Canadian customers from the AWS Canada (Central) Region. Customers can easily find, trial, deploy, and buy software solutions for the AWS Cloud on the AWS Marketplace.
AWS offers a full range of training and certification programs to help Canadian professionals who are interested in the latest cloud computing technologies, best practices, and architectures, advance their technical skills. Additionally, the AWS Educate program promotes cloud learning in the classroom and has been adopted by more than 500 institutions worldwide. The program helps to provide an academic gateway for the next generation of IT and cloud professionals. The AWS Activate program provides Canadian-based startups with the resources they need to quickly get started on AWS and scale their businesses. AWS has teamed with accelerators, incubators, Seed/VC Funds, and startup-enabling organizations such as FounderFuel, Real Ventures, the Business Development Bank of Canada, iNovia Capital, OMERS Ventures, and others that provide a range of services including training, AWS credits, capital, in-person technical support, and other benefits.