Promising to reduce cloud latency for its Korean customers, Amazon Web Services has launched several cloud data centers in the country, establishing a fifth availability region in Asia Pacific. The other four are Sigapore, Beijing, Tokyo, and Sydney.
The company didn’t specify how many data centers the new region consisted of or where exactly they were in Korea. They’re likely in or just outside of Seoul, since it’s called the Seoul region. The region currently has two availability zones, and each zone usually consists of one or more data centers.
Amazon said existing customers who are either based in Korea or do business in the Korean market have requested that the provider launch physical data centers there. Because of latency and in some cases for data-sovereignty reasons, providing infrastructure cloud services globally has become a race to expand geographic reach of the physical infrastructure that only a few players have the resources to participate in.
So far, Amazon and Microsoft have been the two main contenders in the race. Google, considered to be the third cloud giant, doesn’t have nearly as much of its global data center capacity dedicated to its cloud infrastructure services, which may start to change this year.
IBM, following its acquisition of data center service provider SoftLayer, went on a global cloud data center expansion push last year and the year before. Many others, such as HP and Dell, have dropped out of the race, while big telcos, including CenturyLink, Verizon, and AT&T, are reassessing their future in the cloud and data center services market, exploring alternatives to owning the massive data center portfolios they built out in recent years to chase the cloud opportunity.
The Seoul region brings Amazon’s cloud to 32 availability zones across 12 regions. The company is promising to bring online nine more availability zones in four regions (China, India, Ohio, and the UK) this year.
In the announcement, the cloud giant flaunted two eager Korean customers: a gaming company called Nexon and an asset-management firm called Mirae Asset Global Investments Group.
The former said cloud infrastructure allows it to test new video games for market traction before it commits a lot of money data center infrastructure needed to support them. The latter has already moved all of its web properties from on-prem data centers to AWS. Now that there are AWS data centers in Korea, it is considering the cloud for more mission-critical workloads.