On November 13th, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced plans to launch a new AWS Infrastructure in Italy’s Lombardy region by 2020. This will be Amazon’s first cloud computing region in Italy and its 6th in Europe. Start-ups, governments and educational institutions will benefit from improved access to AWS servers, storage, databases and a broad set of application services.
What exactly is cloud computing? It’s a software service that provides on-demand delivery of computer power and a variety of IT resources through a cloud services platform. This means companies can avoid investing in expensive and clunky hardware. Moreover, firms only pay for what they use, thereby minimizing costs. Given the increasing digitisation of information and services, this resource is essential for organizations that want to scale their activities, reduce inefficiencies, and maintain a high level of data security.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has invested in Italy. In 2012, AWS established an infrastructure Point of Presence (PoP) in Milan. This site delivers Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, AWS Shield, and AWS WAF to organizations across Italy. Furthermore, in 2016, AWS acquired NICE Software, an Italian-based company that specialised in grid and cloud solutions for companies. Amazon also has a team of account managers, solutions architects, business developers and consultants, that provide various forms of customer services in both Milan and Rome.
This new initiative will consist of three Availability Zones in Lombardy. One of its primary goals is to lower latency for businesses’ local customers. It will also allow Italian users to store data in Italy and maintain control over the location of that data. If businesses build applications that meet the requirements of GDPR, they will be able to access other secure AWS infrastructure regions in the European Union. Lastly, AWS will help organizations capitalize on the benefits of advanced analytical tools, AI, the Internet of Things and machine learning.
Prior to this announcement, many of Italy’s most successful businesses, start-ups and educational institutions were already relying on AWS. In the company’s press release, Andy Jassy, Chief Executive Officer of Amazon Web Services, stated “We’ve been amazed with how Italian companies have invented on top of AWS thus far, but believe an AWS Region in Italy makes it even easier for Italian companies and government organizations to reinvent and evolve customer and citizen experiences for many decades to come.”
Numerous Italian businesses have welcomed AWS expansion plans. For example, Pirelli, one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers, has used AWS to build its Cyber Car and Cyber Fleet applications, which transmit data from tire sensors to a driver’s mobile device. This innovation has helped increase driver safety and improve vehicles’ efficiency. As explained by Daniele Benedetti, Head of ICT Architectures and Innovation at Pirelli, “AWS is a critical component of our innovation strategy so having a region in Italy will only accelerate our innovation and transform our business.”
In addition, governments, start-ups and educational institutions will profit from better access to AWS. Already, The National Institute for Astrophysics has used AWS to support its research endeavours, and the City of Cagliari harnessed AWS technology to support municipal elections last year. As well, numerous start-ups have gotten a leg up by participating in AWS Activate, a program that provides entrepreneurs with exclusive guidance from AWS experts, web-based training, third-party offers, and customer support.
At a time when economic growth has stagnated, and unemployment is high, AWS Italian expansion could provide a much needed boon to the country. Currently, Italy ranks 31st in the Global Innovation Index, behind other South EU countries such as Malta, France, Cyprus and Spain. With improved access to cloud computing services, Italian firms may find it easier to conduct research and develop innovative goods and services that can compete in the global marketplace.