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AWS announces plans to open infrastructure region in Alberta

Amazon Web Services (AWS) yesterday announced it is opening a second infrastructure region in Canada, the AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region, which will be located in Alberta and will open in late 2023/early 2024. 

The company says it plans to invest over CA$4 billion in the newly announced region by 2037. This will include capital expenditures on the construction of data centers, operational expenses such as ongoing utilities and facility costs, and purchases of goods and services from regional businesses, a spokesperson for AWS told IT World Canada

The upcoming region will consist of three Availability Zones (AZs) at launch. It joins the existing AWS Canada (Central) Region in Montreal, which also consists of three AZs. AZs place infrastructure in separate and distinct geographic locations, the company explained, far enough from each other to support customers’ business continuity needs but close enough to provide low latency for high availability applications that use multiple AZs. Each zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security, and is connected through redundant, ultra-low latency networks. AWS customers focused on high availability can design their applications to run in multiple AZs to achieve greater fault tolerance.   

With the new region, the company says it aims to provide customers with lower latency, greater fault tolerance, and resiliency for critical cloud workloads. It will enable even more developers, startups, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and nonprofit organizations, to run their applications and serve end-users from data centres located in Canada. 

“This major investment from AWS again demonstrates that Alberta is establishing itself as a dominant player in digital technology and innovation. This multi-billion-dollar data center project in our province underscores the work being done by Invest Alberta to create jobs and diversify the economy,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in a Nov. 8 press release. “I look forward to working with AWS on this project and seeing how it will strengthen Alberta’s information technology and communication sector.”   

Economic Impact Study released

AWS also released an economic impact study (EIS) estimating that the company’s spending on construction and the operation of the new AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region and the existing AWS Canada (Central) Region in Montreal will together create more than 5,000 new jobs, with an estimated investment of over CA$21 billion in the local economies by 2037. The company says it estimates the two infrastructure regions will add CA$39 billion to Canada’s GDP over the same time period. The EIS also estimates that the new AWS Region will bring direct and indirect economic benefits like new employment and sales for the data centre supply chain and related sectors in Canada. Investment in the new region is estimated to create over 950 new full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in Canada, according to the company. 

“Our infrastructure in Canada has allowed customers to transform the way businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies serve their stakeholders. With another AWS Region in Canada, customers will see even lower latency for emerging solutions like 5G-enabled applications and machine learning at the edge, and it will strengthen their ability to architect their regional infrastructure for even greater fault tolerance, resiliency, and availability,” noted Prasad Kalyanaraman, vice president of infrastructure services at AWS. “We are excited to build world-class infrastructure to help organizations reinvent how they deliver customer solutions and fuel economic growth.” 

This is the third big investment Amazon has made in Alberta this year. In April 2021, the company announced its first renewable energy investment in Canada, an 80MW solar project with the capacity to power more than 18,000 Canadian homes for a year, in the County of Newell, Alberta.


Amazon announces first renewable energy project in Canada

Soon after that, in June, the company announced its second renewable energy project in Canada—a 375 MW solar farm in Vulcan, Alberta. When it comes online next year, Amazon says the project will bring its capacity in Canada to more than 1 million MWhs, which is enough to power more than 100,000 Canadian homes for a year.

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