The web hosting arm of Amazon, Amazon Web Services, has announced plans to further expand their operations to the East Coast of the US. The thrust of the plan is a new campus based in Herndon, Northern Virginia.
Who is Amazon Web Services?
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most adopted web services platform. It provides cloud hosting services, storage, databases, networking, backup, content delivery, and everything else a business might need to run their web operations.
AWS launched in 2006, and has data centers all over the world, including locations in Australia, Brazil, Europe, Japan, Signapore, and the United States. A large number of their data centers are in the Northern Virginia area.
Some of the biggest names in the corporate world rely on Amazon Web Services to run their hosting, including Spotify, Airbnb, and Shazam.
Where Are They Expanding?
Amazon Web Services announced a new East Coast corporate campus in Herndon, Fairfax County, Northern Virginia. The 400,000 square foot building, One Dulles Tower, was previously occupied by the contracting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton.
AWS already runs a large data center operation in Northern Virginia were they employ around 7,000 people. Amazon estimates their new campus will create 1,500 new jobs. It will be able to take advantage of Virginia state grants, where companies that create more than 600 jobs go on to receive $7,000 per new job created, up to 1,500 total jobs.
Virginia beat bids from Texas and Washington state to host this project.
Why is AWS Expanding in VA?
This is a tricky one to answer, because Amazon has been pretty secretive about this development. In fact, the announcement was made by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, rather than Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO at Amazon. We don’t know exactly what AWS plans to do with the building, whether it will use it for office space or a data center.
However, we can guess that this gives AWS an opportunity to relaunch their operations on the East Coast. Amazon’s data centers in Virginia have started to age and were blamed for the large outage in February 2017, which made the news in a negative way. AWS relies on these data centers for a large amount of its hosting services, so a nearby campus gives it the chance to be more hands-on.
Amazon Web Services is a huge part of Amazon’s total business. AWS posted $3.66 billion of revenue for Q1 2017, up from $2.57 billion from the same quarter in 2016. It’s a reliable source of revenue for a larger company that likes to take risks.
Why Does it Matter?
This move will provide a massive boost to the Fairfax County area of Northern Virginia. In fact, Fairfax is becoming a tech-hub on the East Coast. DXC Technology has their headquarters there, as do Sogosurvey and others.
If your business is using AWS for its web operations, it could mean better reliability and faster service, if AWS uses the space for hosting servers.
What’s Next for Amazon Web Service?
The one thing you can say about Amazon is that it never stands still. Amazon is the 8th largest employer in the U.S. where it employs over 341,000 people. Amazon started out as an online bookstore in 1994, but is now the world’s largest online retailer, selling a wide variety of products.
AWS already generates huge profits, and will continue to expand to stay ahead of its competitors, Microsoft and IBM, for example. It will continue to bring more blue chip companies on board its web operations. In the last year, AWS has added Ancestry, Hightail, and California Polytechnic State University to the client roster.
Amazon, who likes to keep as much as it can in-house, will use AWS to build its own operations. Amazon recently acquired Whole Foods, so you can imagine that it will be using AWS to improve Whole Foods’ online operation.
AWS has pinpointed AI and machine learning as the next battleground. It wants AWS be the system that powers the latest, most innovative, and world-changing inventions.
With a new East Coast campus, AWS will be in a great position to do that. We’ll keep you updated with developments as they happen.