Amazon, Microsoft Take Cloud Services To France

Amazon and Microsoft have expanded their cloud footprint over the past week by unveiling plans to expand their data centers in France, a new battleground in the cloud wars.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced on Friday that it would open a new AWS cloud region in France, while also unveiling a new GPU-powered cloud. GPU, or graphics processing unit, that acts as a catalyst to accelerate large cloud-based computations. It differs from the more traditional CPU, or central processing unit, by running multiple tasks simultaneously instead of in sequential number.

First associated with the gaming industry, GPU now accelerates large-scale computer workloads such as Big Data processing. Cloud computing propelled by GPU is an integral component for artificial intelligence, as well as other large-scale computations such as genomics or seismic analysis.

Amazon also unveiled new backup options to help restore AWS cloud services in case of disaster.  

Amazon Web Services now computes in 13 regions with 35 Availability Zones, AWS’ data centers, in each one. With Friday’s announcement, AWS hopes to pop online in France sometime in 2017 with three supporting data centers. This will be Amazon’s fourth region in Europe, and the company also plans to open new regions in Canada, China, the United States (Ohio) and the UK this year.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft announced plans to open new data centers in France on Monday as well. The new Azure data center farm is planned to come online in Paris sometime in 2017, and Microsoft has spent $3 billion on expanding its cloud presence in Europe to date.

Cloud companies are expanding their digital footprint to capture growth in cloud use in Europe, but also to abide by digital sovereignty regulations in some European countries, including Germany and France, that require a customer’s data to be stored in the same country it originated from.

Cloud adoption in France has increased 88% year-over-year, according to an IDC InfoBrief study sponsored by Cisco. Sixty-seven percent of French companies used some form of a public or private cloud this year, compared to only 36% in 2016.

This huge growth mirrors global averages with worldwide public cloud spending expected to double by 2019 and reach $195 billion by 2020, according to the IDC.  


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