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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The new AWS Europe (Zurich) Region and 16 years of Swiss innovation


Some time ago, I wrote to you about our plans to launch a new AWS Region in Switzerland. The wait is over. Starting today, you can now use the AWS Europe (Zurich) Region.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how the cloud, and more specifically AWS, has evolved since we first launched in 2006. Back then the cloud was a place. It was a single spot that you could point to on a map. For Amazon, that place was us-east-1 in North Virginia. Now the cloud is everywhere – it is around us. AWS covers 6 continents, 28 Regions, and 90 Availability Zones. Access to infrastructure is no longer a bottleneck for innovation. But this wasn’t always the case.

For a long time, the biggest constraint on innovation was the cost to purchase and operate hardware at scale. With the cloud, this constraint disappeared almost overnight. Hardware became a programmable resource that you could spin up and spin down at a moment’s notice. AWS gave you access to as much capacity as you wanted, whenever you wanted it – and for the first time, it was affordable. If you can imagine it, back in 2006 we only had a single EC2 instance, the m1.small. Today, there are well over 500 instances, everything from massive memory machines to Apple M1s (and for the history buffs, here is a timeline of EC2 releases).

We have never looked back. We have never stopped innovating for our customers.

Something that I have noticed over the years, is that the ideas that dramatically change the way that we think about or do things are rarely novel. Rather, they are often a combination of an existing concept with a new approach, a new technology, a new capability.

While I was in Zurich for Swiss Cloud Day, I had a chance to meet with Verity, an AWS customer that is reimagining warehouse logistics. Now, we all know that using robotic systems in warehouses is nothing new – we use them extensively at Amazon. They help humans sort items into bins, pick products off of shelves, and automatically package them for delivery. However, Verity is building on this.

They have created a fully autonomous inventory management system. Self-flying drones equipped with environmental sensors and cameras can continuously monitor a warehouse providing real-time inventory tracking that is extremely accurate. In many cases, it completely removes the need to manually count stock and reduces the need to run machinery associated with it. This frees up staff to perform more valuable tasks, reduces risk, and saves power at the same time. And this is just the start, more data will reveal additional insights and opportunities for customers. AWS is providing the services that allow Verity to focus on making warehouses greener, safer, and more efficient, not on running and maintaining infrastructure.

If I’m being honest, this is the type of innovation I’ve come to expect from our Swiss customers. You’ve been with us from our earliest days and I’m excited to see what you build next.

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