Cloud

Brexit: Amazon UK cloud chief says 'keep calm and carry on'

At the AWS Summit 2016, Gavin Jackson said the company would continue with plans to build out a UK region, and urged customers to continue innovating in the UK.

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Image: iStockphoto/liorpt

Amazon Web Services (AWS) will continue with plans to build out a UK region for its cloud services, despite the recent vote by Britain to leave the European Union. Gavin Jackson, the managing director of AWS in the UK and Ireland, made the announcement Thursday at the 2016 AWS Summit in London, and urged customers to continue investing in the area as well.

"We will continue our path to launch a UK region at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year," Jackson said. "Our message to the people in this room is to keep calm and carry on innovating with AWS."

Plans for the latest AWS UK region were first announced by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels in November 2015. The region, which will complement existing regions in Frankfurt, Germany and Dublin, Ireland, will be completed sometime later this year or in early 2017.

"Post Brexit vote, I wanted to reassure our customers we see the UK as a fast innovator, a huge talent pool and a fast adopter of technology trends," Jackson said.

Amazon announced that, in addition to honoring its commitment to create 2,500 jobs in the UK this year, it would add another 1,000 permanent roles in the UK.

"It's a huge investment that Amazon has made in the UK. These are Silicon Valley jobs in the heart of Britain," said Doug Gurr, UK country manager, adding that these jobs ranged from machine learning and data scientists to cloud computing specialists and software engineers. Amazon runs R&D hubs out of Cambridge, London, and Edinburgh that work on projects ranging from its Amazon Prime Air drone program to its Alexa Voice Service.

The vote of confidence in the UK shown by Jackson hasn't been echoed by many other enterprises. The confusion and uncertainty created by the Brexit has led many companies to question how, if at all, business will change in the UK.

SEE: Brexit: Global business executives sound off on how they will respond (Techrepublic)

Companies such as SugarCRM have developed a global Brexit Task Force to handle all the perceived changes that may come with the decision. Other companies like Unisys see the changes as a potential in-road for new business solutions. Vodafone, one of the largest tech firms located in Britain is considering moving its headquarters out of the UK.

Analysts have been quick to warn against the dangers presented by the Brexit. A new Gartner report, also released on Thursday, projects that the Brexit will affect global IT spending negatively.

"With the UK's exit, there will likely be an erosion in business confidence and price increases which will impact U.K., Western Europe and worldwide IT spending," said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner.

In addition to spending and pricing changes, the talent pool is also projected to be affected by the Brexit decision. In a previous interview with Laura Koetzle, vice president and group director for Forrester, she said directly: "Digital and customer-facing talent will migrate out of the UK."

With all the cautioning coming from the tech sector, it may be difficult for AWS customer to heed Jackson's advice to "keep calm and carry on."

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. AWS cloud chief in the UK, Gavin Jackson, said that AWS would continue its plans to build a UK region despite the Brexit vote, and he encouraged customers to continue investing in the UK.
  2. Brexit has created a lot of uncertainty among companies in, or doing business in the UK, and many are responding more negatively to the vote. Vodafone is even considering moving out of the UK as a result.
  3. The Brexit decision will likely affect the tech sector in the UK in a few ways, but exactly how remains to be seen. Pricing, spending, and talent will probably be the most affected.

Nick Heath also contributed to this report.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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