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23 Jan 2023

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The $35 Billion AWS Data Center Initiative Reflects Growing Metaverses and AI

Northern Virginia, or NOVA, is already the most densely built-out data center region in the United States and the world, by a large margin, due to its high-speed connectivity and low latency, and proximity to Washington, DC and its vast governmental footprint.

Success breeds success in this case, with the news that AWS plans to spend $35 billion in building new data centers in the region within the next 15 years.

Gartner research shows a little more than $200 billion is spent on data centers worldwide each year. The US likely commands about 40% of that total, making Amazon's new annual commitment comprise about 3% of the overall US spend. Consider that with public clouds still handling only about 15% of enterprise IT workloads, and AWS handling about one-third of that, one could argue that the newly announced $35 billion commitment is warranted.

To concentrate this much firepower in a single area, though, does get people's attention. There are tax and other financial incentives within that period, to be sure. But the rising, exponentially high tide of coming AI-driven and metaverse applications and environments no doubt informed Amazon management's thinking as well.

Zettabyte Upon Zettabyte
There are very large numbers being thrown around about the current amount of data in the world and the amount to be created in coming years. The world entered The Zettabyte Era in 2016, when a zettabyte (1 million petabytes) of data was processed by the Internet worldwide. Tens of zettabytes already sit in storage somewhere, and this number is expected to rise to 150 zettabytes by 2025.

The use of large-scale AI environments and creation of industrial metaverses can only stimulate an even more robust environment for data creation and analysis. The world leader in public cloud computing, AWS, does not want to get caught short a few years down the road, particularly in NOVA.

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