As India starts conversations on whether companies should keep more of their critical data within India, companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) have started offering the option of choosing to keep the data within the boundaries of India. A number of private companies, public sector institutions and even state governments have started opting for this.
But how does Amazon Web Services, the world’s leading vendor of public cloud services, manage its data centres spread across the world?
To start with, it divides its services into its 22 regions around the world, one of which is Mumbai. Within each region, AWS has multiple availability zones, each basically a collection of one or more data centres. Overall, a region is a collection of three or more availability zones — Amazon does not share the number of data centres around Mumbai.
“In India, we have three availability zones. We ensure is that each availability zone is independently fault tolerant,” Manav Sehgal, head of solutions architecture at Public Sector India, Amazon Internet Services Pvt. Ltd (AISPL), explained to The Indian Express. Within the availability zone, AWS ensures that risks like floods are taken into consideration. So if one data centre faces any risk of flooding, the other should have lower risk of flooding. Each availability zone is connected with a very high speed ‘dark fibre’ connectivity.
Where are these data centres?
“We don’t share exact location. Even I don’t know the exact location,” said Sehgal, explaining how Amazon follows the “principle of least privilege”, of the “first principle of security”. “So if I, as a senior executive, don’t need to know where my data centre is, I should not know. If we tell everyone where the data centres are, then that becomes a threat for all our customers,” he said.
Can the customer choose where to keep data?
The customer gets the choice to store data within India or choose to move it outside. This can be done from the AWS console itself by selecting the region. “Customers for whom data sovereignty or data residency within India is important, like government customers, keep it in the Mumbai region,” Sehgal said.