AWS pledges $35 billion of additional investment for Virginia data centers


Amazon Web Services has confirmed it plans to invest a further $35 billion by 2040 in Virginia, expanding its US-EAST-1 region by establishing multiple data center campuses across the state and creating 1,000 new jobs.

Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin announced the news on January 20, saying he was excited that AWS has chosen to continue its growth in the region.

“Virginia will continue to encourage the development of this new generation of data center campuses across multiple regions of the Commonwealth,” he said in a statement.

Additionally, pending approval by state lawmakers, Virginia will develop a new “Mega Data Center Incentive Program,” which would include a 15-year extension of Data Center Sales and Use tax exemptions on equipment and software for AWS, and make the company eligible to receive a custom performance grant of up to $140 million for site and infrastructure improvements, workforce development, and other project-related costs.

The cloud services arm of Amazon first established a presence in the region back in 2006. In an Economic Impact Study published by AWS in 2021, the company claimed that between 2011 to 2020 it had invested $35 billion in data centers located in northern Virginia, employing around 3,500 full time staff at its data centers in the state.

However, despite being the oldest AWS region, US-EAST-1 is perhaps better known for the outages it has suffered over the last couple of years.

In July 2022, downtime in the region caused increased error rates and latencies for the EC2 APIs. The company attributed the outage to a loss of power that impacted part of a single data center in the availability zone.

Six months before that, in December 2021, AWS suffered two outages in its North Virginia region, disrupting services for more than six hours, impacting thousands of customers including Delta, Southwest Airlines, and Spotify and causing the company’s Alexa voice service and Ring security cameras to be knocked offline.

According to the AWS status dashboard after the incident: “The issue was caused by network congestion between parts of the AWS Backbone and a subset of Internet Service Providers, which was triggered by AWS traffic engineering, executed in response to congestion outside of our network.”

Shortly before this, in September 2021, AWS US-EAST-1 faced a series of failures over the course of eight hours, impacting AWS services such as Redshift, OpenSearch, ElastiCache, and RDS databases, and applications such as Signal and the New York Times Games page.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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