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Amazon Web Services outpaces every other public cloud around. Now Amazon is apparently seeking to pick up more of an edge by building a data center in Ohio.

Amazon didn’t exactly issue a press release on this. Instead, Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s office issued a statement yesterday saying that Vadata — a company associated for years with Amazon and tied at one point to Amazon’s Oregon data center — has received a tax credit and data-center sales-tax exemption from the state Tax Credit Authority.

The development would total $1.1 billion, according to local press reports.

The statement noted that the project isn’t a done deal; it would only bring 120 jobs “if Ohio is ultimately chosen for the project.” But at least we know that Amazon’s Vadata is looking seriously at a data center construction project in Ohio.


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One way for cloud providers to stand out amid the fierce competition these days is to have data centers close to customers so that services work fast. Amazon Web Services has previously used geographical expansion as one of its distinguishing factors, having announced recently a China region of data centers and hinted at a new German site. A Midwest site could help Amazon catch up to key competitors Google and Microsoft, which already have a presence in the Central U.S.

And while Amazon’s cloud growth isn’t as large as it was a few years ago, it’s still growing. The storyline is that more staid enterprises are gradually checking out public cloud services, rather than hip startups in coastal cities in the U.S. (Indeed all four of Amazon’s current regions in the country are on the coasts, in Northern California, Northern Virginia, Oregon, and somewhere hidden in the Northwest in the case of the government-focused GovCloud.) So perhaps Amazon wants to respond to that with a facility that could store and serve up data and handle computing jobs quickly for big companies in the middle of the country.

In an email to VentureBeat, an Amazon spokeswoman didn’t confirm or deny the notion that it was building a data center.

“At AWS, we’re constantly looking for opportunities to expand our geographic coverage in order to provide lower latencies, higher operational efficiencies, and additional choice to customers in terms of where they operate their applications and store their data,” the spokeswoman wrote. “Today there are 10 AWS Regions around the world, four of which are in the U.S., and we are constantly evaluating a long list of additional target countries and U.S. locations.”

So while an Amazon Web Services site in the Midwest might not be a sure thing yet, it could just be a matter of time.

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