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Weather Update: Amazon’s Cloud Has Covered Europe

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Amazon has upgraded the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with the option to create EC2 instances in different regions. The first to benefit from this is Europe which has requested the change due to latency and regulations issues.

Amazon’s EC2 service has been improved to support separate instances in geographically different regions. Currently, two regions are available: US and Europe. According to Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon, this helps with:

  1. Lower latency from EC2 instances to their clients. The European Region can be accessed with low latency from all major European network hubs.
  2. Low latency access to data stored in the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). A large number of customers have stored data into the European Region of Amazon S3. With the new European region this data can now be accessed with low latency from within EC2 at no cost
  3. Regulatory requirements may require that data be stored in the EU and/or processing take place within the EU. With the European Regions of Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 developers now can address those requirements.

Each region may contain several Availability Zones situated in geographically different locations. Instances launched in different availability zones are protected from each other so that a failure in one zone won’t impact the instances in others. Amazon EC2 Service Level Agreement guarantees 99.95% service availability per region. Europe currently has 2 availability zones.

Along with the new region, Europe can take advantage of Amazon’s Elastic Block Storage, S3, Simple Queue Service (SQS) and CloudFront services running on their continent. Microsoft Windows and Amazon DevPay are not supported yet in the European region, but support is to be made available soon. According to Jeff Barr, an Amazon Web Services Evangelist, prices in Europe are slightly higher than in US “reflecting differences in our operating costs in the regions”:

Amazon EBS Volumes

  • $0.11 per GB-month of provisioned storage
  • $0.11 per 1 million I/O requests

Amazon EBS Snapshots to Amazon S3 (priced the same as Amazon S3)

  • $0.18 per GB-month of data stored
  • $0.012 per 1,000 PUT requests (when saving a snapshot)
  • $0.012 per 10,000 GET requests (when loading a snapshot)

This new region will benefit any customer that wants to start instances in different regions as a failure protection measure.

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