Choosing the AWS Region

Choosing the AWS Region

AWS Regions are vast geographic locations around the world that house multiple data centres. Each region is completely isolated from the others


3 min read

In the realm of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) stands as a giant, offering a plethora of services and features to cater to diverse business needs. However, one crucial decision that often gets overlooked amidst the excitement of diving into the cloud is selecting the appropriate AWS region. With AWS operating in multiple geographical locations worldwide, choosing the right region can significantly impact your application's performance, compliance, and overall cost.

Understanding the difference: AWS Region and Availability Zones

  • AWS Regions: AWS Regions are vast geographic locations around the world that house multiple data centres. Each region is completely isolated from others in terms of network and power, offering redundancy and fault tolerance.

  • AWS Availability Zones: An Availability Zone is a single data centre or a group of data centres within a Region. Availability Zones are located tens of miles apart from each other. This is close enough to have low latency between Availability Zones. However, if a disaster occurs in one part of the Region, they are distant enough to reduce the chance that multiple Availability Zones are affected.

Running Amazon EC2 instances in multiple Availability Zones

  • Suppose that you’re running an application on a single Amazon EC2 instance in the Northern California Region. The instance is running in the us-west-1a Availability Zone. If us-west-1a were to fail, you would lose your instance.

  • A best practice is to run applications across at least two Availability Zones in a Region. In this example, you might choose to run a second Amazon EC2 instance in us-west-1b.

  • If us-west-1a were to fail, your application would still be running in us-west-1b.

Selecting a Region

When determining the right Region for your services, data, and applications, consider the following four business factors.

  1. Compliance with data governance and legal requirements: Depending on your company and location, you might need to run your data out of specific areas. For regulations like HIPAA or GDPR that mandate data storage within specific geographical boundaries, select a region compliant with those regulations.

  2. Proximity to your customers: Selecting a Region that is close to your customers will help you to get content to them faster. For example, your company is based in Washington, DC, and many of your customers live in Singapore. You might consider running your infrastructure in the Northern Virginia Region to be close to company headquarters and run your applications from the Singapore Region.

  3. Available services within a Region: Sometimes, the closest Region might not have all the features that you want to offer to customers. AWS is frequently innovating by creating new services and expanding on features within existing services. However, making new services available around the world sometimes requires AWS to build out physical hardware one Region at a time.

  4. Pricing: Suppose that you are considering running applications in both the United States and Brazil. The way Brazil’s tax structure is set up, it might cost 50% more to run the same workload out of the São Paulo Region compared to the Oregon Region. The cost of services can vary from Region to Region.

Learn More About Cloud Computing

Follow me for more such content

Did you find this article valuable?

Support Jay Tillu by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!