AWS Regions: High-Level Overview

This post will help you overview the AWS Region, an important concept to understand to have solid AWS fundamentals related to AWS Global Cloud Infrastructure.

Table of Contents

Overview

  • AWS has a region's concept —  a physical location worldwide — where AWS has a cluster of data centers.
  • Each AWS Region is completely independent, having its own internal private secured network, and is isolated from the other AWS Regions.
  • A group of availability zones within a geographic area forms an AWS Region. In other words, an AWS region consists of Availably Zones.
  • An AWS Available Zone is a cluster of Data Centers connected with a low latency network.

So, how many availability zones does a region have? This varies; generally, an AWS Region has 3 availability zones. However, some of them have more than 3; for example, Northern Virginia Region has 6 Availability Zones.

AWS Region Code

Every AWS Region is assigned a Name and a Code. For example, N. Virginia Region has a Region code of us-east-1, and Ohio Region has a Region code of us-east-2, as you can see from the screenshot of AWS Management Console.

Geographic Location and Connectivity 

  • AWS maintains regions in multiple geographic locations in North America, South America, Europe, China, Asia Pacific, South Africa, and the Middle East.
  • Each region is a separate geographical region. For example, there are 6 regions in the US as of this recording. 2 regions are on the US east coast: one is in Northern Virginia, and the other is in Ohio. 2 regions are in the US West Coast: one is in Oregon, and the other one is in Northern California. Additionally, there are 2 Gov cloud regions: US-East and the other is US-West.
  • Each AWS Region is completely independent, has its own internal private secured network, and is isolated from the other AWS Regions. However, Availability Zones in an AWS Region are connected with high bandwidth, low-latency networks.

Scope of AWS Services

  • AWS services are region-specific; however, to keep in mind, some services do not support any Region; for example, AWS IAM is a global service and is not associated with any Region.
  • Some regions have more services than others, for example. US East (N. Virginia), US West (N. California) in America; Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo in the Asia Pacific; Frankfurt, Ireland in EU offer more services in general.

Guidelines for Choosing AWS Regions

Following are the guidelines for choosing AWS Regions to help ensure excellent performance and resilience.

  • To get low latency performance, choose a region closest to your location and your customers’ location to get low network latency. 
  • Find out what are your most needed services. Usually, the new services start on a few main regions, such as those on the east and west, before being available to other regions. 
  • Some regions will cost more than others, so use a built-in AWS calculator to do rough cost estimates to get an idea about your choices. 
  • SLAs usually vary by region, so be sure to be aware of your needs and if they’re being met. 
  • To be compliant, you may need to meet regulatory compliance such as GDPR by hosting your deployment in a specific region or region.

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