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— Blog

AWS Incentivizes Multi-Region Resiliency

Les Williams
February 7, 2013

Amazon Web Services’ most recent price cut introduced an important new discount category – lower prices for data transfer between AWS Regions. Prior to this pricing update, all data transfers were charged at AWS’s standard Internet data transfer rates regardless of whether they were between AWS regions or to another location outside of AWS. Now, there is a discount for traffic between regions. This extends the cost-effective dispersion of distributed processing and data transfers from only within an AWS Region (i.e. between Availability Zones in the same AWS Region) to between AWS Regions.

As events ranging from hurricanes, storms, floods, and human error have recently shown, no single location or perhaps even region can be considered completely immune to outages.
Any business-critical application or service should utilize a resilient multi-region architecture. As Adrian Cockcroft, Netflix’s director of architecture, observes in The Netflix Tech Blog:

“Netflix is designed to handle failure of all or part of a single availability zone in a region as we run across three zones and operate with no loss of functionality on two. We are working on ways of extending our resiliency to handle partial or complete regional outages.

Previous AWS outages have mostly been at the availability zone level, and we’re proud of our track record in terms of up time, including our ability to keep Netflix streaming running while other AWS hosted services are down.

Our strategy so far has been to isolate regions, so that outages in the US or Europe do not impact each other.

It is still early days for cloud innovation and there is certainly more to do in terms of building resiliency in the cloud. In 2012 we started to investigate running Netflix in more than one AWS region and got a better gauge on the complexity and investment needed to make these changes.

We have plans to work on this in 2013.”

Well it’s now 2013 and AWS is doing its part in making multi-region deployments easier and more cost effective for its customers. This has been accompanied by the global availability of larger EC2 instances with higher performance suited for computationally intensive tasks such as media encoding and batch processing. With lower EC2 prices, the new inter-region pricing, and growing service availability, customers can be less tied to AWS US-East Region (the most feature rich and premier for AWS feature releases) or any one particular Region; and thereby enjoy deployments with greater inherent resilience.

Aligned with this philosophy, Telx launched a bundled AWS Direct Connect solution enabling both US-East and US-West Region connectivity. Telx clients can now leverage private interconnection to an expanded roster of AWS Regions spanning coast to coast. Clients can leverage Telx’ existing colocation facilities, now in 13 metros, to create a variety of hybrid architectures while minimizing latency and backhaul costs. Moreover, these capabilities can be combined with network services from the hundreds of carriers and cloud service providers interconnecting at Telx’s industry-leading facilities to solve a broad range of complex challenges. Such solutions enable increased performance, security, availability, distributed processing, and redundant storage to support normal operations as well as business continuity and disaster recovery.

Les Williams

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