Amazon just unveiled an EC2 cloud in Europe, see the AWS feature guide on this topic. I assume blog posts by Jeff Barr and by Werner Vogels will be following shortly. This EU offering has been long rumored and has been requested many times over by customers in the EU as well as by US customers with sizable European user bases. Finally EC2 EU has arrived, it looks like it has landed in Ireland (at least a quick traceroute suggests that), I hope the Amazon team is ready for the customer onslaught!
The EC2 EU announcement is very significant in a way that may not be entirely obvious at first glance: it’s a separate EC2 deployment and tied as little as possible to the current US EC2 installation. The reason for this is simple: availability. The two installations basically share nothing other than the account credentials such that a massive failure in one is extremely unlikely to affect the other in any way. As a result EC2 users now have many levels of redundancy available to them: they can run services on multiple instances for local redundancy, they can split servers up into multiple availability zones within one region, and now a secondary or disaster recovery site can be set-up in another region. With RightScale we’re further making it possible to use multiple cloud providers to gain yet another level of redundancy. Sweet!
For users that want to operate in both the US and the EU regions at the same time the separation of the two regions introduces some friction. The resources are all bound to the region which means that while you use the same account credentials to access the US and EU services you can’t launch an AMI registered in the US on an EU instance, or you can’t use the same security group for servers in both regions. The EC2 team released an ec2-migrate-bundle tool to make copying of AMIs easy and we will also look at the use-cases ourselves and implement replication tools and automation in RightScale to make all this a bit simpler to manage. Overall the decision to keep the regions separate is definitely the right one: tools can help to make everything much more seamless than is really is. The converse would not be true, i.e creating high failure independence if the regions were tightly integrated would not be possible. Amazon made the right decision there.
The RightScale system will support the EU region in a few weeks. Unfortunately we have some work still ahead of us to handle the multi-region structure. Our vision is to deploy easily across clouds – Amazon’s US and EU regions as well as other clouds. In the meantime we’ve already copied our RightImages to the EU region and registered them there. We’d love to hear from you what tools and features you’d like to see to make operating across the regions as seamless as possible.