Heroku Launches Europe Region In Public Beta, Expects To Be Safe Harbor Certified Soon

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Heroku, the popular cloud platform as a service company, today announced the public launch of its Europe region. Developers will now be able to deploy their services closer to their European customers, which should result in markedly reduced latency for them. The company says it has observed performance improvements of 100ms or more per request for European end users.

Heroku is built on top of Amazon’s EC2 platform, so while the company doesn’t explicitly note this in its announcement today, this means it is using Amazon’s data center in Ireland for this service. In the U.S., Heroku’s services are currently based in Amazon’s North Virginia (US-East-1) data center. Given this launch in Europe, it’s likely that Heroku is also looking into expanding its U.S. presence to more data centers across the country, too.

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Developers, the company says, will also be able to easily deploy more than 60 add-ons from its marketplace in this new zone. Heroku will automatically deploy these in the same region the app is running in, too.

The company previously offered this service as a private beta for a small number of users, including Swedene’s TV4 and Betapond. “Deploying our app closer to our users in Heroku’s Europe region gave us a 150ms improvement in web performance. Based on this win for our users, we’re moving all of our apps to the Europe region,” TV4′s CTO Per Åström said in a canned statement today.

Safe Harbor Coming Soon

One issue for U.S. companies that want to bring cloud-based services to Europe is the fact that they have to comply with the EU’s privacy protection laws, which tend to be a bit more strict than similar laws in the U.S. The EU’s Directive on Data Protection prohibits the transfer of personal data to non-European Union countries that don’t meet its privacy protection standard. To ensure that this won’t hinder cloud-based services too much, however, Europe allows U.S. companies to be certified to ensure that their privacy policies are compliant with European regulations.

Heroku says it is “not yet a registered participant in the Safe Harbor program,” but the company has “laid the groundwork for becoming Safe Harbor certified and expect to have it soon.” Until then, developers have to assume that some of their data will be stored in – or pass through – Heroku’s U.S. data centers.

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