AWS Expands Its European Footprint With Frankfurt Region

Amazon today announced that it has opened the second data center for its AWS cloud computing service in Europe. The new Frankfurt region follows in the footsteps of the company’s operations in Ireland, which launched back in 2007.

The Frankfurt region sports two availability zones (compared to the three zones in Ireland) in two separate data centers with independent power, cooling, and physical security. It offers access to almost all of Amazon’s cloud computing services, including EC2, S3 and DynamoDB. Missing, however, are tools like ElastiCache, SimpleDB and Amazon WorkSpaces.

console_region_menu_frankfurt_1While this launch of Amazon’s eleventh region may seem rather minor, it does offer a number of benefits to European developers (and those who want to offer their services in Europe). With Frankfurt’s more central location, this region will likely offer slightly lower latency from many locations. Steve Midgley, the head of AWS for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, tells us that he believes customers in the Nordics, as well as the Middle East and Russia will prefer the Frankfurt region for latency regions. He also stressed that Frankfurt features one of the world’s largest Internet exchanges.

More importantly, though, it now also gives developers the option to run their services in two geographically separate regions in Europe while still being able to ensure that their data never leaves the European Union. While Amazon’s Irish data center has a pretty good track record with regard to availability (even though it’s not perfect, either), having a second region to fall back on will give businesses an extra degree of redundancy.

There are also some companies in Germany that have internal policies that state that data isn’t allowed to leave the country. Those organizations will now be able to choose Amazon’s platform for the first time.

In tune with Germany’s green image, the Frankfurt data center is also the company’s first carbon neutral facility outside of the U.S.

Update: we updated this post to reflect that the two availability zones in Frankfurt are physically separate from each other.