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US-East-1 region's checkered past deters some users, but many remain

AWS users in the US-East-1 region have seen a string of outages in the last few years. But does that mean they shouldn't deploy workloads there?

Outages are distressing, but they do happen from time to time. And while an outage might not be the end of the...

world, many cloud-reliant companies could experience a severe loss of revenue when one occurs.

It's not surprising that, when a cloud outage occurs, customers question the reliability of an affected region -- sometimes, even cloud computing as a whole.

AWS' US-East-1 region is its oldest and largest. It also contains the most Availability Zones (AZs) of any region. Unfortunately, it also has a history of service disruptions. In 2011, an Elastic Block Store outage occurred due to a re-mirroring storm, a unique EBS issue that causes volumes to continuously search for their own replicas. The next year, a memory leak bug caused a major outage. And in 2015, a DynamoDB outage garnered more negative attention for the region.

AWS' US-East-1 region is its oldest and largest. It also contains the most Availability Zones of any region.

But the most noteworthy disruption came earlier this year. Amazon Simple Storage Service suffered a  complete outage in the region, affecting many other services as well. The outage was closely followed not just by IT professionals, but by the general public, due to its sweeping impact on many sites around the internet. Amazon claimed that human error caused the outage, but no matter the cause, it wasn't a good look for the cloud provider.

Still, the US-East-1 region offers benefits that most others don't. Almost all of AWS' portfolio of services is available in the region and, in most cases, earlier than others. For example, it took more than two years for AWS Lambda to become available in the N. California region. US-East-1 is also one of the cheapest regions in the world, and it's the only one with five AZs, which can be a deciding factor when considering resource availability.

While the checkered reputation of the US-East-1 region is somewhat deserved, it still has a lot to offer. Depending on your business needs, this region still might be the best choice for you. After all, no region can offer perfect uptime.

Next Steps

Restrict AWS region access to save money

Find your way through AWS regions and AZs

Learn how to provision regionally in AWS Availability Zones

This was last published in August 2017

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