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AWS Europe offers better DR choices with German region

Amazon Web Services launched two availability zones in Frankfurt, Germany, offering regulatory refuge and more options for disaster recovery.

AWS has a region based in Frankfurt, Germany, enabling European customers to create multi-region resilience for applications.

"Large European customers have some applications that they'd like to architect across multiple regions, but keep it in the [European Union (EU)]," said Andy Jassy, senior vice president of Amazon Web Services (AWS), who spoke on a webcast. "Before, we only had an EU region in Ireland, so now with our Germany region, they can use the multi-region capability that we provide … and keep their application within the EU."

The new AWS region, consisting of two Availability Zones, allows companies in Germany to move more apps to the cloud and get diminished latency from a closer data center. Frankfurt also has good networking connectivity to all the major cities in Europe, Jassy said.

Regulatory compliance, the bugaboo that prompted the opening of the new data center in the famously security conscious Germany, remains an issue.

Should the U.S. government request customer data from Amazon, Jassy said, the company wouldn't respond unless there was a legally binding court order to do so. AWS would check to ensure the order isn't overreaching and warn the customer so they can advocate for themselves.

U.S. government intrusion "hasn't been an issue to date," Jassy said. Furthermore, "if you encrypt your data, it's a non-issue," he added. Still, while the opening of a new German region addresses the issue head-on, it potentially opens up other issues, according to Rory Duncan, research director for European services for 451 Research LLC, based in New York. 

"There may be calls to say, 'Why not open up a Paris region to satisfy French government requirements for a French cloud, or Italian or Spanish or Greek?'" Duncan said. This would also depend on a return to economic growth in Southern Europe, but it's not outside the bounds of possibility, Duncan said. Eastern Europe is also a possible location for future regions of AWS Europe.

Regulatory worries won't hold back cloud adoption for long, but don't expect a rush to port workloads to the new AWS Europe region, Duncan said.

"There's going to be a bunch of different regulatory bodies, both governmental and industry-specific, that are going to be taking a look at this," Duncan predicted. "There's going to be an assessment period."

Partners say multi-national companies with U.S. subsidiaries are using those U.S. branches as guinea pigs for moving workloads to the cloud.

"We're now starting to see companies make stronger cloud commitments," said Kris Bliesner, CTO of 2nd Watch Inc., a cloud computing consultancy and systems integrator in Liberty Lake, Wash. "International companies that are based internationally … are saying, 'If we get it right in the US, that could be our model for how we do things in Europe.'"

Bliesner said he hopes AWS will continue to expand in Europe, and that it will be more forthcoming with customers in the future about where it plans to expand so customers can plan accordingly.

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for SearchAWS. Write to her at or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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