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Amazon allows users to spread workloads more broadly now

Amazon's cloud has outages every once in a while, so Amazon has made it easier for customers to run their workloads in multiple regions to ensure they're not impacted by downtime

By , Network World
December 18, 2012 11:48 AM ET

Network World - Amazon Web Services today announced a new feature that allows users to replicate block storage volumes across regions of the world, which will make it easier for systems to stay up in case of a cloud outage.

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EBS Snapshot Copy allows users to move copies of Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes across regions where the company has public cloud services. AWS says this can be helpful for customers that are looking to launch a service in a new region and are looking for those EBS volumes to be closer to the end user, for example.

Another common use case for EBS Snapshot Copy could be for disaster recovery. Amazon encourages customers to use multiple Availability Zones (AZs) in its cloud to ensure systems are tolerant to outages. Adding multi-region support is a next logical step to creating even more highly available (HA) systems.

AWS breaks its public cloud product up into nine regions with AZs in each of those regions. The AZs are meant to be isolated from one another within a region. But, during at least one recent outage when a single AZ went down some customers, and Network World commenters, who had spread workloads across multiple AZs still had problems. Being able to extend workloads across not just AZs, but now regions provides customers additional tools to preventing downtime.

AWS says it plans to make similar multi-region copying support for Amazon Machine Images soon. That would allow users to copy virtual machine instances across regions.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

Read more about cloud computing in Network World's Cloud Computing section.

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