Perceive AWS Areas vs. Availability Zones

Even whenever you use the cloud, a bodily information heart nonetheless hosts your information. A knowledge heart’s location can affect a cloud workload’s latency, resiliency and value. So, selecting a location shouldn’t be taken flippantly.

In AWS, you’ll be able to specify the place workloads run with AWS Areas and Availability Zones (AZs). Each allow cloud admins to extend the reliability of workloads by way of geography. Study the fundamentals of AWS Areas and AZs, in addition to how they differ and the way they’ll affect your workloads.

What’s an AWS Area?

An AWS Area is a cluster of information facilities in a particular geographic space, such because the Northeastern United States or Western Europe. It’s a finest observe to decide on a area that’s geographically near customers; this reduces latency as a result of information reaches the customers extra shortly.

Every AWS Area consists of a number of AZs. Nevertheless, every AZ is restricted to a particular AWS Area. You should utilize a number of AZs inside one Area, however you’ll be able to’t use the identical AZ throughout a number of Areas. 

What’s an AWS Availability Zone?

An AZ is a standalone information heart or set of information facilities inside a Area. Every AZ operates independently, so a failure in a single will not have an effect on others. In catastrophe restoration plans, enterprises use a number of AZs to extend redundancy and reliability.

AZs should not be confused with AWS Native Zones, that are extensions of a Area. Native Zones allow you to select extra particular geographic areas, akin to Boston or Los Angeles. They aren’t designed to extend workload redundancy. They’re precious in case your customers are concentrated in a comparatively small space, as they assist scale back latency and meet strict compliance necessities.

Visualize how AWS AZs and Areas match collectively.

Checklist of AWS Areas and AZs

As of April 2022, AWS affords 26 launched Areas and 84 AZs (see desk under). Configurations are topic to alter.

Area identify Area code Variety of AZs
US East (Northern Virginia) us-east-1 6
US East (Ohio) us-east-2 3
US West (Oregon) us-west-2 4
US West (Northern California) us-west-1 3
AWS GovCloud (US-East) us-gov-east-1 3
AWS GovCloud (US-West) us-gov-west-1 3
Canada (Central) ca-central-1 3
South America (São Paulo) sa-east-1 3
Europe (Frankfurt) eu-central-1 3
Europe (Eire) eu-west-1 3
Europe (London) eu-west-2 3
Europe (Milan) eu-south-1 3
Europe (Paris) eu-west-3 3
Europe (Stockholm) eu-north-1 3
Center East (Bahrain) me-south-1 3
Africa (Cape City) af-south-1 3
Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) ap-east-1 3
Asia Pacific (Mumbai) ap-south-1 3
Asia Pacific (Seoul) ap-northeast-2 4
Asia Pacific (Singapore) ap-southeast-1 3
Asia Pacific (Sydney) ap-southeast-2 3
Asia Pacific (Tokyo) ap-northeast-1 4
Asia Pacific (Osaka) ap-northeast-3 3
Asia Pacific (Jakarta) ap-southeast-3 3
Mainland China (Beijing) cn-north-1 3
Mainland China (Ningxia) cn-northwest-1 3

Availability Zones in a Area are named by letter — for instance, Availability Zone A or Availability Zone B. The code for an Availability Zone is its Area code adopted by its particular letter. For instance, the code for Availability Zone A in US East (Northern Virginia) can be us-east-1a.

To confirm which Availability Zones can be found in every Area, use the command aws ec2 describe-availability-zones –region $REGION.

Evaluate AWS Areas vs. Availability Zones

Areas and AZs each isolate cloud workloads primarily based on geographical location. Additionally they use mirroring to extend a workload’s redundancy and availability. This ensures workloads will stay out there if one AZ fails. The identical is true of workloads operating in a number of cloud areas.

Past this similarity, Areas and AZs have completely different implications for a way your cloud surroundings operates and what it prices.


Whether or not you utilize a number of Areas or AZs, you are prone to find yourself with the next total cloud computing invoice. On high of the associated fee to host redundant workloads, you additionally incur information egress charges whenever you transfer information between Areas.

It is simpler to foretell and optimize prices in case you maintain all workloads in the identical Area. AWS costs most companies on a per-Area foundation. The price of a given service is identical so long as it is hosted in a given Area, irrespective of which AZ you utilize inside that Area.

Once you use a number of Areas, it turns into harder to foretell prices. The worth of an EC2 occasion in a single Area may be increased or decrease than operating the identical occasion kind in a unique Area. For instance, evaluate the On-Demand c6a.giant occasion prices, as of April 2022:

  • $0.0765 in US East (North Virginia)
  • $0.0848 in US West (Northern California)


Configuring workloads for a number of AZs is less complicated than configuring them for a number of Areas. For many AWS companies, you’ll be able to add or take away AZs inside the AWS Console; you simply want to alter the AZ settings. With Areas, you may usually need to deploy and configure your workloads individually for every Area you wish to use.

When to make use of Areas vs. AZs

Basically, in case you’re wanting only for elevated workload redundancy, AZs are the best way to go. They’re easier to handle from each a price and an administrative perspective. Additionally they present the identical stage of redundancy as a number of Areas.

The principle use instances for a number of AWS Areas is for catastrophe restoration and to serve customers situated in discrete areas. It additionally offers excessive availability and better fault tolerance.


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