I’m delighted to announce that today, the AWS EU (Stockholm) Region in Sweden is LIVE!
The region is now generally available for our customers worldwide. You can spin-up EC2 instances, create Amazon S3 buckets, launch AWS Lambda functions and use a wide variety of other AWS services right now.
I don’t often write about Region launches, but today’s launch is extra special for me, as the AWS EU (Stockholm) Region, code name eu-north-1, is a Nordics region, and I call the Nordics my home.
We first announced the creation of this new datacenter region back in April 4th, 2017 — it’s been a long-time coming and I don’t think a week has gone by since that announcement when I haven’t been asked “When is the region going live?” — and now I can finally say it out loud — TODAY my friends!
What is an AWS region?
The AWS Global infrastructure is built around Regions and Availability Zones (AZs). AWS Regions provide multiple, physically separated and isolated AZs which are connected with low latency, high throughput, and highly redundant networking. These AZs offer AWS customers an easier and more effective way to design and operate applications and databases, making them more highly available, fault tolerant, and scalable than traditional single datacenter infrastructures or multi-datacenter infrastructures.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, an AWS Region looks something like this.
With this new AWS EU (Stockholm) Region, the AWS Cloud now has 60 AZs within 20 different geographic regions around the world.
Why having multiple AZs in a single Region is important?
While each AZ is fully independent from one another, with redundant power, networking and connectivity, and housed in separate facilities, AZs are connected through low-latency links allowing for latency of approximately 1-to-2ms between each AZ. Such a low latency allows for synchronous replications between the different AZs. This is a foundational principle for high-availability and fault-tolerance on AWS. Indeed, if one of the AZ in a particular region would experience intermittent issues, the other AZs, independent, would be able to continue operating.
Consider you have a component, X, with 99% availability. Put in parallel, you increase the overall system availability dramatically (see table below).
Now you probably understand why, at AWS, we always advise our customers to deploy applications across multiple AZs — preferably three of them. Because of this equation my friends:
By deploying applications across multiple AZs, with minimal effort you can increase its overall availability and fault tolerance.
Most of the higher-level services, such as Amazon S3, Amazon SQS, Amazon ELB, and Amazon DynamoDB, have been built with fault tolerance and high availability in mind — meaning, they are, by default, architected on top of multiple AZs, allowing customers to run highly-available and fault-tolerant applications without having to deal with the complexity of synchronously replicating data between AZs.
Why an AWS region in the Nordics?
It’s no surprise that AWS would want to add the Nordics into our collection of what is now 20 geographic regions around the world. And no, it’s not because of the ridiculously low temperatures we hit in the winter, but because it’s home to a thriving startup community churning out innovative technologies and companies.
The European Commission already ranks three of the Nordic countries as the most innovative countries in EU in 2018, with Sweden as the leader, followed by Denmark and Finland in front of the Netherlands, the UK, and Luxembourg.
Sweden is also home to one of the world’s greatest unicorn factories and its capital — Stockholm, has the largest number of billion-dollar startups in Europe. Briefly put; after Silicon Valley, the Swedish capital is the most prolific tech hub in the world on a per capita basis.
Why does it matter for startups?
Having an AWS region in Sweden will further accelerate the development of new startups as they will now have access to all the cutting edge technologies available in an AWS Region; think machine learning, compute, storage, Internet-of-Things and all the data processing services to name a few, with very low latency. This will be a massive boost for those industries the Nordics has a particularly strong foothold in: Fintech, Gaming, Media, Automotive and of course Sustainability.
That’s not all, the Nordics has diverse talent pool of top-notch programming, design, and entrepreneurial know-how, who are highly skilled and who have a proficient command of English. Indeed, the Nordics has some of the highest English proficiency levels in the world. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Forbes ranks all of the Nordic countries in the top 15 of the best countries for business globally.
Longer ski run …
But don’t just take out my word for it. Having the AWS region in Sweden helped the Vilsta ski slope in Eskilstuna, Sweden add 10 more meters — just in time for the winter season! Yes, you read that right. Thanks to the shaft masses from the construction of the datacenters in Eskilstuna, the Tunafors Ski Club raised their ski slope and improved the ski run by 30 meters with four to five more turns at the Vilsta ski resort — now that Rocks-as-a-Service my friends!
So, I’m thrilled to be able to welcome AWS to the Nordics— a place I truly love.
P.S. Here is a sneak preview of an Application Load Balancer forwarding requests to AWS Lambda working in the AWS Stockholm region!!