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Why So Many Companies Run in AWS us-east-1

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become an essential part of the cloud computing landscape, providing a wide range of services across numerous geographic regions, including five in the United States. One region, in particular, us-east-1, has long been the default and preferred choice for many businesses. After the recent AWS outage effecting us-east-1, we went to Reddit to ask the question “why do so many companies run in AWS us-east-1 when there are other regions to choose from?” Here’s a summary of what the 99+ comments had to say:

Benefits of AWS US-East-1

Availability of Services: AWS us-east-1 tends to receive new features before other regions. As one user noted, “It gets new features first, which is nice.” Additionally, it has the highest quotas and all AWS services available, which can be attractive to companies eager to take advantage of the latest offerings​.

Cost Efficiency: us-east-1 typically offers the lowest prices amongst all AWS regions. This cost efficiency can be a significant factor for businesses operating with tight margins or looking to maximize their return on investment​​.

Capacity: Many users find that capacity is not a concern in us-east-1. One user said, “Never have to worry about running out of capacity is good.” This feature can be particularly useful for prototyping with new AWS services.

Latency: For companies located on the East Coast of the United States, AWS us-east-1 can offer lower latency. As one user explained, “Latency (if you are an org that is based in US East Coat) when it matters…sometimes you need the closest available API endpoint.”

Challenges and Considerations

However, despite these benefits, there are also potential challenges to operating in AWS us-east-1.

Outages and Capacity Issues: Some users have faced issues with capacity, especially when scaling to a large number of instances. One user stated, “We run out of EC2 capacity frequently in UE1.” There have also been reports of outages affecting operations, although this seems to depend on the specific workloads and how companies use AWS services​.

Legacy Decisions: For some companies, the choice of AWS us-east-1 dates back to the early days of their AWS usage. One user shared, “We are in US-East-1 because it was the only option on the east coast when we started using AWS in 2012.” Changing regions can present its own challenges, which may discourage companies from making a switch.

Dependence on US-East-1: Some users pointed out that a significant portion of the AWS backend depends on us-east-1, and issues in this region can ripple out to affect other regions. As one user noted, “Don’t forget that a good chunk of the AWS backend is still dependent on us-east-1, and depending on what goes down there, we have ripple effect in other regions.”

While AWS US-East-1 offers a range of benefits, including early access to new features, cost efficiency, large capacity, and low latency, there are also potential challenges to consider. The question that remains is if AWS us-east-1 is any more or less reliable than other regions, like us-west-2 where Metrist runs. What is your guess?

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