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EC2 Regions

In December 2008, Amazon launched a new EC2 Cloud in Europe. One year later, they launched their second region in the United States (AWS-US West).  In April 2010, Amazon launched the first EC2 cloud in Asia Pacific. Now, there are four major geographic regions of EC2 and more are sure to come in the future. The best way to understand how different EC2 regions are treated inside the Dashboard is to think of them as essentially separate clouds. 

Before you start launching instances into different EC2 regions, it's important to understand some of the subtle differences between the cloud regions. 


Amazon EC2 Regions

All EC2 regions are supported in the Dashboard. See AWS Regions for a complete list.

AWS Credentials

EC2-EU does not require a different set of AWS credentials.  As long as you have valid AWS credentials, you can launch instances in EC2-US and EC2-EU. 

Region-specific EC2 Components

It's important to think of each EC2 region as essentially a separate cloud.  Each region has its own set of components that are specific to that region and cannot be shared.  (For example, you cannot use a security group that's defined in EC2 US-East to launch an instance in EC2-EU.)  The following EC2 components are now region-specific.

  • Images
  • Security Groups
  • SSH Keys
  • Elastic IPs
  • EBS Volumes
  • EBS Snapshots

Since each region has its own set of security groups, ssh keys, images, Elastic IPs, and EBS Volumes/Snapshots, you must create duplicate components in that region before you can successfully launch an instance (in that region).   To avoid confusion, we recommend using the same name for a component.  (i.e. If you have an SSH key in EC2-US called 'prod-key-1' you can create 'prod-key-1' in EC2-EU.  You do not have to add a cloud differentiator in the component name.)

For Elastic Block Store (EBS), volumes and snapshots are also region-specific.   You cannot use an EBS Snapshot that was created in EC2 US-East, to create a volume in EC2 US-West.

Lastly, because each region is treated like a separate cloud, the RightScale Dashboard UI will display each region separately under the Clouds menu.

AWS Global Components

There are several components of AWS that are not region-specific.   Since these components and services can be used across all EC2 regions, they are listed under Clouds -> AWS Global. 

  • Queues - Currently there is only one SQS service and it is not region-specific.
  • Amazon S3 - Although you can create S3 buckets in the US and Europe, they are not region-specific.  Instances in different EC2 regions can access objects inside of any S3 bucket.  However, extra data bandwidth charges do apply for cross-region traffic.  
  • EC2 Image Locator - You can use the EC2 image locator to find images in all of your S3 buckets.
  • CloudFront - Currently there is only one CloudFront service and it is not region-specific.
  • Credentials - Your AWS credentials are valid for all EC2 regions.

Regional Price Differences

Before you launch any instances on EC2-EU, be sure to review Amazon's updated pricing information.  Generally, there is a 10% increase per instance hour for EC2-EU server usage.  There are also increased costs associated with EBS in EC2-EU.   Data transferred between AWS services in different EC2 regions will be charged normal Internet Data Transfer costs on both sides of the transfer.   To avoid any confusion about the pricing differences associated with EC2-EU, please see Amazon's EC2 Pricing


Deployments have always been cloud agnostic.  A deployment can contain instances from multiple clouds.  For example, you can create a multi-cloud setup where you have some instances launched on Amazon EC2 while others are on GoGrid.  Similarly, you can launch instances in the same deployment on EC2-US and EC2-EU.


RightScripts are designed to be cloud agnostic.   You can use many of the same RightScripts in any cloud or EC2 region (each EC2 region acts as a distinct cloud). However, there are EC2 region- and cloud-specific actions in RightScripts that are dependent or interact with cloud-specific resources (such as local network connections, setup and initialization of storage, distinct OS versions/images, interaction with cloud specific API's, etc.) that will require modification to allow the same operation in different Amazon regions.


As of the 2009-04-21 Release, ServerTemplates are no longer EC2-region specific.  ServerTemplates are designed to be cloud agnostic. (That is, you can use the same ServerTemplate to launch servers into multiple cloud infrastructures.) By default, all of the ServerTemplates that are published by RightScale use our RightImages and are already designed to launch servers in any Amazon EC2 regions.  Our RightImages are mirrored in all EC2 regions.  When you launch a server into a specific EC2 region, the appropriate RightImage in that region will be used.


Before you can replicate a ServerTemplate, you must first make sure that the image (e.g. RightImage CentOS5_2V4_1_10) that the ServerTemplate is referencing is available in EC2-EU.  By default, all RightImages are mirrored across all EC2 regions.  Under the Amazon tab, you will find all of the publicly available Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) that are specific to different cloud regions.

If you are using a custom image, perhaps an instance that you've bundled, you must manually replicate the image across EC2 regions.  See Replicate an Image to different EC2 regions

Master/Slave Databases 

12-ec2regions_databases_diag.gifCurrently, both the master and slave databases must be placed in the same EC2 region.  You cannot have a master database in EC2-US and a slave database in EC2-EU. The database replication is designed (for security, data transfer costs, etc.) for LAN replication. Once the issues associated with replication over the public Internet have been resolved, this functionality will become available in a future release.



Server Arrays

Server Arrays are region-specific.  You cannot have an array that launches servers in both regions.  Additionally, if you have an existing server array on EC2-US, you cannot replicate it to the EC2-EU region.  When you create a new server array, you must choose a specific EC2 region.   But, be careful!  All servers of a deployment will act as voters.  Therefore, if you had a hybrid deployment with instances in both regions, the EU servers could vote for an alert that would take action in the US region.


Although each server array must be associated with a particular deployment, a deployment is cloud-agnostic and can have multiple server arrays.  For example, you could have a deployment that has an EC2-US and EC2-EU server array.


As of the December 17, 2009 release, macros are currently supported in all EC2 regions.  

RightScale API

As of the December 17, 2009 release, macros are currently supported in all EC2 regions.  You will need to specify the 'Cloud ID' to specify the cloud region.  (1 = US-East; 2 = EU; 3 = US-West)  See Servers.

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Last modified
21:33, 16 May 2013



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