US-EAST-1 region is not the cloudy crock it's made out to be, claims AWS EC2 boss

It's the region where stuff gets stressed at scale first, says Dave Brown, as he plots variants of Amazon's Outposts

Amazon Web Services' US-EAST-1 region is not a problem child – it's the region where the cloudy colossus often runs things at bigger scale than elsewhere and therefore stresses services the most, according to Dave Brown, global veep for compute and networking.

Speaking to The Register at the AWS Summit in Sydney today, Brown defended US-EAST-1, the cloud giant's first region, which has over the years experienced more than its fair share of outages. Analyst firm Gartner has even warned the region is a risk that cloudy consumers must consider.

Brown argued that the region's age doesn't mean it is less resilient than any other AWS faciilty, and spans "hundreds" of datacenters – but didn't elaborate about whether that means individual halls or pods of kit are considered discrete datacenters. It is known that US-EAST-1 boasts six availability zones and ten local zones. Brown confirmed it is housed in many, many, buildings. The region is so big it's the natural target for early efforts – and therefore early failures.

Speaking of AWS's early efforts, Brown also revealed that the Arm-powered Graviton CPUs it touts as the most cost-efficient way to use its cloud started life in another AWS innovation: the Nitro card that handles networking and security chores to free servers from handling the workloads that keep AWS running. Nitro became the inspiration for SmartNICs and Data Processing Units – cards that can be fitted to standard servers to offload housekeeping workloads.

The CPU used in first-gen Nitro cards, Brown revealed, was the first Graviton. AWS used the scale of Nitro card deployment to test the CPU's capabilities before adapting it for use in its own servers.

Nitro hardware, he added, is now in its fifth or sixth generation, and has been built into different form factors that mean it can be used in different computers – even the Outposts that AWS offers for on-prem or edge clouds.

Brown explained that AWS hopes to create more form factors of its Outposts, to meet customer demand for cloudy resources wherever they are needed. And maybe take a bit of pressure off US-EAST-1. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like