AWS has nine different Regions (each with multiple Availability Zones) located throughout the world. Many AWS customers have workloads with latency requirements that require they be hosted near their customers. The limiting factor is the speed of light in a communications fiber with the round trip time between New York and LA being 74 milliseconds or roughly 1/10th of a second, which is not fast enough for certain companies’ needs. As a result, we locate AWS datacenters in places that allow companies to get the latencies they require.
For instance, AWS has four Regions in North America -- one on the East Coast of the United States, one in Silicon Valley, a third in Oregon, and a fourth called GovCloud which enables US Government agencies and contractors to run more sensitive workloads in the cloud and still meet key regulatory requirements. Both the Oregon and GovCloud Regions use 100% carbon-free power. AWS customers who want to operate in a Region that uses 100% carbon-free power can select one of these two Regions. We will continue to work hard on our own, and alongside our power providers all over the world, to offer our services in an environmentally friendly way in all of our Regions.
Cloud computing is inherently more environmentally-friendly than traditional computing. Instead of each company having its own datacenter that serves just itself, AWS makes it possible for hundreds of thousands of organizations to consolidate their datacenter use into much smaller combined data center footprints in the AWS Cloud, resulting in much higher utilization rates and eliminating the waste that occurs when data centers don't operate near their capacity. Our cloud approach enables a combined smaller carbon footprint that significantly reduces overall consumption.