What does Amazon Chime’s global expansion mean for you?
June 29, 2020: Updated to clarify the 14 regions available for meetings and the single region used to store user information.
Today, Amazon Chime announced a global expansion by extending hosting of online meetings to 14 AWS regions. Customers choose which AWS regions can host their meetings, and then Amazon Chime selects the region for each meeting to optimize the experience for meeting participants.
Where a meeting is hosted is important, because every participant sends and receives their audio and video from that location. As the distance increases, the likelihood of network impairments impacting quality increases, and the mouth-to-ear latency begins to disrupt the natural conversation flow. With this global expansion of Amazon Chime, participants have a high-quality meeting experience regardless of whether they are co-located or distributed geographically.
This blog dives into the benefits for Amazon Chime’s three major stakeholders:
Hint: It’s all about the meeting experience.
Benefits for organizations
Reliability and Availability
Amazon Chime Meetings are available in 14 AWS regions which span 32 availability zones. Each AWS region is isolated from the others and within a region, availability zones provide physical redundancy with separate buildings kilometers apart, enabling uninterrupted performance, even in the event of power outages, Internet downtime, floods, and other natural disasters.
This redundancy means organizations can depend on Amazon Chime to be available, and it is backed by a Service Level Agreement providing service credits if the monthly uptime drops below 99.9%.
For each meeting, Amazon Chime selects the AWS region that minimizes network latency for the participants (not just meeting organizers) to optimize audio and video quality, and the natural flow of conversation.
With Amazon Chime meeting hosting available in 14 AWS regions across 11 countries and 5 continents, a high-quality meeting experience is available from virtually any region or country. Organizations can standardize on Amazon Chime as their meetings solution regardless of employee and customer locations.
In order to minimize network latency, Amazon Chime selects the AWS region for each meeting. However, Amazon Chime will only use AWS regions that you opt into.
Organizations can opt in or out of each available AWS region for hosting Amazon Chime meetings, or can elect to “use all regions.” “Use all regions” uses the 14 AWS regions currently available, as well as any new Amazon Chime meeting regions that may become available in the future.
If you are an existing Amazon Chime customer, you will need to use the Amazon Chime console to opt into the new Amazon Chime meeting regions.
The regions selected for meetings does not affect where Amazon Chime stores user information such as chat messages, contacts, calendar, meeting recordings, and other user data, which is all stored in the Northern Virginia, United States region.
Benefits for users
Quality Meeting Experience
Amazon Chime selects the AWS region that minimizes network latency for the meeting participants, to optimize audio and video quality, and the natural flow of conversation. A user does not have to take any specific action or have any knowledge, it is automatic for every Amazon Chime meeting.
Follow-me region selection
Meeting region selection is performed moments before the meeting starts using the latest information available about participants and their proximity to AWS regions. Amazon Chime makes decisions on where the users are, not where they are based, or where they were when the meeting was scheduled.
The location of the region hosting each meeting is displayed in the Amazon Chime client. Users now know whether their meeting is local or global, and can adjust their latency expectations and conversation style accordingly.
Benefits for developers
The Amazon Chime SDK enables developers to build real-time experiences into their applications by embedding the same audio calling, video calling, and screen sharing and viewing capabilities that power Amazon Chime, an online meeting service from AWS.
Developers using the Amazon Chime SDK receive the same benefits of reliability, availability and quality as organizations and users of Amazon Chime meetings. An important distinction is that developers choose where their meetings are hosted. When invoking createMeeting, they now specify region to host the meeting. How that region is selected is up to the developer, but with the geographical coverage of 14 regions, they can choose a region close to their application or users.
Frequently Asked Questions
In which AWS region is Amazon Chime user information stored and where is the Amazon Chime service hosted?
All Amazon Chime user information, such as chat messages, contacts, calendar, and meeting recordings, is stored in the Northern Virginia AWS region, where the Amazon Chime service is hosted.
To improve meeting connections, in which AWS regions does the Amazon Chime Meetings Application and SDK connect to?
To improve your meeting experience, Amazon Chime Meetings Application and SDK meetings can connect to one of 14 AWS regions, which is where the participants send their audio and video. Customers can choose to have their meetings connect to one or more of the following 14 AWS regions: United States (Northern Virginia, Ohio, Oregon, Northern California), Canada (Montreal), Brazil (São Paulo), Ireland, Germany (Frankfurt), United Kingdom (London), France (Paris), Sweden (Stockholm), Singapore, Japan (Tokyo), Australia (Sydney). Separately, participants can join any meeting in any country where Amazon Chime is supported via the Internet.
Note: No Amazon Chime user information is being stored in the above regions, except for the Northern Virginia region. Please see the previous FAQ for additional details.
Can an organization select the AWS regions for its Amazon Chime meetings?
Yes. IT Administrators select their organization’s Amazon Chime meeting regions in the Amazon Chime console.
Can a user select the AWS region for a specific Amazon Chime meeting?
No. Amazon Chime selects a region for each meeting, from the meeting regions selected by the host’s organization, to minimize latency and optimize the meeting experience for the participants.
How does Amazon Chime select the region for a meeting?
The key factors in determining the best region are:
- How the meeting is initiated (One-One Call, Chat to Meeting, Scheduled Meeting, Instant Meeting)
- Each participants’ nearest AWS region
- AWS network telemetry
Here are three examples of how meeting placement works, assuming that the host’s organization has opted into all Amazon Chime meeting regions.
1. Two users with the same “closest meeting region”
User 1 is physically in Perth, WA, Australia, their closest meeting region is Sydney.
User 2 is physically in Melbourne, Vic, Australia, their closest meeting region is Sydney.
Since the two users have the same closest region, the meeting is hosted in Sydney, Australia.
2. Two users with neighboring “closest meeting regions”
User 1 is physically in Dublin, Ireland, their closest meeting region is Ireland.
User 2 is physically in London, United Kingdom, their closest meeting region is London.
Since the two closest regions are next to each other (there is no region geographically in between), the meeting is hosted in either Ireland or London based on AWS network telemetry.
3. Two users on opposite sides of the world
User 1 is physically in Jakarta, Indonesia, their closest meeting region is Singapore.
User 2 is physically in Washington DC, United States, their closest meeting region is Northern Virginia.
The Amazon Chime meeting is hosted in Paris or Frankfurt, based on AWS network telemetry, as a meeting region that minimizes latency for all users.
How the Amazon Chime meeting affect the pricing?
It doesn’t. Whether you are using Amazon Chime Meetings or Amazon Chime SDK, the pricing is unaffected by the choice of meeting region. This is because the choice of region is not about price, it’s about optimizing the quality of the experience for each participant.
To enable Amazon Chime to start optimizing your meetings across the new AWS regions, log in to the Amazon Chime console and opt into new regions.
To learn more about Amazon Chime and start free trial, visit here.