Environmental Layer

The Environmental Layer is dedicated to environmental considerations from site selection and construction to operations and sustainability. AWS carefully chooses our data center locations to mitigate environmental risk, such as flooding, extreme weather, and seismic activity. Scroll down to learn more about the types of security measures we have in place within the Environmental Layer.

Environmental Layer


AWS proactively prepares for potential environmental threats, like natural disasters and fire. Installing automatic sensors and responsive equipment are two ways we safeguard our data centers. Water-detecting devices can alert employees to problems as automatic pumps work to remove liquid and prevent damage. Similarly, automatic fire detection and suppression equipment reduces risk and can notify AWS employees and firefighters of a problem.


Unlike virtually every other technology infrastructure provider, each AWS Region has multiple Availability Zones. Each Availability Zone consists of one or more data centers, are physically separated from one another, and have redundant power and networking. Customers who care about high availability and performance of their applications can deploy applications across multiple Availability Zones in the same region for fault tolerance and low latency. Availability Zones are connected to each other with fast, private fiber-optic networking, enabling you to easily architect applications that automatically fail-over between Availability Zones without interruption.


The AWS Business Continuity Plan is an operations process guide outlining how to avoid and lessen disruptions due to natural disasters with detailed steps to take before, during, and after an event. To mitigate and prepare for the unexpected, AWS tests the Business Continuity Plan regularly with drills that simulate different scenarios. We document how our people and processes perform, then debrief on lessons learned and any corrective actions that may be needed to improve our response rate. We are trained and ready to rebound from disruptions quickly, which includes a methodical recovery process to minimize further downtime due to errors.


In addition to addressing environmental risks, we also incorporate sustainability considerations into our data center design. AWS has a long-term commitment to use 100% renewable energy. When companies move to the AWS Cloud from on-premises infrastructure, they typically reduce carbon emissions by 88% because our data centers can offer environmental economies of scale. Organizations generally use 77% fewer servers, 84% less power, and tap into a 28% cleaner mix of solar and wind power in the AWS Cloud versus their own data centers. To find out more about our sustainability initiatives and to track our progress, visit aws.amazon.com/about-aws/sustainability.