Regions, Availability Zones, Edge Locations and Data Centers: An Overview
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When beginning with AWS, the concepts of Regions, Availability Zones (AZs), Data Centers and Edge Locations can be a little confusing. Let’s review some facts that will help clarify the relationship.

First of all, they are listed in this title in their relative order of size.

For the moment, let’s remove Edge Locations from consideration. Their service offerings differ slightly from Regions, AZs and Data Centers. This is an important distinction.


An AWS Region is the largest unit.

aws ec2 describe-regions

Availability Zones

aws ec2 describe-availability-zones --region eu-west-2

Data Centers

Edge Locations

There will be many more Edge Locations. For example, Chicago hosts Edge Locations, but not a Data Center. The primary purpose of an Edge Location is twofold: