Amazon has created a European zone in its EC2 cloud, quoting fault tolerance, data separation and stability as reasons for giving the Old World a place of its own. Because it's a brand new region, users who want to move services and data across from the American zone will have to regenerate their security authorisations and other information – Amazon says that its working on tools to make this easier in the future, and it's learning what sort of API support will be needed to help customers support multiple regions.
Everything in EC2 is available in the new area now, except the coming-soon Windows support and Amazon DevPay. It's open to everyone who wants to play, and costs are "slightly higher" than in the US, reflecting the real world.
Interesting questions we'd like to ask – and will – include how this affects regulation and compliance issues, whether it's a good idea for customers to duplicate information across regions for back-up reasons, and to what extent Amazon sees regionalisation becoming a permanent and desirable part of the cloud experience. The company does mention 'EU data privacy requirements' as one driver towards this move: let's hope that the regulators understand the issues and are prepared to create a regulatory environment which will maximise the good effects of cloud computing while continuing to protect individuals and companies who find their data entrusted to the cloud.