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Amazon Web Services adds 'resiliency' to EC2 compute service

Availability Zones lets developers set up multiple instances in different physical locations, while Elastic IP makes EC2 better suited for Web hosting.

Amazon Web Services on Thursday is scheduled to release features meant to give its hosted computing service a better safety net.

Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service now has an application programming interface (API) that lets developers choose where its application physically runs.

This Availability Zones feature is important because people can now add redundancy to their application. Choosing multiple zones, people can have server instances with separate power, cooling, network access, and physical servers.

"Up until now, if you boot up more than one EC2 instance, you had no control where it resided--it could hypothetically be sitting on the same machine because there is no notion of location or proximity," said Adam Selipsky, vice president of product management and developer relations at Amazon Web Services.

"Now we're exposing that as a feature and you can choose to instantiate your 'nth' server in a different availability zone," he said.

Amazon Web Services last month suffered a multi-hour outage to its Simple Storage Service (S3), which affected several Web 2.0 sites.

Selipsky said the new feature will let developers add redundancy in the "vast majority" of cases.

Amazon currently gives developers the option of deploying their S3 data either in Europe or the United States.

Selipsky said Amazon will add more "granularity" on the choice of location for data over time.

Also on Thursday, Amazon Web Services introduced a IP service, called Elastic IP, that lets developers have an IP address associated to an account, rather than a physical machine.

The change makes EC2 better suited for Web application hosting, Selipsky said.