Regions and Geographies are two concepts that you must understand about Azure Fundamentals and global infrastructure. A Region is a grouping of multiple Availability Zones (Data Centers). Availability Zones in Azure independent physical locations within an Azure region. In Azure, a Geography is a discreet market consisting of two or more regions that preserve data residency and compliance boundaries. Azure Geographies consist of Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, United States, and Azure Government. Data residency is a feature a company would use when they need a guarantee that data will remain in the desired geography of choice.
Azure has regions for Brazil South, Canada Central, Canada East, Chile Central, Mexico Central, Central US, East US, East US 2, East US 3, North Central US, South Central US, West Central US, West US, West US 2, West US 3, US DoD Central, US DoD East, US Gov Arizona, US Gov Texas, US Gov Virginia, US Sec East, US Sec West, and US Sec West Central. The number of cloud regions continues to go up and Azure has about 65 at the time of this writing. Azure does have the most regions out of all the large cloud service providers.
In laymen’s terms, an Azure Region is a collection of Availability Zones that are connected via a high-speed computer network. Regions may contain a variable number of Availability Zones since regions come in various sizes. A Region could be made up of just 1 Availability Zone or multiple Availability Zones. The key takeaway is simply that an Azure Region is a group of one or more Azure Datacenters.
An Azure Region is a set of datacenters deployed within a latency-defined perimeter and connected through a dedicated regional low-latency network.
Choosing A Region
In the diagram above we have two Microsoft Azure Regions. The first is US East 1 and the second is (Europe) Norway East. In those regions would be Availability Zones and the ability to launch cloud resources. Typically the way Azure works is that when you decide to launch a new cloud service from the Azure Portal, you would choose the region at that time. For example, if you were launching a virtual machine you would be given a list of regions that are recommended to choose from as shown in the following visual example.
The Importance Of Azure Geographies
Not all online services are simple data fit for public consumptions and scrutiny. Consider highly regulated industries such as finance and health care. These types of sensitive use cases often require that data be contained in the specific country it is designated for. This creates legal challenges that must be considered to ensure that your business is operating in an ethical manner. Azure makes this easier with the data residency that we talked about earlier. When selecting the United States region, the data stays inside the United States whereas if you choose India as the region, then associated data is stored in India.
Choosing The Right Azure Region
When choosing a region one must consider compliance and data residency, service availability, and pricing. These variables can and do change based on the region a company wants to do business in. Microsoft can always help with choosing the right geography for data residency and compliance needs as well as ensuring that the Azure services required are available in the datacenter region that you’re considering.
Learn More About Azure Regions and Geographies
- Azure Azure Geographies (pragimtech.com)
- Global Infrastructure Geographies (azure.microsoft.com)
- Azure Regions And Paired Regions (pragimtech.com)
- Azure Region And Datacenter Find Your Best Match (cloudelicious.net)
- Getting Familiar With Azure Regions (dummies.com)
- Geographies, Regions & Availability Zones(azure4everyone.com)
- What Are Microsoft Azure Geographies And Regions (bhebo.com)