To understand the global infrastructure of a cloud provider, consider a coffee shop. If an event such as a flood, or power outage impacts one coffee shop location, customers can still get their coffee by visiting a different location only a few blocks away.
A cloud provider’s global infrastructure provides high availability that consisting of several components: Region, Zone, and Edge locations.
A Region represents independent geographic areas that hosts cloud services. Each Region is isolated from each other unless you allow traffic out of that Region. Thinking back to our coffee shop analogy, all the coffee shops in the Northeast could be considered Northeast Region Coffee. If all Northeast coffee shops went out of business, it wouldn’t affect any Coffee shops located in the Northwest. And a Region consists of Zones.
A Zone is where cloud resources are deployed generally consisting of two or three independent data centers located tens of miles apart from each other but close enough to have low latency or in our case coffee shops. Let’s say there are three coffee shops in town, one of the coffee shops loses power, however the other two coffee scops can still service customers in town. Zones provide high availability to cloud services and applications in the cloud.
An Edge location is part of the cloud provider’s network also known as Point-of-Presence that places cloud services closer to the user improving the user’s experience and convenience.
Choosing where your applications are located affects qualities like user experience, availability, durability, and latency.
Comparing Regions and Zones in Google Cloud and AWS
Google and AWS both use Regions to provide Cloud services to customers.
One difference is that Google will have at least three Zones in each Region, whereas AWS uses Availability Zones to provide high availability. Every region will have at least two availability zones in an AWS Region.
Google Cloud infrastructure is based in five major geographic locations: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Google Cloud currently supports 106 Zones in 35 regions
AWS Cloud infrastructure functions in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia
The AWS Cloud spans 96 Availability Zones within 30 Regions.
The Google and AWS networks have many of the same attributes with some slight differences! Regardless of which cloud provider you use selecting a region should include four key factors.
- Proximity to your customers
- Available Services within a Region
“Global Locations – Regions & Zones | Google Cloud.” Google, Google, https://cloud.google.com/about/locations/.
Indeglia, Shaun. “GCP Networking- Regions and Zones.” Medium, Google Cloud – Community, 11 Nov. 2022, https://medium.com/google-cloud/gcp-region-and-zones-4eb4bf1f99ab.
“Select Geographic Zones and Regions | Architecture Framework | Google Cloud.” Google, Google, https://cloud.google.com/architecture/framework/system-design/geographic-zones-regions.
“Whitepapers.” Amazon, Earthpledge Foundation, https://docs.aws.amazon.com/whitepapers/latest/aws-overview/global-infrastructure.html.