What’s the difference between GCP and AWS Regions?

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.

  1. Compliance
  2. Proximity to your customers
  3. Available Services within a Region
  4. Pricing


“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. 


AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam Review

I recently took the AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals exam bringing me my third fundamental cloud certification after CompTIA Cloud+ and AWS Cloud Practitioner. Not a bragging moment; I mean, they’re entry-level exams after all.

I am, however, advocating for one certification over the rest. Not to completely derail us, but the AWS Cloud Practitioner is by far the way to go out of the three exams. The complimentary exam resources and their content are superior to the other two. Does this make me an AWS fanboy? Unsure. But the content was logically laid out, the speakers and visual aids were excellent, and I learned a lot. I haven’t taken the GCP test yet, so that could change things for me, but as of today, I’d recommend your first cloud certification be the AWS Cloud Practitioner. I digress; let us move back to our topic.

The AZ-900 exam is the entry-level exam for Azure, Microsoft Cloud Computing service, with no prerequisite.
You will need to understand Azure-specific services from Data Bases like Cosmos DB, Analytics like Azure Synapse, Networking, and Storage. You can find a complete list of skills you will be measured against here.

Through the course material you will learn and rehears Azure services reasonably quickly. If you have the fundamental cloud concepts down Azure Specific services, become table-stakes.

If you aren’t familiar with Azure services or cloud fundamentals, rest assured that you can learn these topics in the free course they provide. The content alone is enough to pass the exam. However, I found it difficult to follow and found myself lacking the motivation to complete the course. It took me about ten hours to finish the content with diligent note-taking. I did like that there were hands-on labs or sandboxes as they refer to it throughout, but it requires a phone number and a credit card for identification purposes.

There’s a little XP tracker in the top right-hand corner of the course you earn experience points (XP) after completing a section or a sandbox lab. I found myself wanting to drive up XP like a video game. It was a stimulating reinforcement measure for sure.

Pearson VUE provides the test for USD99 but what’s pretty cool and little known is that you could get a discount on the exam or even have it completely free depending on your situation. Even if you don’t get the test entirely free for a limited time, Microsoft offers job seekers impacted by COVID-19 and students for USD15. You can look for the exam discounts under your certification dashboard. Choose the MCP Home tab and after signing in, navigate to your profile. You will see ‘Exam Discount’ on the left. Be sure to check!