All the major cloud vendors host cloud computing resources in multiple locations world-wide. However, there are differences in the approach to make these resources available to the customers. Amazon for example defines their locations as regions and Availability Zones. Each region is a separate geographic area. Each region has multiple, isolated locations known as Availability Zones. However, Microsoft Azure has been only available from 36 regions around the world (6 more coming soon) and there is no concept of Availability Zones. Customers have to plan in advance according to the vendor and select the appropriate location to store the data.
There are some advantages of having Availability Zone in addition to regions. And since Amazon is offering them, Microsoft yesterday announced that they will also offer Availability Zones for their customers.
Availability Zones increase Azure’s resiliency capabilities and broaden options for customers to choose the business continuity solution that is right for their organization. We’ve also designed Availability Zones to give customers great confidence in delivering services and with an industry-leading, financially-backed 99.99% virtual machines uptime SLA when generally available.
Similar to AWS AZ, Azure Availability Zones are fault-isolated locations within an Azure region, providing redundant power, cooling, and networking. This will allow Azure customers to run mission-critical cloud apps with higher availability and fault tolerance to datacenter failures.
Azure Availability Zones are now in preview in two regions, East US 2 in Virginia and West Europe in the Netherlands. Azure team is planning to offer preview to additional regions in the US, Europe, and Asia before the end of the year.