Understand Region and Zones

Welcome to my third post regarding Google Cloud Digital Leader certification. In today’s post, I will help you to understand Regions and Zones concept from Google Cloud

In this post, I will go through a use case to identify the problems faced by enterprise customers. That will lead us to Regions and Zones from Google Cloud and help us to understand why we need them and how they help us to solve enterprise problems. So without any further ado, let’s get started.

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A typical use case

A fictitious company named, Hello Cloud, selling environment-friendly products wants to create their online presence. They are planning to publish their website along with their internal applications from where their customers can search products, buy, return, provide feedback etc.

Few things to know –

  • Hello Cloud‘s head office is in Toronto, Canada.
  • Current data center is in Toronto, Canada.
  • Hello Cloud have customers from the entire globe.
Scenario 1

With Hello Cloud’s single data center from Toronto, below are the list of problems they are facing.

    • High Latency – Customers which are geographically away from Toronto, for example – New Zealand, India etc. are facing slowness accessing the application.
    • Availability – When their current data center goes down, customers are not able to access their application.

Scenario 2

Now to solve the problems mentioned above, Hello Cloud set up one more data center in the same location i.e. Toronto, Canada. Is this going to solve their problem? Let’s revisit the problem 

  • High Latency – It’s the same problem for customers who are geographically away from Toronto. They will keep on facing slowness.
  • Availability – It is partially solved because if one data center is down, the application will still be served from the other data center. But what will happen if both the data center is down? Application will become unavailable again.

Two Data Centers

Scenario 3

Now to solve the problems mentioned above, Hello Cloud set up one more data center in a different location i.e.Zurich, Switzerland. Is this going to solve their problem? Let’s revisit the problem

  • High Latency – It is partially solved because customers closer to any of their data centers will be able to access the application faster, but for others who are geographically away from Toronto or Zurich, it’s the same problem for customers who are geographically away from Toronto. They will keep on facing slowness.
  • Availability – It is solved now because even if one data center (say Toronto) is down, the application will still be served from the other data center i.e. Zurich.

Many Data Centers

So what is the solution?

What do you think is the solution to solve these problems? Should Hello Cloud go ahead and set up data center in every region and maintain that? Yes, they can do that. But that solution is not a cost-effective solution at all.

Entire Globe

Google Cloud is the solution

Based on 29 regions and 88 availability zones, Google Cloud provides a strong and highly available architecture. Between availability zones and real clusters of servers in Google data centres, Google Compute Engine creates an abstraction layer. Each physical machine cluster has its own software, power, cooling, networking, and security architecture, as well as compute and storage resources. One or more clusters can make up a zone.

Regions and Zones from Google Cloud 

In Google Cloud Region is a geographical region made up of zones where you can host your GCP resources. Google Cloud Zone is a GCP resource deployment area (virtual machine, database..). Within the region, this is regarded as a single failure domain. If you want to achieve high availability and fault tolerance in the same location, you can employ a multi-zone deployment technique.

There are at least three zones in each region. The main benefit of zones is that they increase availability and fault tolerance within a single region. There are one or more distinctive clusters in each zone (distinct physical infrastructure that is housed in a data centre). One or more data centres can be found in a single zone. Low latency links connect each of the zones in the same region. As a result, we can install a web application in one zone and a database in another without compromising performance.

Currently, Google Cloud provides 29 Regions, 88 Zones available in 200+ countries and they are adding more regions every year.  You can find up-to-date information on GCP cloud location page.

Summary

There are three main advantages of GCP regions and zones.

    • GCP has a number of locations around the world. It also contributes to the application’s excellent availability.
    • Assists in achieving low latency and serving users from the closest available site.
    • Follow the rules set forth by the government. Data policies varies from country to country.

In the next post, I will be discussing how you will create your first virtual server in Google Cloud. Till then stay safe and please provide your feedback. Thank you.

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