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What are regions, zones and edge locations in Cloud computing?

Theodore Kelechukwu Onyejiaku

Cloud computing is the delivery of ITInformation Technology services over the internet.

Cloud service providers offer services such as:

  • Storage
  • Firewalls
  • Network
  • Servers
  • Databases
  • Developer tools
  • Security
  • Analytics, etc.

Cloud Service Providers help manage hardware resources. This management is done through data centers.

Data centers house the hardware, plus other critical software applications that help secure and manage our cloud services.

Data centers are physical facilities located at a particular place on earth. They are mostly owned by Cloud Service Providers such as Amazon (AWS), Google (Google Cloud), Microsoft (Microsoft Azure), IBM Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, etc.

Data Centers: Regions, Zones and Edges

Regions

Regions are geographic locations where the data centers owned by public cloud service providers’ reside.

A region could refer to places, e.g., Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, the United States, China, etc. Regions could also be named by the Cloud Service Provider.

In any case, regions are considered a geographic location or an area on a map.

A region should have at least two availability zones.

Regions are important when using cloud services. It is important to use regions close to ones proximity. This reduces latency and cost. Choosing a region farther away from you would lead to high latency of service delivery and high cost.

Availability Zones (AZs)

An availability zone or AZ is an isolated location within a geographic region that serves as a physical data center. These locations are where data centers reside and services from Cloud Service Providers originate and operate.

Availability zones serve various purposes such as:

  • Compliance
  • Customer proximity
  • Decrease of latency
  • Resource protection, etc.

You can decide to replicate your services across multiple availability zones so as to derive the benefits listed above.

Edge locations

Edge locations involve placing computers, storage, database, and other select cloud services closer to end-users.

They are located in major cities around the world and they are specifically used by CDNContent Delivery Networks to distribute content to end-users to reduce latency.

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Theodore Kelechukwu Onyejiaku
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