AWS has set up Regions, Availability Zones and edge locations to help you deliver efficient and reliable services to your users across the globe.
Regions are geographically isolated areas, where you can access services needed to run your enterprise. Four key factors to choose a Region: compliance, proximity, feature availability, and pricing.
Regions contain isolated Availability Zones (AZs) which are one or a group of data centres. AZs help you solve high availability and disaster recovery scenarios, without any additional effort on your part. You should always deploy infrastructure across at least two AZs.
AWS edge locations gets content closer to your customers, no matter where they are in the world.
To understand the global infrastructure AWS, let's begin with the users (that's you)!
You have an application that you have to run, or content you need stored, or data you need analysed. This means you have stuff that has to live and operate in a physical server somewhere.
Now historically, businesses had to run applications in their own data centres - they didn't have a choice. Once AWS became available, companies could now run their applications in other data centres they didn't actually own.
These big data centres are managed by AWS, and they're scattered all across the world.
Why isn't there just one huuuuuuuuuuge data centre that has all the servers AWS needs?
*Think of fault tolerance as a system's ability to keep working even if something breaks, like a server suddenly shuts down.
AWS operates in all sorts of different areas around the world called Regions.
*Data sovereignty means that your data has to obey the rules of the place where it's stored. It's like following the local laws of the land where you keep your stuff.
When selecting a Region, four key factors come into play:
1. Compliance: If your data must remain within specific borders, such as the UK, you should choose the corresponding Region, like London.
2. Proximity: The physical distance between the Region and your customers matters. The closer you are to your customers, the faster you can deliver content.
- For example, if most of your customers live in Singapore, consider basing your services in the Singapore Region. You certainly can basing your services in another region, but the time it takes for information to be sent and received (this waiting time is called latency) between other Regions and Singapore might make it less attractive.
- You might consider running your infrastructure close to company headquarters (e.g. Sydney), and run the applications that customers use out of the Singapore Region.
3. Feature availability: Different Regions may not have the same features and services. If you need specific features, you can only pick from the Regions that have it.
- Every year, AWS releases hundreds of new features and products to answer customer requests and needs.
- Sometimes those brand new services take a lot of new physical hardware that AWS has to build out to make the service work.
- That means they have to build the service out one Region at a time, so it's not available across all Regions at the same time.
4. Pricing: Every Region charges you differently for the same service, because of differences in tax and labour costs.
- Fun fact: Brazil's tax structure makes it cost heaps more (average, 50% more) to run AWS services in Brazil compared to the United States.
Each AWS Region is made up of Availability Zones (AZs), which are a single data centre or groups of data centres with redundant* power, networking, and connectivity.
*Redundancy = having backups. You have extra parts or systems in case something goes wrong.
AWS always recommends running across at least two AZs in a Region. If one AZ were to fail, your application would still be running in the other.
Many AWS services run at the Region level, meaning they run at the same time across multiple AZs.
Remember how proximity to customers is a big factor when selecting your Region?
How would this work if you have customers all over the world, or in cities that are not close to one of AWS' Regions? If you have a good customer base in a new city, you can build a satellite store* to service those customers.
*A satellite store is like a second safe place where you store your resources. It's typically a backup location for your data, but in this case, we're using it to bring data closer to customers.
To deliver content quickly to customers worldwide, AWS uses edge locations.