When shopping for cloud services, there are a lot of factors to consider, ranging from the need for storage versus compute to the question of single or multi-cloud solutions, and everything in between. One factor that should be taken into account is the Global Presence of the provider or providers in question. For Liftr, Global Presence refers to several metrics that paint an overall picture of the geological provider landscape. To get a visual overview of this information, check out the new Liftr Cloud Regions Tool.
First, it is necessary to understand how providers categorize the locations they provide services from. “Regions” refers to large geographic areas that a provider serves, and these are further segmented into “Zones”. It is important to choose a provider with Regions relatively close to where business processing will be done, as latency and performance issues can arise as the distance from a region increases. Regions can also affect regulations around where data must be stored. If a country has laws or guidelines about keeping sensitive information stored inside the country, it may be necessary for a company to choose a cloud provider with zones or regions inside of that country to remain compliant.
A major consideration when investigating Global Presence is the number of regions available from a particular provider. Providers with lower overall region counts have a disadvantage in terms of the ability to bend and adapt as the market grows, and a customer could find themselves in the position of needing to expand into an area without adequate coverage from their chosen provider. This issue can be circumvented by choosing a multi-cloud solution or by provisioning strategically, but those solutions often require experience and planning before deployment. In addition, there are normally transfer fees that apply whenever data is moved between regions or providers, so knowing what regions are available is extremely important for planning a budget and future cloud spend.
Another consideration is the spread of the regions available with a particular provider. Take, for example, Alibaba Cloud and AWS regional distribution. While both providers offer a similar number of regions and zones, AWS has a much more dense saturation of zones available in Europe and the US, while Alibaba Cloud mostly spans east and southeast Asia. Depending on where a customer does the majority of their business, Alibaba Cloud may be a much more economical and efficient choice than AWS, or vice versa.
Yet another factor that may impact a customer’s choice in provider is Redundancy, also valued in the Global Presence category. Redundancy refers to a provider’s having two or more redundant regions in the same geographic area. This is important, because if one facility ever had technical issues, the workload can be transferred over to the secondary facility and the customer won’t experience a dramatic change in latency or an interruption of service. Some providers have greater redundancy than others- for example, at this time, Azure has the lowest percentage of redundant zones, despite having the highest number of total regions overall.
The Liftr Cloud Regions Tool aggregates and organizes regional information from the major cloud providers and displays it all in one place. Segment map information by Zones, Redundancy, Compute costs by Core or by Index, the availability of Government Solutions, and the availability of Partner-Managed Services. It is also possible to segment by providers, comparing directly on the map itself. Click into an icon for more details on that area, including the name of the zone, compute cost per core, or other nearby zones or regions.
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