Google Cloud offers services worldwide at locations across 200+ countries and territories, and it’s up to you to pick which of the Google Cloud Regions and Zones your applications will live in. When it comes to Google Cloud resources and services, they can either be zonal, regional or managed by Google across different regions. Here’s what you need to know about these geographic locations along with some tips to help you pick the right one for you.
What are Google Cloud Regions and How Many are There?
In Google Cloud, regions are independent geographic areas that are made up of one or more zones where users can host their resources. There are currently 22 regions around the world, scattered across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Since regions are independent geographic areas, spreading your resources and applications across different regions and zones provides isolation from different kinds of resources, applications, hardware, software, and infrastructure failures. This provides an even higher level of failure independence meaning the failure of one resource will not affect other resources in different regions and zones.
Within a region, you will find regional resources. Regional resources are resources that are redundantly deployed across all the zones within a region, giving them higher availability.
Here’s a look at the different region names and their region descriptions:
|Region Name||Region Description|
|us-west3||Salt Lake City|
What are Google Cloud Zones and How Many are There?
Zones are isolated locations in a region. Zones are deployment areas for your resources in a region. Zones should be considered a single failure domain within a region. To deploy fault-tolerant applications with high availability and help protect against unexpected failures, deploy your applications across multiple zones in a region. Around the world, there are currently 67 zones.
Zones have high-bandwidth, low-latency network connections to other zones in the same region. As a best practice, Google suggests deploying applications across numerous zones and multiple regions so users can deploy high availability, fault-tolerant applications. This is a key step as it helps protect against unexpected failures of components. Within a Zone, you will find zonal resources that operate within a single zone. If a zone becomes unavailable, all zonal resources in that zone are unavailable until service is restored.
Here’s a closer look at the available Zones broken down by region.
|Region Name||Region Description||Zones|
|us-west3||Salt Lake City||us-west3-a|
Here are Some Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Region or Zone
Now that we know what regions and zones are, here are some things to be aware of when you are selecting which region or zone would be the best fit for your infrastructure.
- Distance – choose zones based on the location of your customers and where your data is required to live. It makes more sense to store your resources in zones that are closer to your point of service in order to keep network latency low.
- Communication – It’s important to be mindful of the fact that communication across and within regions will incur different costs and happen at different speeds. Typically, communication within a region will be cheaper than communication across different regions.
- Redundant Systems – As we mentioned above, Google is big on the fact that you should deploy fault-tolerant systems with high availability in case there are unexpected failures. Therefore, you should design any important systems with redundancy across multiple regions zones. This is to mitigate any possible effects if your instances were to experience an unexpected failure.
- Resource Distribution – Zones are designed to be independent of one another so if one zone fails or becomes unavailable, you can transfer traffic to another zone in the same region to keep your services running.
- Cost – always check the pricing to compare the cost between regions.
What Sorts of Features are Defined by Region and Zone?
Each zone supports a combination of Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Broadwell, Skylake, Haswell, Cascade Lake, or Skylake CPU platforms. Once you’ve created an instance within a zone, your instance will use the default processor that’s supported in that zone. As an alternative option, you could choose what CPU platform you’d like.
For example, take a look at the features offered in the europe-west6 region and us-east4-a Zones to see the similarities and differences.
These are the features that you can find in the europe-west6 region Zone:
- Available CPU Platforms
- Intel Xeon (Skylake) (default)
- N1 machine types with 96 vCPUs when using Skylake
- E2 machine types up to 16 vCPUs and 128 GB of memory
- Local SSDs
- Sole-tenant nodes
And in the us-east4-a Zone the features include:
- Available CPU Platforms
- Intel Xeon E5 v4 (Broadwell)(default)
- Intel Xeon (Skylake)
- N1 machine types with up to 96 vCPUs when using Skylake platform
- N2 machine types with up to 80 vCPUs and 640 GB of memory
- E2 machine types up to 16 vCPU and 128 GB of memory
- C2 machine types with up to 60 vCPUs and 240 GB of memory
- M1 ultramem memory-optimized machine types with 160 vCPUs and 3.75 TB of memory
- M2 ultramem memory-optimized machine types with 416 vCPUs and 11.5 TB of memory
- Local SSDs
- Sole-tenant nodes
As you can see, the europe-west6 region doesn’t have quite as many features as the rest of the Zones.
There are a handful of Google Cloud services that are managed to be redundant and distributed across and within regions. These services optimize performance, resource efficiency and availability. However, these services do require a trade-off – users must choose between either the consistency or latency model.
Note: *These trade-offs are documented on a product-specific basis.*
A key feature of multiregional resources is that the data associated with these resources aren’t tied to a specific region so therefore can be moved between regions. There are seven products that are multiregional are, they are:
- Cloud Storage
- Cloud Spanner
- Cloud Firestore
- Container Registry
- Cloud Key Management Service
- Cloud EKM
Google Cloud’s expansion shows no sign of slowing down, they are continuing to announce new regions and services to help serve their customers worldwide and continue to advance their place in the public cloud market share.