April 2, 2018

Microsoft unveils availability zones for Azure

The launch aims to provide organizations having demanding and mission-critical workloads with resilient strategies for the cloud.

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Microsoft have launched ‘Azure Availability Zones’ for their cloud-native clients in Paris, France and Iowa, U.S.A, in a bid to provide support to mission-critical workloads. With this launch, Microsoft aim to mitigate rack-level failures and provide new back up and reliability strategies for customers availing cloud-based data center services.

According to Microsoft, business continuity has reached utmost importance for all organizations, especially those in regulated industries. Hence, backing them up with strategies that safeguard business as well as mission-critical workloads has become necessary.

Explaining the need to build an ‘Availability Zone’, Tom Keane Head of Global Infrastructure at Microsoft Azure, commented:

Moving forward, we’re committed to bringing Availability Zones to additional geographies to allow customers to create a comprehensive business continuity strategy with data residency.

Microsoft say that previously they had provided redundancy protection within their ‘Availability Sets’ which matched virtual machines within data centers to isolate individual workloads from hardware failures. They also say that in order to compete with the like of Google, AWS, Oracle and Alibaba, deploying an Availability Zone was critical.

Holger Mueller, Vice president and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research Inc. agrees with Microsoft and feels that the Availability Zones were long due. Speaking about their timely launch, Mueller added:

The number of availability zones gives Microsoft now a good opportunity to leverage the data residency and privacy requirements necessary for Azure growth, especially with GDPR in the wings.

Industry experts opine that the launch of the ‘Availability Zones’ is opportune and Microsoft’s clients are in for a long-haul advantage by getting their hands on low-latency and high network availability. Explaining this, Mitch Nelson, Director, Managed Services at Adobe said:

Availability Zones give us the combination of low latency and high availability that we need to meet customer requirements. All of my team’s applications with higher SLA levels are now built on Availability Zones. The physical separation of Availability Zones builds an extra layer of redundancy.