Explore the AWS Global Infrastructure

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the differences between Regions, Availability Zones, and edge locations.
  • Explain how the AWS Global Infrastructure maximizes resiliency for your apps and services.

AWS is a global cloud provider and has infrastructure built around the world. You can use these resources whenever you want and your business can go from local to global in minutes. In this unit, you learn about the AWS Global Infrastructure.

Go Global

The AWS Global Infrastructure is built around Regions and Availability Zones.

  • A Region is a physical location in the world that provides multiple, physically separated, and isolated Availability Zones.
  • Availability Zones consist of one or more discrete data centers, each with redundant power, networking, connectivity, and are housed in separate facilities.

AWS builds data centers in many Regions, and across multiple Availability Zones within each Region. Each data center is designed with excess bandwidth connections. If a major disruption occurs, there’s capacity to route traffic to the remaining sites, minimizing the impact on you.

When a Region is designed, AWS reviews potential hazards or scenarios which can impact a data center, such as utility faults, like power and network outages, as well as, geographic hazards like typhoons, floods, and earthquakes. Also, Availability Zones are physically separated within a typical metropolitan Region and are located in lower risk flood plains.

All this leads to maximum resiliency against system disruption.

Create Your Global Footprint

A successful global footprint depends on how you use Regions and their Availability Zones. The AWS Global Infrastructure is comprised of 69 Availability Zones within 22 geographic Regions. There are also announced plans for nine more Availability Zones and three more Regions in Indonesia, Italy, and South Africa. 

All this means there's opportunity for cloud computing internationally and you can expect that AWS will continue to add Regions.

The AWS Global Infrastructure noting the geographic Regions.

Let’s do a quick check before moving on. 

  • A Region is a geographical location, like US East (N. Virginia).
    • Within each Region, there are multiple Availability Zones.
      • Each Availability Zone has one or more data centers, with some Availability Zones having as many as six data centers, housed in separate facilities, all with capacity to fail-over to other Availability Zones within the same Region.

Note that no Availability Zone can be part of two Regions. 

Now, let’s dive deeper into the AWS Global Infrastructure.

Regions and Availability Zones

From the below example, you can see two Regions, US East (N. Virginia) and Asia Pacific (Hong Kong). Each Region is completely independent. The example shows each Region has two Availability Zones. Availability Zones are connected to each other with fast, private fiber-optic networking designed to allow users to automatically fail-over between Availability Zones without interruption. 

The diagram shows two AWS Regions, US East (N. Virginia) and Asia Pacific (Hong Kong). Each Region includes two Availability Zones.

When you launch a computing resource, you can select an Availability Zone or let AWS choose one for you. If you distribute your resources across multiple Availability Zones, you can design your app so that if a resource fails, a resource in another Availability Zone can handle requests.  

Keep in mind, when you create resources in AWS, they will be tied to the Region that you select and not automatically replicated. AWS recommends provisioning your resources across multiple Availability Zones. You learn about the tools you use to manage these resources later in this module. 

One AWS Region with instances in multiple Availability Zones showing content being sent to users.

Points of Presence Locations

To deliver content to end-users in the fastest way possible, AWS employs a Global Network of 166 Points of Presence (PoP) in 65 cities across 29 countries.

These Points of Presence are divided into edge locations and regional edge caches. Some highly populated areas have multiple edge locations to ensure efficient content delivery when there’s high traffic.

Global map pinpointing all the Points of Presence, which includes Edge Locations, Multiple Edge Locations and Regional Caches.

When a user makes an initial request for your content, the closest edge location caches a copy. The edge location then delivers the newly cached content to users who access that content and are close to that edge location, rather than retrieving the same content over and over again. This process speeds up content delivery by giving users access to content from an edge location potentially in the same city. The process repeats as more users access content from edge locations around the globe.

Regional edge caches are used when content isn’t accessed frequently enough to remain in an edge location. Regional edge caches absorb this content and provide an alternative to fetching that content from the origin server.

Wrap-Up

Every component of the AWS Global Infrastructure is designed and built for redundancy and reliability, from Regions to Availability Zones to edge locations and more.

In the next unit, get to know the tools that you can use to create and manage AWS resources within the AWS Global Infrastructure.

Resources