Windows Azure Geo-location Live

At MIX ‘09, we announced the upcoming support for geo-location, and we’re pleased to announce that last night this functionality went live.

Choosing a Location

The first thing you’ll notice when creating a new storage account or hosted service is that there’s a new “affinity group” section.  The simplest thing you can do here is choose a region (currently limited to “USA – Anywhere,” “USA – Northwest,” and “USA – Southwest”) where you’d like your storage or hosted service to run.

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Using Affinity Groups

One of the reasons to choose where your storage accounts and hosted services are running is to make sure that the two are very close to each other, to make sure you have high bandwidth and low latency between your running application and the data it depends on.  Using our new geo-location functionality, you can now specify an affinity between different hosted services and storage accounts.  This is better than just choosing the same region, because it tells Windows Azure that you want everything in this affinity group to be as close as possible.  We’ll use that information to make decisions about exactly how to lay out applications and data in the data center.

To use affinity groups, just choose the second option in the new affinity group section.  In this screenshot, you can see I’ve chosen to create a new affinity group called “geo test affinity” and locate that in the “USA – Southwest” region.

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Now when I create a storage account to use with my new application, I can choose to use that existing affinity group, as you can see in the screenshot below.

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Try it Out!

For a full description of the functionality we’ve just rolled out, please go back and read the original announcement from MIX ‘09.  Then please try out the new functionality, and as always, we’d love to hear your feedback.

If you haven’t yet signed up for the Windows Azure CTP, now’s a great time!  Head over to http://dev.windowsazure.com and click the register button.  You should receive your invitation token by email within about 24 hours.