As businesses move more workstreams to the cloud, business continuity and data protection have never been more critical—and perhaps their importance has never been more visible than during the challenges and unpredictability of 2020. To continue our commitment to supporting stability and resiliency in the cloud, Microsoft is announcing the general availability of Azure Availability Zones from our South Central US datacenter region.
Azure Availability Zones are unique physical locations within an Azure region that each consist of one or more datacenters equipped with independent power, cooling, and networking. Availability Zones provide protection against datacenter failures and unplanned downtime. These are further supported by one of the top industry-leading service level agreements (SLA) of 99.99 percent virtual machine uptime.
For many companies, especially those in regulated industries who are increasingly moving their critical applications to the cloud, Availability Zones in South Central US provide the option for customers to choose the resiliency and business continuity options that support their business. Availability Zones provide our customers with added options for high availability with added fault tolerance against datacenter failures while supporting data protection and backup. Customers can choose to store data in the same datacenter, across zonal datacenters in the same region, or across geographically separated regions. Finally, data is protected against accidental customer deletion using role-based access control and immutable storage applied through forced retention policies.
Availability Zones in South Central US build upon a broader, rich set of resiliency features available with Azure that support customer resiliency. Key among these are:
- Azure Storage, SQL Database, and Cosmos DB all provide built-in data replication, both within a region and across regions.
- Azure managed disks are automatically placed in different storage scale units to limit the effects of hardware failures.
- Virtual machines (VMs) in an availability set are spread across several fault domains. A fault domain is a group of VMs that share a common power source and network switch. Spreading VMs across fault domains limits the impact of physical hardware failures, network outages, or power interruptions.
- Azure Site Recovery supports customers in disaster recovery scenarios across regions and zones.
The creation of Availability Zones in South Central US benefits our customers in many ways, including increased service availability guarantees, which reduces the chance of downtime or data loss should there be any failure. These zones also help ensure data storage protection for peace of mind. Data protection is our priority, even over recovery time. We can endure a longer outage and data can still be protected because of zone availability. Data is also replicated in triplicate. As we kick off a New Year, resiliency and stability for our customers are still crucial. We’re optimistic and excited to see the impact these Availability Zones will have on customers, their digital transformations, and ultimately their success.