Vol. 23, #45 - November 12, 2018 - Issue #1207
WServerNews: Things to know about Azure regions and datacenters
- Editor's Corner
- Things to know about Azure regions and datacenters
- What is an Azure region?
- Choose the right Azure region
- Tip of the Week
- New Look and Features for PowerShell Gallery
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Where has our sense of curiosity gone?
- Conference calendar
- North America
- New on Techgenix.com
- Introducing the TechGenix T-Suite Podcast (and the mystery of the attic box)
- SQL Server 2019 comes with host of new features
- Coding-free tech careers? Yep, it's possible!
- Shortcuts to success: Use these Excel hotkeys to improve your productivity
- Outlook mobile getting new security and management features
- Fun videos from Flixxy
- Why The First Cars Were Electric
- Vintage Inventions, Gadgets & Ideas
- Base Jumper Re-Creates 'Up' In Real Life
- Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 Visualized by Synchronized Line Riders
- More articles of interest
- Improve business processes: What are the leading IT techniques?
- How startups can accelerate a software product launch
- Compare cloud API management tools from AWS, Azure and Google
- Azure Stack growing pains could weigh on enterprise appeal
- Need help from the IT pro community?
- Send us feedback
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week in WServerNews we have a guest editorial from Michel Luescher, a Solutions Architect in the EMEA Domain for Cloud Infrastructure at Microsoft Services based out of Zurich, Switzerland. Primarily, he is focused on innovative cloud solutions and helps customers to define their Microsoft Azure landscape, enable migration scenarios, or support their digital transformation. Michel is working with enterprise customers from different industries in Europe. Michel co-authored the book Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation and Configuration Guide (John Wiley & Sons, 2013). He was also one of the co-authors of the ebook Microsoft System Center: Building a Virtualized Network Solution, Second Edition (Microsoft Press, 2015) which is part of the System Center series of ebooks for which I was Series Editor at Microsoft Press. You can find Michel on Twitter as @michelluescher. Let's now hear from Michel as he talks about Azure regions and datacenters.
- When deploying cloud services and resources, the location is a fundamental decision to consider. Depending on the datacenter location selected, there are technical and legal aspects in one region instead of another. What does this mean when deploying resources to Microsoft Azure? Let's start from the beginning and have a little walkthrough through the concept of a cloud-scale datacenter in the context of Microsoft Azure.
What is an Azure region?
Before you can deploy anything to the cloud, you need to select an Azure region. To make the right decision, it's crucial to understand the global infrastructure of Azure before making a choice:
- Geography is a discrete market, typically containing two or more regions that preserves data residency and compliance boundaries (e.g. Europe, North America).
- A region is a set of datacenters deployed within a latency-defined perimeter and connected through a dedicated regional low-latency network. A location represents the city or area of the Azure region. Each Azure region is paired with another region within the same geography. This makes them a regional pair (e.g. West Europe with North Europe).
- Availability zones are physically separate locations within an Azure region. Each availability zone is made up of one or more datacenters equipped with independent power, cooling, and networking.
- Last but not least, the datacenter. Azure datacenters are located in a specific location and are grouped together in regions.
As an example for Europe: The Azure geography "Europe" contains multiple Azure regions, such as "North Europe", "West Europe", etc. The location of West Europe is "Amsterdam", North Europe is "Dublin". Amsterdam and Dublin are the regional pairs.
Choose the right Azure region
Obviously, it's a wise decision to deploy the cloud resources as close as possible to the resource consumers. Choosing a local region will reduce the response time and with that offer a better user experience. However, there are many other factors to look at, such as data location, resource availability, network performance, and pricing. Aidan Finn, an MVP for Microsoft Azure wrote an excellent article about the characteristics and why they matter. Here however I especially want to highlight two things: performance and pricing.
Before deciding on a potential Region it might be good to validate first the network latency between your datacenter and office locations and the selected Azure region. Various online services are providing practical performance tests, such as http://www.azurespeed.com. Another online service measures the latency from the web browser to a blob storage account in various Azure locations: https://azurespeedtest.azurewebsites.net
When deploying a resource in Azure, be aware these can be provisioned across an entire Azure Region. Use Sysinternals PsPing for Windows, or qperf for Linux, as "ICMP" tests (ping) does not benefit from accelerated networking and would not provide accurate numbers. These test can be important, as there is no guarantee that resources are deployed into the same (physical) datacenter and latency varies.
Another thing to keep in mind, different regions have different costs. There are different price tags depending on the location. Have a look at this tool from Victor which compares the cost of virtual machines. Moving forward with the selection of a region, there is the aspect on cost to be aware of. There is a charge for data transfer between different regions or availability zones. This table describes some common scenarios:
Data transfer within the same region
Data transfer between two regions
Ingress and egress data transfer from a VNet resource to another resource in different Availability Zone
Data transfer between VNet resources in same Availability Zone
You should always refer however to the official site for the pricing details to make the final comparison. For negotiated prices, usually part of a monetary commit or multi-year contract, you might need to login to your Microsoft (EA) portal to see the reflected discount.
Got any IT pro tips you'd like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
New Look and Features for PowerShell Gallery
If you haven't checked out the PowerShell Gallery you should go there right now and take a look. The PowerShell Gallery is the central repository for sharing and acquiring PowerShell code including PowerShell modules, scripts, and DSC resources. The Windows PowerShell team at Microsoft recently announced on their MSDN blog that the PowerShell Gallery and PowerShellGet have just been updated to provide new features, performance improvements, and a new modern design. You can read more about these improvements in the following post:
Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
MailStore Server is an email archiving solution, catering to the needs of SMBs. It supports Exchange Server (even the new 2019 version) and Office 365. A free trial is available for download on the vendor's website.
A self-study guide for learning SQL Server fundamentals. It includes the history & technical basics. Concepts provided in the white paper will form the solid foundation of your future DBA expertise.
Using VMware or Hyper-V? Grab your FOREVER Free copy of Altaro VM Backup!
SQL Server Data Tools is a modern development tool for building SQL Server relational databases, Azure SQL databases, Analysis Services (AS) data models, Integration Services (IS) packages, and Reporting Services (RS) reports:
PowerShell script to ping and report on computers, export to CSV:
Plan Explorer helps you quickly get to the root of the toughest SQL Server query problems:
Last week's factoid and question was this:
Fact: The U.S. Air Force has been spending $1,280 apiece to replace in-flight reheating cups after their handles were found to break easily.
Question: What's the worst example you've seen firsthand as an IT professional of utterly wasteful expenditure?
The most interesting response we received was the following one from a reader who requested that his or her name be withheld from publication:
I work at an institution of higher institution in a state usually ranked 49th. Someone in Purchasing decided that the only new office chairs approved for purchase are Herman Miller Aeron chairs. Yes, those chairs with a suggested retail price of $969 (although you can pick one up at Amazon for just $674). And we wonder why our state is perpetually out of money!
While that sounds like a wasteful expenditure of taxpayer dollars, I've read several good reviews of those office chairs and I for one would be happy if someone in purchasing for our business would buy me one!!
And in other news reader Bruce Millar keeps sending us more puns including this one which I felt I just had to share:
A Zen student asked his master, "Is it OK to use email?"
"Yes," came the reply, "But no attachments."
Anyways, let's move on now to this week's factoid:
Fact: People today don't seem to be curious anymore about how things work.
Source: In my wanderings around the web I found the following story on a board somewhere:
[On a] visit to France earlier this year my wife and I were walking past a couple when my wife slowed down, turned to me, and said "I don't think the man knows what to do about their flat tyre - the girl has just said to him that he'll have to ask someone." They were well into their 20s, but neither had a clue. With the help of my wife as a translator, I changed the wheel for them. You should have seen their faces when I 'amazed them' with my knowledge, e.g., I knew that there'd be a special adapter required to take off one of the wheel-nuts; and that it was probably in the car's glove compartment (which it was).
Question: When was the last time you took apart something to figure out how it worked? Or repaired something yourself instead of calling an expert to do it for you?
Email your answer to [email protected]
>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
Midwest Management Summit -- Dec. 2-4 in Phoenix, Arizona
Microsoft Azure + AI Conference -- Dec. 3-6 in Las Vegas, Nevada
SharePoint Fest -- Dec. 3-7 in Chicago, Illinois
Ignite Tour -- Dec. 11-12 in São Paulo, Brazil
>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
Cybersecurity Leadership Summit -- Nov 12-14 in Berlin, Germany
Global Office 365 Developer Bootcamp -- Nov. 16 in Rome, Italy
Global Office 365 Developer Bootcamp -- Nov. 22 in Bern, Switzerland
Update Conference -- Nov. 22-23 in Prague, Czech Republic
European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference -- Nov. 26-29 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Ignite Tour -- Dec. 6-7 in Berlin, Germany
>> Got an IT conference happening in Australia or Asia that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
No conferences listed at present.
Introducing the TechGenix T-Suite Podcast (and the mystery of the attic box)
The TechGenix T-Suite Podcast is a new series focused on learning the past, present, and future of technology. We hope you will come along for the ride.
SQL Server 2019 comes with host of new features
Microsoft's SQL Server, first released more than 25 years ago, has gone through numerous upgrades. Here's a look at the new version, SQL Server 2019.
Is it really possible to have a career in tech without coding? Yes, coding-free tech careers are definitely possible, and here are a few jobs you might consider.
Shortcuts to success: Use these Excel hotkeys to improve your productivity
Excel is a wonderful tool to make you more productive. And these Excel hotkeys will simplify your job and save you even more time.
Outlook mobile getting new security and management features
Outlook mobile, Microsoft's popular app for Android and iOS users, is being upgraded with several new features. Here's a sneak-peek at what's rolling out.
Why The First Cars Were Electric
Vintage Inventions, Gadgets & Ideas
A compilation of some unique inventions of the past.
Base Jumper Re-Creates 'Up' In Real Life
Brazilian stunt man Luigi Cani re-creates 'Up' in real life by tying hundreds of balloons to a little house and flying away:
Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 Visualized by Synchronized Line Riders
Experience Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 visualized by six line riders perfectly synchronized to the music:
Improve business processes: What are the leading IT techniques?
There are multiple ways to improve business processes, and everyone has their personal favorites. Access this article from ITIL expert Gary Case to see what he recommends as the first step you can take today for more efficient business processes.
How startups can accelerate a software product launch
At your software startup, product delivery must be top priority, even at the expense of some bells and whistles. Learn how to get creative with some shortcuts to deliver quality software.
Compare cloud API management tools from AWS, Azure and Google
While the API management tools from top cloud providers share some functionality, there are key differences that developers -- especially those in a multi-cloud model -- should know.
Azure Stack growing pains could weigh on enterprise appeal
Microsoft's hybrid cloud platform continues to pique the interest of enterprise IT shops but still lacks the maturity and breadth of the Azure public cloud. Azure Stack deployment presents some challenges, and the platform might not appeal to all.
WServerNews goes out each week to more than 500,000 IT pro subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some technical problem or are looking for expert advice on something IT-related? Ask Our Readers by emailing your problems and/or questions to us at [email protected]
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]
Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance
WServerNews - Editors
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7www.mtit.com.Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.