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How Microsoft will build resilience into its new data centre region

Peter Griffin, Editor. 18 October 2022, 9:30 am

Microsoft’s new data centre region under construction in Auckland will feature Azure Availability Zone, offering zonal and regional redundancy to combat major outages.

Microsoft said yesterday that it was extending Azure Availability Zone to its Melbourne (Australia Southeast) data centre region and would include it for Auckland (New Zealand North) when that region goes live.

“This geographic separation of infrastructure is a key requirement for many organisations to meet disaster recovery objectives for critical infrastructure,” writes Padi Quesnel, Senior Product Manager - Azure, Microsoft ANZ, explains in a blog post.

“However, multi-regional architectures can be challenging and are often reserved for only the most critical workloads.”

In 2020, Microsoft launched Azure Availability Zone in Sydney (Australia East), offering three physically separated locations around the Sydney metropolitan region offering “an industry leading 99.99% financially backed uptime guarantee”.

That capability will appeal to New Zealand corporates and public agencies requiring maximum uptime and looking to protect their digital infrastructure from natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, fires and flooding.

Azure Availability Zone can also span Azure regions, so New Zealand customers being served locally by Microsoft with its new data centre infrastructure can also have redundancy across the Tasman or elsewhere, for what Microsoft describes as “geo-redundant storage” offering 16-9s redundancy. that reduces the risk associated with all of Microsoft's new data centres being located in the Auckland region - customers running critical infrastructure can at least put in place a plan to switch to an international Azure region.

Resilience is about more than data centre infrastructure - servers, power and cooling generators etc. It requires that networking and bandwidth connectivity also be able to immediately re-route traffic to another data centre when an outage occurs. A major outage at data centre operator Interxion, which saw its key London data centre hit by a power cut earlier this year, shows the importance of intelligent traffic routing to quickly switch to another point of presence.

Tech Blog put some questions to Microsoft about the resilience feature coming to NZ:

When will the Azure Availability Zone for New Zealand be available?  

“This is part of the New Zealand data centre region, for which a date has not yet been confirmed.”

What does it actually entail? So as with Sydney, where Microsoft is able to distribute customers' data across three physically separate facilities, will that be replicated in the Auckland region?

“Microsoft's New Zealand data centre region will have three connected sites, with state-of-the-art investment in engineering to optimise use of compute and storage resources.”

Can an Azure Availability Zone span Aus and NZ ie: could an Azure customer in Auckland have their data also available in Sydney for greater resilience?

“Yes. Should customers require additional resiliency out of New Zealand North, then they will have the ability to choose another Microsoft Azure region to provide this.

This infographic shows the various compute, storage and geographic redundancy options available to cover organisations’ varying requirements.”

Screenshot 2022-10-18 at 8.54.51 AM.png


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David Lane 04 November 2022, 6:38 pm

Just a reminder to all those gung-ho about this new MSFT 'onshore' data centre: It'll still be owned by Microsoft, who're subject to the US Cloud and Patriot Acts, and as a result they'll prefer US regulation over NZ regulation. In other words, even though they're onshore, our data sovereignty is a myth. We should use *equally priced* NZ-owned clouds, who've been here for far longer than MSFT's Azure.

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