Azure Region Selection for Resource Group Ownership Matters

When creating resources and resource groups, the locations in which the resource groups are created rarely get a thought. Resource group locations matter, not when everything is working but when there is a failure at an Azure region.

When you select the location for your resource group, you aren’t limited to putting resources from that location in the resource group. Resources from any Azure region can be placed in an Azure resource group which is stored in any Azure region. When the Azure region that is hosting the resource group fails, no changes can be made to the resources within that resource group, or to the resource group itself.

Firewalls as an Example

Let’s look at an example that I was working on for a client. Production for this client was is North Central US and the Disaster Recovery environment for this client is in South Central US. This client wanted to use Azure Firewall and have that deployed for both their North Central US and South Central US environments. As we were discussing the firewall rules that we were going to put in place we wanted to have a common rule set for outbound rules so that the exact same rules would be in place both for both Azure regions. This meant that we needed to place all the Azure Firewalls in the same resource group (as Azure Firewalls Policies can only inherit rules from another policy, when that policy is stored in the same region the parent policy).

This presented a problem. If we stored the resource group and the policies in North Central US and North Central US failed, then we couldn’t edit the Disaster Recovery policy. If we stored the policies and the resource group in South Central US and South Central US failed then we couldn’t edit or change the production firewall policy until our DR site came back up. The same applied to the resource group location. If we put the resource group in North Central US and the policies somewhere else, and production failed, there’s no guarantee that we’d be able to make firewall changes if those changes required being able to update the resource group itself.

What we ended up going in this case was putting the resource group and the Firewall Policies in a third Azure region, US West 2 in this case. This was if North Central US fails we can still edit our Azure Firewall Policies for our Disaster Recovery environment, and if South Central US fails we can still edit our Azure Firewall Policies for our Production environment.

WebApps

This same process applies to a web farm that is spread out across multiple Azure regions. If for example, you had a WebApp in two Azure regions with one in Central US and the second one in North Europe you wouldn’t want these to both be in the same resource group. If they were in the same resource group, you’d want that resource group to be in a third site. Because whatever site holds the resource group needs to be online for you to be able to make changes to the resources within the resource group, provided that those changes need to update the resource group directly.

The Solution

The solution to this is to either have one resource group for each region or put the resource group itself in a third region so that a failure of either region won’t affect it.

Denny

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