When dealing with cloud technology there is a phrase that everybody should remember: Physics Always Wins. There isn’t any way to get around the speed of light (2.98 x 108 m/s) other than getting as close to your cloud resources as possible. I believe that Microsoft does a great job about having data centers in strategically placed regions to help get you to your resources as quickly as possible. When it comes to latency, it’s pretty simple. The further away you are from the data center, the higher the latency. The closer you are, the better latency you’ll get.
Did you know there is a website that will show you the latency from your given IP address location to various Azure regions around the world? Welcome to AzureSpeed.com
AzureSpeed.com was created and maintained by Blair Chen (T) and does not have any observable official affiliation with Microsoft. Regardless, it is a useful tool to keep in your tool belt when working with Azure.
Since we need to work around physics, AzureSpeed.com will tell us the closest data center to Microsoft Azure. This is done using your public IP address is. For example, I am in Kentucky so my closest datacenter is almost always located in Virginia. As you can see, the latency (the numbers on the right) for East US 2 is about 50% faster than Central US. If I was looking to put resources into Azure and my facility was located in Louisville, Kentucky, East US 2 is the region of choice.
The site also has, which I think is a good visual representation, depicted below, of what the latency looks like up to 500 milliseconds. It does not, however, identify on the moving visual which data center is represented by which line and/or color. Beyond just the physical limitations of the speed of light, there are other factions that could play into what the latency actually is. Network congestion, down lines somewhere between your location and the data center, or even someone pulled the wrong cable in the data center itself. Ok, so the last one is probably unlikely, but it happens, we are all human.
The latency test will give you the average latency in milliseconds for a hand full of regions. In the chart shown below, you can see that at the moment I grabbed the screen shot, Central US (Iowa) has better latency than Virginia does. These are the values that are displayed in the Azure Latency visual. While you usually want your Azure resources to be in the closest data center to you, if you have data consumers spread out all over the world, this chart can help you determine the best place to put things.
The Azure ecosystem is large and vast. However, even with that said, there a multitude of tools available to make you successful. Tools like migration assistants & tools, pricing calculators and even latency tests as I’ve shown here. If you are looking to make the leap to Azure, be sure to check out Azurespeed.com and figure out your closest data center. Afterall, physics always wins but knowing is half the battle!
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