Azure maintains multiple geographies to anticipate disaster recovery and data residency boundaries across its regions. Maintaining many regions ensures customers are supported across the world. To expand its services, Microsoft decided to bring a new Azure Region to China officially in March 2014 with two initial regions and expanded it to meet the China market’s growing needs for global public cloud services. When writing this article, Microsoft contains five Azure regions in the China market.
Azure China Regions
Microsoft officially launched in March 2014 two initial regions, **Microsoft Azure operated by 21Vianet** was the first international public cloud service that became generally available in the China market. Microsoft’s first two Chinese regions, **China East in Shanghai** and **China North in Bejing**, launched in 2014. Additional facilities in the same cities, **China East 2** and **China North 2**, opened in 2018. The **China North 3** region will be located in Hebei and be the company’s fifth in the country that will enable more customers to utilize Microsoft Cloud, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Power BI. So Microsoft Azure has:
- 2 regions (China East 2014, China North 2018) are located in Shangai
- 2 regions (China East2 2014, China North2 2018) are located in Beijing
- 1 region (China North3 2022) is located in Hebei
All the Microsoft China regions respect some compliances:
- Global Compliance ISO 20000, ISO 27001, ISO 27018, SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC 3
- Regional/Country Compliance: DJCP, GB 18030, TRUCS
Microsoft China regions offer cross-region disaster recovery options with [**Azure Site Recovery**](https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/site-recovery/azure-to-azure-quickstart) and [**Region Pairing**](https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/best-practices-availability-paired-regions). The China region offers an independent and dedicated network within China and ensures availability to organizations with a business presence in China. Per the Chinese regulatory requirements, Azure regions operated by 21Vianet in China are physically separated instances from Microsoft’s global cloud but are built on the same cloud technical base as its global peer
Azure China Availability Zones
Azure availability zones are physically separate locations within each Azure region that are tolerant to local failures. Datacenter locations are selected by using rigorous vulnerability risk assessment criteria. To ensure resiliency, a minimum of three separate availability zones are present in all availability zone-enabled regions. Tolerance to failures is achieved because of redundancy and logical isolation of Azure services and failures can range from software and hardware failures to events such as earthquakes, floods, and fires. Along with the new Azure region launched (Hebei), a set of new cloud innovation capabilities will be available in China in 2022 including **Azure availability zone**, which gives customers an industry-leading 99.99 percent SLA when VMs are running in two or more availability zones. The China regions in Shangai and Beijing offer availability zones with the nearest region with China North 3 zone while the Hebei region offers 03 availability zones. The availability zones in China are designed to provide the right level of resiliency and flexibility.
Each Azure region features datacenters deployed within a latency-defined perimeter. Microsoft Azure availability zones in China are highly available, fault-tolerant, and more scalable than traditional single or multiple data center infrastructures. With availability zones in China, Microsoft can design and operate applications and databases that automatically transition between zones without interruption.
What’s New with the Hebei China Region?
Azure announced new cloud innovation and sustainability for China in March 2022 with the new region:
- Flexible Server deployment option for Azure Database for MySQL, to provide maximum control for an organization’s databases, high availability options to help ensure zero data loss, built-in capabilities for cost optimization, and increased productivity enabled by the Azure ecosystem.
- Azure Digital Twins, an IoT capability that enables customers to create ”digital twins” of physical objects in the cloud; Azure Arc, which helps customers manage data and applications across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
- Datacentre design to support local ecosystems: Microsoft benchmarked the ecosystem performance in terms of water, air, carbon, climate, biodiversity, and more in twelve datacentre regions, to renew and revitalize the surrounding area so that we can restore and create a pathway to provide regenerative value for the local community and environment.
- Reducing water use in datacentres: a new approach to datacentre temperature management will further reduce the amount of water used in its evaporative cooled datacentres.
Microsoft Azure delivers intelligent, scalable, secure, compliant, and trustworthy cloud services. The collaboration with China was also to run all these essential cloud services since 2014 and help the organizations with a business presence in China.