7 Reasons to Have a Multi-Region Application Architecture
From reduced latency to higher reliability fault tolerance and global content delivery, discover the top reasons to have a Multi-Region Application Architecture with Control Plane.
So your app is available worldwide, and you can now celebrate this incredible achievement. But before you get to it, you start getting notifications from users in Australia and Finland that the app doesn’t work as expected. They must wait a long time (seconds!) to get results; any update takes too long.
We all know that having our application use multiple cloud environments is good for business, particularly if you’re worried about data availability, load balancing, and price adjustments. For example, cloud-powered companies are 92% sure to have a positive user experience compared to only 44% for other companies. It’s slightly less known that having our cloud application spread over multiple regions is also beneficial. Lower latency is only one of the potential advantages.
In this article, we’ll explain what it means to have a multi-region application architecture and go over several key reasons to consider moving to this type of architecture. The good news is that if you decide to transition to a multi-region architecture, you only have to do it once. Adding and removing regions is much easier once the application and data architecture are in place. Let’s start with understanding the basics.
Multi-Region Application Architecture Explained
Whether you have just started your cloud migration or are well into this journey, it’s a common misconception that “cloud” means no physical infrastructure supporting it. In real life, each cloud provider has various data centers where the physical servers and infrastructure needed to provide their services are located. These physical locations translate into “cloud regions.”
When you set up your cloud infrastructure and choose a region, you decide which data center your information, servers, and services will be in. Usually, each cloud region is entirely independent of the others, and its data is not automatically replicated in the other areas. Even when using a multi-cloud management tool, you are restricted to the regions supported by your cloud providers.
Since data centers are physical locations, they are affected by the price of land, water, and electricity (it takes a LOT of electricity to keep all these servers cool). It also means that these physical locations could be subjected to natural disasters like fires, earthquakes, and floods – all events likely to shut down a particular data center. Remember the data center outage in South Korea in late 2022? A data center fire caused significant service disruptions to the two largest South Korean internet companies, Naver and Kakao.
Your users’ location and their user experience are also significant factors. If your users are in Australia and your data center or region is on the US east coast, they will have to wait for each request to travel from Australia to the US and back before getting a result. That’s a very long-haul flight!
A multi-region architecture means having your data and business processes available across multiple regions. The databases in the different areas are not connected, but they all share the same schema so that the same queries would work across all of them. Since each region has its servers, your application has no single point of failure. If one data center goes dark, traffic from users in other parts of the world will be automatically diverted to another DC without them noticing any problem.
7 Reasons to Have a Multi-Region Application Architecture
1. Reduced Latency
When your users are spread globally, a multi-region application architecture makes it possible to keep the user data close to them, thereby reducing latency. As a general rule, you want to keep latencies under 100 milliseconds. When your user and their data are on different continents, it can be challenging to reach this latency; hence the recommendation is to move to a multi-region.
If you are hesitant about how much this may cost you, consider a global virtual cloud like Control Plane. Control Plane provides independent region scaling, load balancing, and geo-DNS routing based on real-time latency measurements and user requests. Your users are always served by their nearest healthy workload, ensuring 99.999% service availability and ultra-low latency. Plus, you only pay for what you use and are billed by millicores (one-thousandths of CPU core) and megabytes of memory.
2. Higher reliability and fault tolerance
Although it’s not every day that a data center goes dark, it can happen. In December 2021, a power outage in AWS’s data center in Virginia brought down the US-East-1 region. Most recently, in June 2023, another AWS outage affected multiple websites, including various media news sites like The Associated Press, websites of online retailers like Nike, and even meal orders from Mcdonald’s.
With a multi-region arrangement, your app could keep serving your users even if a problem exists in a specific region. Automatic load balancing over multiple areas, like the one offered by Control Plane, can guarantee continued service even if various regions go dark. The user request is sent to the nearest available workload if a service outage occurs in a specific location.
3. Higher scalability
With your application and data distributed over multiple regions, you can quickly enhance capacity in any area to address increased demand by adding more cloud resources at any place where the application is deployed. If the opposite occurs and you suddenly lose a lot of users in a specific location, you can scale down your resources in that region. This allows for flexible scalability without downtime and stabilizes performance levels during peak usage.
4. Cost optimization
Since regions and the data centers that serve them are spread across diverse locations, the costs of using them could vary. Why should you pay for hosting your app and data in the US if most of your users are in New Zealand? Managing your load balancing over multiple regions based on active demand like the one Control Plane offers will reduce cloud costs as you’ll only be paying for resources you and your users are actively using. Usage is billed by millicores (one-thousandths of CPU core) and megabytes of memory. Control Plane also enables cloud repatriation – meaning you can move your workloads to on-prem anytime and continue using any AWS, GCP, and Azure resources.
5. Data privacy regulations compliance
Over 200 data privacy and storage laws are currently in effect worldwide, with GDPR likely being the most well-known. These policies frequently forbid the storage of particular data outside of specific locations. By pinning data inside the confines of a particular region, you can keep it where it needs to be for legal reasons with the correct multi-region deployment. Segmenting your data this way prevents data loss and makes it easier for your region-specific users to access their data. Plus, it means that should local regulation change, it would be easier to apply the new requirements over some regions rather than all of them.
6. Improved security
Multi-region architectures can complement cloud security tools by providing data replication and backups spread across regions. Replicated data in several locations ensures business continuity and lessens the impact on clients and stakeholders in the case of a security breach or data loss.
Having the ability to compare behaviors over different regions means that a penetration attempt at one area is more likely to be noticed. You can then implement fine-grained access control as part of your Cloud Identity Management strategy to limit unwanted access to your resources and data. DDoS attacks, a standard tool in the hacker arsenal, are far less effective when your application is globally distributed.
7. Global Content Delivery
With your app and data spread over multiple global regions, you can set up a more fine-grained Content Delivery Network (CDN), which means tailoring the appearance, content, ads, and even the behavior of your application to the geographical area it will be consumed at. This way, your users can receive tailored content based on region-specific preferences and cultural and language differences.
Ready, set, go: configuring multi-region
We looked at various reasons for adopting a multi-region architecture, but that is not to say that such a move is fast and easy. The reasons for investing your money, time, and resources in establishing a multi-region are also significant.
If, for example, we’re looking at low latency and high reliability, they are far more relevant to fast-paced industries like shopping, games, or stock investments rather than a fan-fiction story site. If your user base is limited to a single geographical region, investing in a multi-region architecture may not be your best choice.
Suppose your business model and user base justify providing a reliable, secure, low-latency service tailored to their location – moving to a multi-region architecture seems the right choice.
Similar to working with a multi-cloud architecture, configuring a multi-region application and database schema yourself can be a labor-intensive hassle. But you don’t have to do it alone. Platforms like Control Plane enable a single pane of glass multi-cloud and multi-region setup quickly and easily, where all finer details are happening behind the scenes without bothering your users. Discover new opportunities with Control Plane.