There has been some discussions over the past weeks, months, years on which Cloud provider is the best, or the biggest, or provides the most services, or [insert some other topic]? The old answer to everything related to IT is ‘It Depends’. A recent article by CloudWars (and updated numbers by them) and some of the comments to it, and elsewhere prompted me to have a look at ‘How Many Data Center Regions do each Cloud Vendor have?’ I didn’t go looking at all possible cloud vendors, but instead kept to the main vendors consisting of Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Oracle Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS). We know AWS has been around for a long long time, and seems to gather most of the attention and focus within the developer community, etc, you’d expect them to be the biggest. Well, the results from my investigation does not support this.
Now, it is important to remember when reading the results presented below that these are from a particular point in time, and that is the date of this blog post. If you are reading this some time later, the actual number of data centers will be different and will be larger.
When looking at the data, as presented on each vendors website (see link to each vendor below), most list some locations coming in the future. It’s really impressive to see the number of “coming soon” locations. These “coming soon” locations are not included below (as of blog post date).
Before showing a breakdown for each vendor the following table gives the total number of data center regions for each vendor.
The numbers presented in the above table are different to does presented in the original CloudWars article or their updated numbers. If you look at the comments on that article and the comments on LinkedIn, you will see there was some disagreement of on their numbers. The problem is a data quality one, and vendors presenting their list of data centers in different parts of their website and documentation. Data quality and consistency is always a challenge, and particularly so when publishing data on vendor blogs, documentation and various websites. Indeed, the data I present in this post will be out of date within a few days/weeks. I’ve also excluded locations marked as ‘coming soon’ (see Azure listing).
Looking at the numbers in the above table can be a little surprising, particularly if you look at AWS, and then look at the difference in numbers between AWS and Azure and even Oracle. Very soon Azure will have double the number of data center regions when compared to AWS.
What do these numbers tell you? Based on just these numbers it would appear that Azure and Oracle Cloud are BIG cloud providers, and are much bigger than AWS. But maybe AWS has data centers that are way way bigger than those two vendors. It can be a little challenging to know the size and scale of each data center. Maybe they are going after different types of customers? With the roll out of Cloud over the past few years, there has been numerous challenges from legal and sovereign related issues requiring data to be geographically located within a country or geographic region. Most of these restrictions apply to larger organizations in the financial, insurance, and government related, etc. Given the historical customer base of Microsoft and Oracle, maybe this is driving their number of data center regions.
In more recent times there has been a growing interest, and in some sectors a growing need for organizations to be multi-cloud. Given the number of data center regions, for Azure and Oracle, and commonality in their geographic locations, it isn’t surprising to see the recent announcement from Azure and Oracle of their interconnect agreement and making the Oracle Database Service available (via interconnect) from Azure. I’m sure we will see more services being shared between these two vendors, and other might join in doing something similar.
Let’s get back to the numbers and data for each Vendor. I’ve also included a link to the Vendor website where these data was obtained. (just remember these are based on date of blog post)
When you look at the Azure website listing the location, at first look it might appear they have many more locations. When you look closer at these, some/many of them are listed as ‘coming soon’. These ‘coming soon’ locations are not included in the above and below tables.
GCP doesn’t list and Government data center regions.