Requirements often dictate that storage and/or processing be done in a specific geographical location. I often get asked, “Does Azure have geo-location specific support?”  Most of those questions originate from the need for compliance that is either from industry or government. Azure allows specification of geographical regions or affinity groups. Geographical regions are related to the data centers, like North Central US, South Central US, Anywhere US, East Asia, North Europe, and so on. The list of options will grow as more data centers are added.

When creating a New Hosted Service account in Azure, the following options are provided. This post is bringing light to the choices under the Choose a region or affinity group.

Instead of selecting a region, it is possible to specify an affinity group. Affinity groups are hints to Azure that essentially state that everything within the group should be as close in proximity as Azure will allow. That usually means keeping items within the same data center, which besides having the benefit of geo-location, can sometimes offer performance improvements for communication.

The drop down for affinity groups allows for selection of existing groups or creation of a new one.

When creating a new affinity group, it allows for specification of a region just like what was shown previously.

The previous screenshots are for a New Hosted Service, so here is what it looks like for creating a Storage account in a similar fashion. The current choices for Regions when creating an Azure Storage account are shown.

In the case for choosing an affinity group, notice the existing group created by the hosting account. By selecting the same group, Azure will keep the two accounts close in proximity.

These features offer great control of where the processing and storage take place within the Azure ecosystem. When there are concerns about governmental, political and compliance requirements, Azure has some nice answers!

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