Microsoft Hopes France Data Centres Will Boost Azure Spread In Europe

Expanding Azure will help Microsoft chase down digital transformation customers

Microsoft will open Azure data centres in France to expand the reach of its cloud platform in Europe.

The first French data centre will have availability staring from 2017, with Paris its likely location. Microsoft already has regions in the  UK, Germany and Ireland and he move stems from the $3 billion Microsoft has invested so far in bringing its cloud infrastructure to Europe.

Only last week, Amazon Web Services (AWS) confirmed it would open a region in the French capital next year.

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Speaking at a cloud-focussed Microsoft event in Dublin, chief executive Satya Nadella said the Redmond company’s cloud platform now covers “more regions than any other cloud provider”. It’s a bolshie boast given Microsoft still lags behind AWS as the world’s largest cloud infrastructure provider.

CEO Satya Nadella

“We are building [Azure] out as a global hyper scale cloud. We now have over 30 regions across all parts of the globe making sure there is access to the cloud,” said Nadella, noting that the capacity of Azure in Europe has more than doubled in the past year.

But Redmond’s chief said a key driver behind the expansion into Europe is to meet the stringent and different data regulations of some European nations, and build up Azure as a trusted provider of cloud infrastructure services.

“We are building out the hyper scale cloud so that it can address the legitimate digital sovereignty needs and other compliance needs of other European countries,” he said, citing the creation of Microsoft Cloud Germany as an example of creating that trust in action.

Europe is also seen by Microsoft as a region chock-full of companies undergoing a shift from legacy IT infrastructures to adopt more digital services, under the guise of digital transformation doctrines. Organisations such as the UK Ministry of Defence, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and Ireland’s Health Service Executive were examples touted by Microsoft as organisations using its products to undergo digital transformation.

“Ultimately, it’s about digital transformation that customers and partners and every organisation that we work with will achieve through this technology,” said Nadella.

In another part of his speech, Nadella noted how digital transformation will also be driven by the adoption of smart agents and software with machine learning capabilities.

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