Categories: CloudPCWorkspace

Microsoft Azure Enters Chinese Market

Microsoft’s cloud has officially entered a massive new market, namely that of mainland China.

“I am pleased to share that Microsoft Azure, operated by 21Vianet, is now generally available for our customers in China,” announced Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Cloud and Enterprise Marketing for Microsoft, in a 26 March statement. 21Vianet Group is a large provider of carrier-neutral Internet Data Center (IDC) services. And Microsoft isn’t its only big US-based partner.

Cloud Future

The company teamed with IT behemoth IBM – no stranger to the Chinese market – to bring IBM’s SmartCloud Enterprise+ platform to China. Under the terms of the partnership, 21Vianet will host IBM’s physical point of distribution (POD) and service at its Beijing data centre.

One-upping IBM, Numoto said that its deal with 21Vianet makes Microsoft the “first global company to make onshore public cloud services available to customers in China, through 21Vianet.” Microsoft is not new to China either; the company has a 20-plus-year presence in the country, he added. It’s a history that the company is banking on to help fuel the growth of its cloud.

Characterising the Chinese cloud services market as a “particular hot spot,” Numoto cited some encouraging market data from IDC. According to the IT market research firm, the Chinese public cloud service market has experienced a “sustained growth rate of more than 40 percent” since 2012.

“Cloud computing is a big part of the future for China, and we are thrilled to play a role in bringing this future to our customers,” he said.

Microsoft recently made moves into another fast-growing cloud market in Asia. Last month, the company announced that as of 26 February, Azure’s global footprint extends into the island nation of Japan courtesy of a dual-data-centre layout in that country.

Local Data Centres

Numoto offered a glimpse into how Microsoft will be delivering and marketing its cloud services to Chinese businesses. Calling 21Vianet “a trusted and reliable partner,” he revealed that the firm will make Azure available from multiple data centres in China to “enable critical disaster recovery scenarios.” 21Vianet has more than 3,000 cloud customers in the country, including CNTV and Coca-Cola China.

Notably, Numoto is already using Microsoft Azure, not Windows Azure, to refer to his company’s massive cloud services portfolio. Following earlier rumours, Microsoft announced on 25 March that it was officially renaming Windows Azure on 3 April.

The new brand, Microsoft Azure, “reflects Microsoft’s strategy and focus on Azure as the public cloud platform for customers as well as for our own services Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Bing, OneDrive, Skype, and Xbox Live,” stated Steven Martin, general manager for Windows Azure, in a statement. It also represents a break, of sorts, from the tech titan’s PC-centric past.

Martin asserted that in a “mobile-first, cloud-first, data-powered world, customers want a public cloud platform that supports their needs – whatever they may be – and that public cloud is Microsoft Azure.”

Is your knowledge of Microsoft a bit cloudy? Try our quiz!

Originally published on eWeek.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez covers Microsoft products and services, such as Office, Windows, Windows Phone, Azure and Skype.

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