Microsoft Azure Expands Into Switzerland, Middle East

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Along with expansion in Germany, Microsoft said it’s planning new data centres for Switzerland and its first cloud facilities in the Middle East

Microsoft continues to throw all its eggs into the Azure basket with the news that it will build new data centres in both Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Redmond’s expansion in both Europe and the Middle East reinforces CEO Satya Nadella’s heavy commitment to the cloud, where Microsoft is locked in a fierce battle with both Amazon Web Services and Google.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Microsoft was planning to expand its cloud offerings in Germany with two new data centres in that country at a cost of more than 100m euros (£87m).

Azure

Azure expansion

Microsoft has now confirmed plans for Germany, and also revealed it would open its first Middle East data centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (in the UAE) in 2019.

That move came after AWS recently said it would open its first data centre in Bahrain.

Redmond’s cloud-computing products Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 will become available there in 2019.

“I’m thrilled to share that we plan to deliver the Microsoft Cloud from our first data centre locations in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, and we’ll expand the cloud options for customers in Germany,” blogged Jason Zander, corporate VP of Microsoft Azure.

“By delivering the comprehensive, intelligent Microsoft Cloud – comprising Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 – from data centres in a given geography, we offer scalable, available and resilient cloud services for companies and organisations while meeting data residency, security and compliance needs,” wrote Zander.

“We’re deepening our investment in the Middle East with these first cloud regions, which will be in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates,” he wrote. “In Europe, we’re continuing to expand our substantial cloud footprint in response to customer demand and to address the needs of some of the world’s leading industries and organisations.”

According to Zander, Microsoft’s decision to introduce cloud regions in Switzerland, with the data centres located in the cantons of Geneva and Zurich, comes because the software giant’s “engagement with financial institutions and regulators in Switzerland over the past several years has led to a deeper understanding of the market and the opportunity for locally delivered, trusted enterprise cloud services to meet their unique requirements”.

In Germany Microsoft is expanding the cloud service options available with the addition of new cloud regions in that country, which will complement the options currently available for German customers.

More regions

“The two new regions will provide enterprise-grade reliability, performance and business continuity combined with data residency within Germany and connectivity to Microsoft’s global public cloud network,” Zander wrote.

“Over the last three years, we’ve more than doubled the number of Azure regions available,” wrote Zander. “As of today, Azure has more regions than any other cloud provider. We’ve announced a goal to be in 50 regions across the globe, including plans for 12 new regions.”

Last year for example Redmond began building two data centres in South Africa, its first data centre expansion into Africa itself. Those two facilities (in Johannesburg and Cape Town) are expected to be online in 2018.

It should be noted that since 2015 Microsoft has had a partnership with Deutsche Telekom that enables it to offer German-based cloud services from two facilities in the cities of Magdeburg and Frankfurt.

How well do you know the cloud? Try our quiz!