Microsoft has started to serve up Azure services from a new cloud region in Germany – operated under the supervision of a data trustee – to pitch for European punters with concerns about security and data sovereignty.
Redmond's plans for expanding its cloud footprint were confirmed last year by CEO Satya Nadella, and included the software giant’s first UK-based data centre facilities, which opened for business this month hosting Azure and Office 365 services.
However, the Azure services now available in Germany are different as these are managed under the control of a data trustee, T-Systems International, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.
This arrangement is supposed to ensure services delivered from the data centres in Magdeburg and Frankfurt adhere to German data handling regulations and give customers additional choices of how and where data is processed, Microsoft claims.
“The Microsoft Cloud Germany provides a differentiated option to the Microsoft Cloud services already available across Europe, creating increased opportunities for innovation and economic growth for highly regulated partners and customers in Germany, the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA),” Microsoft’s general manager for Azure, Tom Keane said in a statement.
This could be good news for companies in highly regulated industries such as financial services, but the uncertainty surrounding Brexit still hangs over the European cloud industry. Earlier this month Japan’s foreign ministry expressed its concern that the UK leaving the EU could have a negative impact on multinational companies that transfer data across national borders.
Microsoft said that Azure Germany offers a range of services from day one, including its Azure IoT Suite targeting the industrial and manufacturing sector, while also touting that the SAP HANA analytics platform is also certified to run in production on Azure.
The new Azure cloud services are the first to be made available from the two data centres, but Microsoft aims to start serving previews of Office 365 and Dynamics 365 later this year, followed by general availability of Office 365 in the first quarter and Dynamics 365 in the first half of 2017. ®