Last September, Microsoft cut the ribbon on new Azure cloud data centers in India. Weeks later, the Redmond, Wash., software and cloud services provider launched locally delivered Office 365 cloud services in the country, improving application responsiveness and assuaging data residency concerns for Microsoft's customers there.
Now, customers can also subscribe to Dynamics CRM Online, the cloud-based version of Microsoft's customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
The new Azure regions, Pune and Chennai, located in Central and South India, respectively, "enable data residency for CRM customers in India, bringing enterprise-grade reliability and performance to regulated industries and other businesses," wrote Jujhar Singh, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a May 3 announcement. "This includes data replication in multiple regions within India for business continuity, reduced network distance, and the option of a private connection to the cloud with Azure ExpressRoute."
Data residency and data sovereignty requirements have become major factors in how cloud providers deliver their services to the global marketplace. Depending on local regulations, businesses may be prohibited from storing customer data and other sensitive information on cloud servers in a foreign data center, where it can potentially fall into the hands of other governments or organizations.
Microsoft isn't the only IT giant taking those concerns seriously as they battle for more global market share.
During the launch of its Cloud Machine virtual cloud option in March, Oracle singled out the ability for customers to exert full control over data and meet local data residency requirements as a major benefit. Also in March, IBM announced a new cloud data center in South Africa that will not only solve many network latency issues for customers in the area, but also puts their data sovereignty concerns to rest.
India is emerging as a strategically important market for cloud computing companies and software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers.
Cloud computing has cemented its place in the populous nation. Last year, Gartner's cloud adoption survey revealed that 61 percent of Indian organizations were already using cloud services. By the end of 2015, an additional 31 percent said they planned on jumping on the cloud bandwagon.
Gartner predicts that the Indian public cloud services market—including SaaS, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and related management and security services—will balloon to $1.9 billion through 2019, nearly quadrupling the estimated $555 million that the industry generated in all of 2014.
"The forecast for cloud services vary based on local factors, including supply and demand within the local markets, country-specific economic conditions, currency exchange rates, and other global market factors," said Sid Nag, research director at Gartner, in a statement. "The explosive growth of IaaS and SaaS in the India market is an indication that enterprises in India are moving away from building their own on premises infrastructure, as well as migrating from the traditional software licensing model, to a SaaS model served up by cloud providers."