Office 365 is now being locally delivered to India from Microsoft's new Azure data centers in the region, the software giant announced Oct. 11.
Late last month, the company announced a major expansion of its global cloud data center footprint, by launching Azure commercial cloud services in India. Three new Azure regions—Central India in Pune, South India in Chennai and West India in Mumbai—bring the company's cloud data center total to 24 and provide surrounding areas with faster, more responsive access to the Azure-backed services.
"The Microsoft cloud in India will transform the way computing is done in the country," Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India, said in a Sept. 29 statement. "The hyper-scale cloud will empower governments, businesses and users and offer enough computing power that will support all their existing workloads."
As promised by Microsoft at the time, Office 365 joined the list of Azure cloud software and services this month.
"With the launch of Office 365 data centers in India, we are strengthening our support to the government's Digital India vision," said Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Office 365 team, in an Oct. 11 announcement. "Following the launch of Microsoft Azure in India data centers, our investment in Office 365 in the local data centers reaffirms our commitment to the Indian market and is intended to accelerate the Indian government's digital transformation initiative."
India has emerged as a strategically important region for the new "mobile-first, cloud-first" Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella. Formerly Microsoft's cloud chief, Nadella, who hails from Hyderabad, India, sees the country as providing an opportunity for further growth.
During a two-week tour of Asia in September 2014, Nadella told workers at a Microsoft Development Center in Hyderabad that the company "is deeply committed to helping people and organizations thrive in our mobile-first and cloud-first world—that's why we are proud to offer our commercial cloud services through data centers in India. With more than 250 million Indians using Internet-connected devices today, there is incredible demand and opportunity for India with Microsoft's cloud services."
Microsoft's investments in India enable local businesses to extend their IT capabilities to the cloud without running afoul of regulations governing data security and storage.
"Businesses in India will benefit from all the innovation, security and compliance capabilities that customers around the world have come to expect from Office 365," Jha stated. "With the new data centers, they will also get the added benefit of data residency, which is particularly important to organizations in regulated industries, such as banking, government and health care."
In a bid to attract enterprises and government organizations, Microsoft has been steadily racking up cloud compliance certifications. "Office 365 takes a comprehensive approach to compliance, achieving industry standards such as ISO 27001, ISO 27018, SOC 1 and SOC 2 reports, which provides the gold standard in security to government agencies, education and other commercial enterprises," Jha noted.