Microsoft Spins Up More Azure Cloud Services in the UK

Azure Container Service and several of Microsoft's other cloud services are now available in the U.K. region.

Microsoft Cloud in UK

For Microsoft's cloud customers in the UK, the wait for select services is over.

The company may have an expansive global cloud footprint, but regional differences between the company's cloud data centers has created patchwork of product availability. Services that are available to North American customers, for example, often take a while to spread to other parts of the world.

In a rare departure from the norm, the company announced that it was launching a new cloud container management capability in the UK Azure region before all others. "The UK region is the first Azure region featuring Docker Swarm mode instead of legacy Swarm," said Microsoft principal program manager Andres Juarez in a July 5 announcement regarding Azure Container Service's arrival to the area.

First announced in late 2014, Docker Swarm is a container clustering technology that has been an intense area of focus for Docker Inc. Swarm mode, container orchestration-enhancing feature, was first integrated into Docker Engine in the 1.12 release of the platform in June 2016.

Meanwhile, enterprises in the UK can now use Microsoft's container orchestration service for more agile DevOps and to float cloud applications faster.

"Simplified configurations of proven open source container orchestration technology, optimized to run in the Azure cloud, are provided," said Juarez of Azure Container Service's debut in the U.K. "In just a few clicks, customers can deploy in production container-based applications, and on a framework designed to help manage the complexity of containers deployed at scale."

Other new additions include a preview of the SQL Data Sync service. As its name suggests, it allows users to synchronize data across multiple SQL database or SQL Server instances by creating sync groups and setting a schedule.

To help its cloud customers in the region keep those databases safe from hackers, Microsoft also turned on its SQL Threat Detection service. This added layer of security intelligence continually monitors database activity, detecting access attempts from unknown networks, SQL injection and other indicators of a potential attack. Another security-enhancing service, called Managed Disks SSE (Storage Service Encryption), allows customers to apply at-rest encryption to their Azure cloud storage.

Log Analytics, a part of the Operations Management Suite (OMS) of cloud-based IT management solutions from Microsoft, is also now available in the UK Area customers can now use the tool to monitor the performance and availability of their hybrid cloud environments and apply the insights generated by the solution to resolve issues quickly, added Juarez.

Logic Apps, Microsoft's iPaaS (integration platform as a service) offering, is also now available in the U.K. Finally, the company has switched on its Azure Stream Analytics service, an event-processing engine that enables customers to analyze data generated by Internet of Things (IoT) devices in real-time.

Of course, Microsoft isn't the only cloud provider targeting enterprises in the UK

As part of a major global cloud expansion, IBM recently tripled its data center capacity in the region. Last December, Amazon launched Amazon Web Services London Region along with an extensive selection of services, including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Redshift and EC2 Container Registry.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...