Microsoft Azure Reaches Into South Korea as Cloud Demand Soars

Microsoft announces an expansion into South Korea. Meanwhile, Azure opens for business in Canada, and the company releases new research that's good news for the cloud hosting market.

Microsoft cloud

Microsoft's cloud is continuing its spread across the globe.

The Redmond, Wash., software and cloud services provider announced on May 10 that it plans to spin up two new Azure data centers—or "regions," as Microsoft calls them—in South Korea. One of those data centers will be located in the country's capital city of Seoul.

"This latest investment is further proof of Microsoft's commitment to empower customers to embrace a cloud-first world on their terms and is expected to accelerate public and hybrid cloud adoption within Korea," blogged Takeshi Numoto, a corporate vice president at Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise division. "Businesses in Korea and throughout Asia Pacific will be able use the massive computing power available locally to fuel growth, spur innovation and accelerate digital transformation."

Currently, 24 Azure regions are processing cloud workloads for Microsoft and its customers. A total of 32 regions have been announced, more than any other cloud provider, added Numoto.

In Canada, two Azure regions were formally launched on May 10.

The new cloud data centers, located in Toronto and the city of Quebec, were first announced last June. Microsoft kicked off an operational preview, or soft opening of sorts, in March. In addition to serving up low-latency cloud services to businesses and government agencies in those regions, the local data centers also help alleviate the data privacy and residency concerns of Canadian organizations.

Cloud Continues Its Rise in the Enterprise

According to Microsoft, it has spent more than $15 billion on its cloud to date. New data released May 11 at the company's Cloud and Hosting Summit in Bellevue, Wash., suggests that it was a wise investment.

A Microsoft-sponsored survey of more than 1,700 IT decision makers from 451 Research reveals that the enterprise cloud computing market has soared past a major tipping point, said Aziz Benmalek, vice president of Microsoft's Hosting and Cloud Service Provider business unit. In two years, 57 percent of organizational infrastructure will be digital versus physical, compared with 51 percent today.

"Customers are architecting for the digital economy," Benmalek told eWEEK. "Digital transformation is becoming very critical with customers."

And the cloud provider market has plenty of room to grow. "Eighty-five percent of customers are beyond the discovery phase," continued Benmalek. Despite this, "only 15 percent have reached the broad implementation phase."

For cloud providers and their partner ecosystems, guiding organizations through their digital transformation journey early in the process can develop into long and sustained business relationships.

"Ninety-five percent [of organizations] are expected to stay with their current cloud provider in the next year," Benmalek said. Seventy percent have annual agreements with their cloud providers, while 40 percent said they signed up for multiyear agreements.

In terms of spending, the managed services segment of the cloud and hosting market is expected to skyrocket over the next few years. Managed services providers are poised to rake in $70 billion by 2019, up from $37 billion last year.

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 network of...