Microsoft Grows Its Cloud Footprint in Europe

Azure's about to cast a larger shadow with a planned expansion in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Microsoft cloud in Europe

Microsoft will be offering Azure cloud services and Office 365 from new UK-based data centers in late 2016, announced CEO Satya Nadella during the company's Future Decoded conference in London today.

Microsoft's cloud-based customer relationship management software, Dynamics CRM Online, will follow suit after. The UK-based Azure cloud data centers will also support ExpressRoute connections to enhance data privacy, security and network performance.

In addition, Nadella revealed that the latest expansions to its Azure data centers in Ireland and the Netherlands have been completed, enabling additional cloud computing capacity for customers in Europe, as well as the Middle East and Africa.

"By expanding our data center regions in the UK, Netherlands and Ireland, we aim to give local businesses and organizations of all sizes the transformative technology they need to seize new global growth," stated Nadella in prepared remarks.

In the UK, the data center allows Microsoft to comply with the area's data residency requirements and better serve a fast-growing market for cloud services.

Citing data from the Cloud Industry Forum, Michel Van der Bel, area vice president and general manager of Microsoft UK, noted in a Nov. 10 statement that cloud adoption had reached 84 percent in the UK. Microsoft's new computing centers "will open opportunity for customers and partners alike to innovate, compete and grow their business using the power of the cloud while adhering to strict standards and regulations like those found in banking, financial services and the public sector."

One security-conscious organization has already expressed interest, the UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD).

"At the MOD, we have a clear mission to deliver the modern, open and flexible IT resources required to ensure our forces have information capabilities tailored to their mission, location and role, accessible through a cost-effective and adaptable infrastructure," the Ministry of Defence's Chief Digital and Information Officer Mike Stone, said in a statement. "Microsoft's plans to offer highly secure, UK-based cloud services is an exciting development and one that will clearly support the MOD in our transformation journey."

Microsoft isn't alone in setting up shop in the region. IBM has also been expanding its cloud presence in Europe.

Last year, IBM announced it was opening a new SoftLayer data center in London with more than 15,000 physical servers. "We already have a large customer base in London and the region; we're excited to give those customers a full SoftLayer data center right in their backyard, with all the privacy, security and control the SoftLayer platform offers," said Lance Crosby, CEO of IBM SoftLayer, in a statement at the time.

In April, IBM opened another SoftLayer data center, this time in Almere, near Amsterdam. "This new facility demonstrates the demand and success IBM Cloud is having at delivering high-value services right to the doorstep of our clients. We're reaching customers in a way that takes all the guess work out of moving to the cloud," James Comfort, general manager of IBM cloud services, said in a statement.

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...