Today it was announced that Microsoft plans to open two new data centres in the UK in 2016.
Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella revealed the plans at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event in London. One data centre will be built near London and another in a UK location yet to be named. These will be additions to Microsoft’s existing 24 data centres, which have already seen recent expansion in Ireland and the Netherlands.
Mr Nadella told the conference: ” [It] really marks a huge milestone and a commitment on our part to make sure that we build the most hyperscale public cloud that operates around the world with more regions than anyone else.”
Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group at Microsoft, added that the move would address privacy watchdogs’ concerns about “data sovereignty”. “We’re always very clear that we don’t move data outside of a region that customers put it in,” he told the BBC. “For some things like healthcare, national defence and public sector workloads, there’s a variety of regulations that says the data has to stay in the UK. Having these two local [Microsoft] Azure regions means we can say this data will never leave the UK, and will be governed by all of the local regulations and laws.”
Microsoft will not be able to access this data without the permission of customers or the data trustee, and if permission is granted by the data trustee, will only do so under its supervision. The provisions will be welcomed by those looking to protect highly sensitive data, such as government bodies. The extra resources should also result in even faster running applications.
Microsoft’s existing clients include Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Pizza Hut and Confused.com, to name a few. Nick McGuire, an expert at the tech research company CCS Insight commented: “Microsoft’s new UK data centre will be a big deal for enterprises here – especially in highly regulated industries. It unlocks one of the key restraints on those bodies wishing to embrace cloud services.”
Outsourcing computing work to Microsoft offers the potential for savings, as it removes the need to build and maintain own equipment.
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