Microsoft Cloud is today being hosted from UK based data centres and the company has claimed a victory over Amazon Web Services for UK cloud roll out.
By being first to publically declare a UK cloud region a company spokesperson said: "Microsoft is the first global cloud provider to offer a complete cloud from data centres in the UK – no other organisation is currently able to offer UK resident IaaS, PaaS and SaaS cloud services."
The race to open cloud data centers began last year when Amazon CTO Werner Vogels revealed on November 5th that the company would be creating a UK region, which requires the creation of multiple data centres. This is not expected to be live until the end of 2016 or early 2017.
The decision by Microsoft to open data centres in the UK was first announced by CEO Satya Nadella on November 10th at the Future Decoded conference.
From today Azure and Office will now be generally available from three data centre locations in London, Cardiff and Durham.
Microsoft named the Ministry of Defence as a marquee client saying it is moving its computing from its secure military network to the data centres run by Microsoft.
One of the issues that has hindered large scale cloud adoption in the UK by businesses in regulated sectors has been the concerns about on where data can be held. Cloud providers are being asked to confirm that data will not be placed in jurisdictions with different compliance and data protection requirements. There are ongoing legal test cases with Microsoft in a dispute with the US government over law enforcement rights to access data stored in its Dublin data centre. Companies are increasingly concerned that data is not move out of the coutnry of origin.
Microsoft's investment is being seen as seeking to reassure UK customers that their data will be located in the UK.
The MoD will be using Office 365 and Azure for computing purposes rather than the legacy internal servers and Microsoft software which has been in use since 2005.
Mike Stone, Chief Digital and Information Officer at the Ministry of Defence, said: “Microsoft’s secure and transparent cloud service in the UK fits perfectly with the MOD’s digital transformation agenda.
“This agreement, which is based on Microsoft’s world-class reliability and performance, will allow us to deliver cost-effective, modern and flexible information capabilities. It will ensure we are better-placed in our ever-changing, digital-first world.”
The supplier also named South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Aston Martin, Capita, and Rosslyn Analytics as UK cloud region customers.