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November 10, 2015

Microsoft plans UK data centres amid fierce EU cloud expansion

News: Company follows AWS with its own cloud region in response to the Safe Harbour ruling.

By Joao Lima

Microsoft has unveiled ambitious plans to expand its European cloud footprint with the construction of new data centres in the UK.

Following AWS’s footsteps, the company will be opening its first UK cloud region next year, with Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella announcing the move at the company’s Future Decoded conference in London today.

The company said Microsoft Azure and Office 365 will be generally available from local UK-based data centres in late 2016, with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online following shortly thereafter.

Microsoft has decided to enter the national colo space following last month’s EU Safe Harbour ruling, which resulted in European data having to stay in the continent.

Microsoft has also completed the latest phase of expansion of its sites in Ireland and the Netherlands.

Nadella said: "By expanding our data centre regions in the UK, Netherlands and Ireland we aim to give local businesses and organisations of all sizes the transformative technology they need to seize new global growth,"

Commenting on the news, managed services provider Avanade UK’s GM, Julian Tomison, said: "News that Microsoft plans to open UK-based data centres in the next calendar year is great news for the UK and the technology sector as a whole.

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"This announcement, and the investment behind it, validates the sector and will ultimately have a positive impact on the cloud industry; collectively this will benefit the UK and the industry as customers feel they have more control over where their data is stored."

Tomison also said that having data centres in the UK will help the country to stay competitive when prices and services are becoming uniform.

"Moving forward, I predict that we will see more of investments like this, especially as legislation like last month’s Safe Harbour ruling continue to shape the legal situation in the UK and the EU."

Microsoft currently owns 17 cloud regions worldwide, mainly in North America and Asia. Last Friday, AWS announced that it will add London as an EU cloud region in addition to its existing regions of Frankfurt and Dublin.

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