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Microsoft Opens U.K. Datacenters for Office 365, Azure

Microsoft took steps to expand its cloud footprint this week with the launch of new datacenter locations in the United Kingdom.

The new U.K. datacenters, which provide access to Microsoft Azure and Office 365 services, increase the total Azure datacenter regions to 28. Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president for Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise, indicated in a blog post that six additional datacenters were "coming soon for a total of 34, more than any other major cloud provider."

In total (Azure plus other datacenters), Microsoft has "more than 100 data centres globally," according to Microsoft's U.K. press release.

Numoto said that "Microsoft Azure and Office 365 are now generally available from the new datacenter regions." However, he added that the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service is yet to come. It's expected to arrive in "the first half of 2017."

The locations weren't described, but Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Aidan Finn stated in a blog post that they are located in "London (UK South) and Cardiff (UK West)." He found that some of the Azure services weren't yet available. Missing were the ExpressRoute high-bandwidth connection service, the Azure Backup service and the Azure Active Directory service, among a few others.

Microsoft already has customers for its U.K. datacenters, including the Ministry of Defence, the Glasgow City Council, Marks & Spencer and Virgin Atlantic, among others. In addition, Microsoft has datacenter agreements with the South London & Maudsley NHS Trust, Aston Martin, Capita and Rosslyn Analytics, according to Microsoft's U.K. announcement. The datacenters are expected to create opportunities for "Microsoft UK's 25,000-plus partners," it added.

Microsoft's announcements stressed that the new datacenters comply with Microsoft's Trusted Cloud principles for security, privacy, compliance and transparency. Documentation for those principals is located in the Microsoft Trust Center portal.

In addition, Microsoft's announcements stressed that its policies comply with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework regarding the privacy of data when transferred from European Union countries to the United States. Britain's exit from the European Union, though, makes the meaning of such compliance a bit unclear.

In the U.S. courts, Microsoft has been contesting a U.S. subpoena for customer e-mail data that was stored in its Dublin, Ireland datacenter. In July, the company won an appeals court ruling on the case. The judges indicated that Microsoft couldn't be compelled to turn over data stored outside the United States. However, it's not clear if U.S. officials have dropped the case.

Moreover, the Privacy Shield agreement just gives European Union customers the ability to sue in U.S. courts, provided that they know that their data is being requested by U.S. authorities. Typically, such requests are issued by U.S. authorities with gag orders, which prohibit informing the target about the search.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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