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Microsoft Bringing Its Datacenter Footprint to China, Middle East

In a bid to expand the global reach of its Azure and Office 365 services, Microsoft this week shared plans to increase its number of cloud datacenter regions worldwide.

The company intends to eventually add a dozen new Azure regions around the world to its current total of 38, according to an announcement Wednesday. Over the past three years, Microsoft claims to have "more than doubled" its Azure regions.

On the Office 365 and Dynamics 365 side, Microsoft is planning to ensure data residency support for those services in countries. To meet those requirements, Microsoft expects to expand its datacenters to "17 geographies" around the globe, according to the announcement.

[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft datacenters. New facilities indicated in gray. (Source: March 14 Microsoft announcement.)

Also on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the "general availability" of Azure and Office 365 services in France, which had been at the preview stage back in December. There are two datacenters, with one located in Paris and one located in the south. Existing Office 365 customers in France can now use the new infrastructures, which have support for the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect on May 25. However, the availability of Dynamics 365 services in France is yet to come, with arrival expected in "early 2019."

Microsoft also offered a few other datacenter expansion plan details. It's planning to expand into the Swiss market by adding new datacenters in Geneva and Zurich, which are expected to deliver Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 services by 2019. Blockchain support for the financial services industries could be added. Microsoft is partnering with telecom company Swisscom to deliver services to businesses and consumers in Switzerland.

There are also Microsoft datacenter expansion plans for Germany, although the city locations and timing weren't described.

Lastly, Microsoft plans to expand into the United Arab Emirates, adding datacenters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with "availability expected in 2019." Microsoft is partnering with Etisalat Digital to provide private Internet connectivity using Microsoft ExpressRoute technology, along with managed services support.

In another announcement, Microsoft reaffirmed its partnership with 21Vianet, a Chinese company that provides Azure and Office 365 services in China. The two companies are expanding Azure capacity in China, with an expectation to triple it "in the first half of 2018."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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