Microsoft today is announcing that its two new United Kingdom (UK) data center regions for its Azure public cloud and its Office 365 services are now available for public use.
Microsoft announced that it would build a UK region back in November, with plans to launch in early 2016, so it’s behind schedule. The two regions are known as United Kingdom South and United Kingdom West.
The more regions with data centers, the better for Microsoft, as it means that certain companies and government organizations will be able to meet requirements about where their applications are hosted and where their data is stored. In the public cloud business, Microsoft Azure’s biggest competitor, Amazon Web Services (AWS), is also in the process of opening a UK data center region. Meanwhile, Google is in the process of opening new data center regions for the Google Cloud Platform.
“A few of the customers moving to the Microsoft Cloud in the U.K. include the South London & Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Trust, the country’s largest mental health trust, and the Ministry of Defence (MoD),” Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president at Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise business, wrote in a blog post. “The MoD, which employs more than 230,000 people and currently spends over £3 billion on its infrastructure every year, will use Office 365 and Azure, citing both value and security as key reasons to use the Microsoft Cloud.”
Geographic availability is one of a few ways in which the cloud infrastructure war is fought. Companies also strive to stand out through feature releases and price cuts.
In the second quarter of this year, Azure’s compute usage more than doubled year over year, Microsoft said in July.
Microsoft plans to add support for Dynamics CRM online in the new UK regions in the first quarter of 2016, Numoto wrote.