Microsoft has announced plans for two new datacenters in Norway, the company’s first cloud regions in the Nordics.

The news comes as rival Google opened its first Cloud Platform region in the Nordics, and Amazon is currently in the process of opening its first datacenters in the region, with plans for a Swedish AWS hub later this year.

Microsoft’s new datacenters, located in Oslo and the greater Stavanger region, are expected to be operational from late 2019, starting with Azure and followed by support for Office 365 and Dynamics 365.

The move aligns closely with Microsoft’s mission to be a “cloud first” company, and its recent financials suggest that the company is on course to achieve this aim — revenue from its Azure cloud platform increased 93 percent year-on-year.

“Over a billion customers around the world trust the intelligent Microsoft Cloud to provide a platform to help transform their businesses,” said Microsoft Azure executive VP Jason Zander, in a statement. “By delivering the Microsoft Cloud from new datacenter regions in Norway, organizations will be empowered through cloud-scale innovation while meeting their data residency, security, and compliance needs.”

Companies are increasingly shifting from on-site servers to the cloud, which represents a significant opportunity for providers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft to lock customers into their respective cloud ecosystems. This is why it’s important to have datacenters around the world — the nearer to a datacenter a company is, the lower the latency of data transfers. Moreover, “data sovereignty” requirements mean that companies increasingly want their data to be stored closer to home.

We’re now seeing a battle to launch datacenters in new regions around the world. Back in September, Google opened its first South American region, several years after Amazon and Microsoft had launched in the region. Microsoft recently became the first of the trio to announce African cloud infrastructure, with plans to open a duo of datacenters in South Africa later this year. And now the Nordic region has become a clear battleground.

Microsoft currently has eight active cloud regions across Europe and the U.K., with plans for more in Switzerland, Germany, and now Norway. The company also recently launched an underwater datacenter off the Scottish coast as part of an ongoing research project to determine the feasibility of underwater datacenters.