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Microsoft Will Open Two German-Only Azure Data Centre Regions

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Microsoft to keep German customers cloud data in country

Microsoft said 83% of German businesses expect their cloud provider to operate data centers in Germany, according to a study by German business group Bitkom.

Notably, the data centers, in Magdeburg and Frankfurt, will be operated by T-Systems, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Microsoft appears to have chosen T-Systems as the levels of security, service and quality are similar to Microsoft's own standards so that they can ensure consistency across the globe. Services are available to clients in Germany, the European Union as well as the European Free Trade Association. The services offered will abide by the Microsoft trusted cloud principles of security, privacy, control, compliance and transparency, as well as consistency with Microsoft's global cloud services.

Although the Silicon Valley company stands a chance at losing that fight, establishing data centers in Germany should mandate that all digital information stored there will soon be subject to local laws that will provide more protection than most other locales, including the U.S. Microsoft will not be allowed to access customer data stored in the new data centers without the permission of the customers or the data trustee.

However, Nadella added nuance to the picture, saying that Microsoft's vision of mobility was more about the mobility of experience for the end user, as in what the firm is trying to deliver with Windows 10, where users should be able to access the same data and applications regardless of what Windows device they log into.

European concern about where data is hosted grew following the striking down of the Safe Harbor Agreement by the EU's top court last month.

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that the company is expanding its data centre presence elsewhere in Europe, spending $2 billion (£1.3 billion) on upgrading existing infrastructure in Ireland and the Netherlands and building entirely new centres in the UK.

Microsoft is also looking to empower users through new tools around analytics and machine learning, with services like Cortana Analytics and Azure ML.

The move by Microsoft is apparently aimed at assuaging German concerns about storing its data with an United States cloud company, particularly after revelations by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, about large-scale NSA surveillance in the country and vehicle.

Microsoft has put more focus on its cloud business, which Nadella sees as central to the company's future.

 

Oracle, Amazon, Salesforce and SAP also offer cloud services.

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