Microsoft to Launch Azure Data Center in India
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Photo: Microsoft)

Microsoft to Launch Azure Data Center in India

Views expansion as opportunity to sell cloud into industries with data sovereignty requirements

Microsoft is planning to establish Azure data centers in India to provide cloud services inside the country from local facilities, the company announced Tuesday. The company’s CEO Satya Nadella made the announcement while on a visit to New Delhi, saying the new facilities will come online by the end of 2015, but did not specify how many data centers were being planned or how big they were going to be.

Cloud providers establish local data centers to serve customers in the surrounding areas to improve performance. “Data sovereignty” has also become more acute of a concern in the post-Snowden world. The third reason Microsoft gave is geographic redundancy, meaning the more locations your data is in physically, the more resilient your infrastructure is as a whole.

Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India, said a local Azure data center would give the company a chance to sell to new sets of customers in the country that have to keep their data within its borders. “This opens new possibilities in e-governance, financial inclusion, healthcare and education, and will help us positively impact the lives of a billion people,” he said in a statement.

“With more than 250 million Indians using Internet-connected devices today, there is incredible demand and opportunity for India with Microsoft’s cloud services,” Nadella said in a statement.

Microsoft said its cloud services revenue in India has grown 100 percent over the past year. Customers include Bajaj Finance, Fortis Hospitals and the advertising agency FCB/ULKA.

In addition to well established enterprises, Microsoft is aiming Azure services at Indian startups. The company has a program to provide Azure service credits to local startups, totaling $60,000.

Microsoft is also reportedly planning to launch an Azure data center in Busan, South Korea. Nadella visited the port city earlier this month to discuss the project with local officials, Korea Herald reported.

Another major international data center capacity expansion is expected in Germany, according to news reports.

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