Microsoft launches Azure cloud platform data centers

Microsoft officially launched two data centers today as part of its Azure cloud computing platform at the start of the tech giant’s 21st TechEd Conference .

The announcement was delivered at by Microsoft managing director Pip Marlow. It marks part of a major push into the government, businesses, independent software vendors (or ISVs) and startup market by the company.

There are two data centers,which are now available to all Azure customers.The local cloud computing regions mean local Azure accounts will be hosted in a data center, in turn allowing businesses to be able to assure customers their key data will never leave their country.

“The time and the tools are here and now to concentrate on what it is you do everyday.”

Globally, Azure is signing up 10,000 new customers per week. It currently hosts 1.2 million SQL databases, 30 trillion objects, 350 million users, 18 billion authentications per week, over 2 million registered developers and 60% of customers are using higher level services.

Executive vice president of Microsoft’s cloud and services group, Scott Guthrie, predicted the cloud computing marketplace will eventually shrink to three key players in Amazon AWS, Google and Microsoft Azure.

Guthrie said a key differentiating feature of Azure compared to other services is its large size (or “hyper-scale”) including the ability to scale-up services based on demand. It also includes enterprise grade support, as well as hybrid cloud support, meaning on-premises servers can connect any on-premises server to the cloud.

“We plan to differentiate from the other two based on our level of enterprise support,” Guthrie says.

“Going forward, we believe all our customers will need to take advantage of this hyper-scale activity and that elastic capability to save costs.”

“It’s a strategy where you can take the best of the Windows ecosystem and the best of the Linux ecosystem,” Guthrie says.

Microsoft revealed 19 regions will get local data centers by the end of 2014, which is twice the number offered by Amazon AWS and six times the number offered by the Google Cloud.

“Historically, the world event space has been difficult for us because of the infrastructure involved with that, and customers being unwilling to pay for that scale in the early days.

“What Azure is doing for us is that it’s allowing us to say to our customers that you don’t need to pay for a lot of expensive infrastructure in the early days, you can scale up and have that data locally.”

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