Microsoft officials often cite the number of Azure regions the company has on its books. For a while, 54 has been the magic number, which includes some operational and some "planned" regions. Microsoft currently claims more global regions than any other cloud provider. But that number may be about to grow further with announcements possibly coming at its Build developer conference in Seattle next week.
Microsoft officials didn't provide much in the way of reasons for the retirement, other than saying "we're continually optimizing our cloud datacenter infrastructure to be more efficient and cost-effective." Officials noted that Microsoft operates three additional government regions "all of which provide similar or enhanced capabilities to the US Gov Iowa region."
Microsoft also may be gearing up to announce details on some new Azure regions opening in the coming months/years -- possibly during its upcoming Build developer conference the week of May 6.
Last week, I got a tip from Bjorn Andersson (@diversetips on Twitter) about listings in a Microsoft document for some potential new Azure regions. He pointed to listings for Sweden "Central" and "South," as well as a new West US3 region. (Currently, Microsoft offers West US, West US2 and West Central US regions.)
I asked Microsoft officials if these listings were reflective of plans for more Azure regions/datacenters and received this statement from a spokesperson: "We intend to develop world-class, environmentally responsible datacenter locations in Sweden. Our plans are still early in development and we look forward to sharing more in the future."
A region, as Microsoft explains on its Azure site, "is a set of datacenters deployed within a latency-defined perimeter and connected through a dedicated regional low-latency network." Being able to offer customers datacenters in their preferred region is a competitive advantage in terms of performance and data sovereignty.
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