Microsoft to add new Azure regions in Germany, Switzerland, UAE

Microsoft is continuing to add more regions to its Azure datacenter list and has announced 50 regions in total, as of its latest unveilings.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is continuing to expand Azure's footprint with commitments to open new datacenter regions in Germany, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.


Microsoft announced its Azure expansion plans on March 14. Word leaked yesterday of Microsoft's plans to expand in Germany. The coming datacenter regions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai -- will be Microsoft's first in the Middle East. Microsoft's regions in Switzerland will be in Geneva and Zurich, officials said.

As of today, Microsoft has announced plans to deliver 50 Azure regions, which includes plans for 12 new regions that have yet to be opened. Over the last three years, Microsoft has more than doubled its number of available Azure regions, they said, providing Microsoft with more regions than any other cloud provider.

Microsoft also is making Office 365 and Dynamics 365 available in more regions, offering users in-geo data residency in many of the 17 geographic regions in which these services are available.

In 2015, Microsoft announced plans to have its German datacenters provide users with an option to store their data at rest exclusively in Germany. Microsoft partnered with T-Systems International GmbH, a Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, to act as a data trustee. The two Microsoft German datacenters, located in Magdeburg and Frankfurt, host Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, while providing users the option of having their data-access controlled by T-Systems acting as the trustee, rather than Microsoft.

Microsoft has been looking for "creative" ways to enable the company to meet data-residency requirements of its customers in the face of a US government crackdown designed to require cloud vendors to give governments access to user data, regardless of geographic boundaries.

I've asked Microsoft for a list of tentative opening dates for its newest datacenter regions, but a spokesperson said the company is not disclosing them at this time. Microsoft also is not disclosing the locations of the new German regions, the spokesperson said.

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