In March, I ran on my blog a slide that showed Microsoft's datacenter expansion plans for its Online Services, the team that oversees Microsoft's hosted cloud offerings like the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).
On April 14, Microsoft announced the global expansion plans indicated by this slide. BPOS commercial availability is being added in April for 17 new markets. As of today, Microsoft is adding support for the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Luxembourg, Poland and Romania. Later in April, Microsoft is adding: Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and Trinidad & Tobago.
Countries that were on the November BPOS roadmap slide but are not part of this announcement: Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan. (South Korea and Taiwan were mentioned as countries which would be added to the line up in July 2010, according to the November roadmap). Countries for which BPOS support was announced today that weren't mentioned in November included Cyprus, Luxembourg, Costa Rica, Peru and Trinidad & Tobago.
Bottom line: Microsoft is sticking pretty close to plan. However, roadmaps change. That's one reason Microsoft execs hate for them to be made public....
The BPOS team also announced today that U.S. customers using the BPOS Dedicated service now have access to "voice in the cloud" via Office Communications Online. The voice capability allows users to make and receive calls anywhere using their PC and broadband connection, potentially reducing the load on customers' existing PBX systems. Global Crossing is the provider of this new BPOS-D option, according to the blog post.
Microsoft officials told customers and partners late last year to expect Microsoft to roll out Communications Server 2007 Online functionality gradually to BPOS-Standard and BPOS-Dedicated customers. Even though Office Communications Server 2010 is slated to ship by the end of this calendar year, Microsoft Online customers aren't expected to begin to obtain pieces of that functionality until 2011, for the most part.
In other recent cloud news, Microsoft also has added 20 more markets to its Azure availability plan. In February, Microsoft made Azure commercially available to customers in 21 markets. On April 12, Microsoft added 20 more markets to the list of places where customers can develop for and use Windows Azure, SQL Azure and the Windows Azure AppFabric platform.
Many of the new Azure countries are the same ones for which Microsoft is adding BPOS support this month. However, BPOS is not hosted on Azure at this time. Microsoft officials haven't shared a timetable for when Microsoft plans to host its own Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Communications Online, CRM Online and other hosted services to Azure.