Data governance concerns bring Microsoft services into UK data centres
Wed 7 Sep 2016
Microsoft has begun a roll-out of its cloud services from data centres in the UK, bringing to an end the former requirement for its customers to accept that their data be hosted in Ireland or Amsterdam in order to qualify for EU residency.
In the light of this summer’s political events, there is some irony to the implementation of this long-planned transition, but it also prepares the way for Brexit in a very practical manner.
Azure and Office 365 services are now available from DC locations in London, Durham and Cardiff, with UK-based Dynamics CRM to follow in the first half of 2017.
The UK residency opens up the possibility of new contracts in the governance-critical public sector, and in healthcare, banking and government.
From a civil liberties point of view, the move from Ireland or Amsterdam to the UK changes relatively little – many might argue that UK-held data is likely to be even more accessible to U.S.-based investigatory needs.
The move shadows a similar one announced by Amazon Web Services’ CTO Werner Vogels in 2015. AWS will begin offering native UK data centre services by the end of the year, with a complete cloud offering likely to be on offer from Q2 2017.
Microsoft’s intention to move its services to UK data centres was announced by Satya Nadella at Future Decoded last November.
Though popularly estimated in a definite second place to AWS globally, Azure’s Partner Director Tom Keane vaunts such advantages as the company currently retains over its bigger rival:
“As one of the largest cloud operators in the world, we’ve invested billions in building a highly scalable, reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud infrastructure. With the introduction of new regions in the UK, Microsoft has now announced 34 Azure regions around the world with 28 generally available today – more than any other major cloud provider.”
250,000 staff at the UK Ministry of Defence will be using the Blighty-based services, along with existing customers such as Aston Martin. Other customers moving to the UK services include Britain’s largest health trust, the South London & Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Trust.
Microsoft claims the broadest set of compliance certifications of any public cloud provider.