Microsoft’s Chief Executive Satya Nadella announced on Tuesday at the Future Decoded conference that they are going to open data centres in the UK for the first time, competing with the likes of Amazon. The UK cloud market is currently worth around 3.4 billion pounds and is growing rapidly.
Microsoft already has data centres in other parts of Europe and add the UK with their data centre in Ireland’s capital, Dublin. With the addition of two new data centres in the UK, Microsoft can offer its cloud applications such as Office 365 and Azure to UK companies and keep their data in UK jurisdiction.
Microsoft’s announcement comes amid growing international scrutiny of data practices and the European Court of Justice’s recent decision to invalidate “Safe Harbour”, a transatlantic treaty that had allowed the unfettered transfer of personal data from the EU to the US.
Companies such as Google and Amazon are now large scale cloud providers that are offering their services around the world, Microsoft is among them as a big player in the market. Amazon recently announced that both Amazon and Microsoft are investing up to 2 billion pounds in Cloud infrastructure across Europe.
According to the UK governments technology office, Liam Maxwell, the government is spending over a billion pounds on data centre hosting, simply because data protection rules stop certain data from leaving the country. With Amazon and Microsoft’s recent efforts of having data centres in the UK, this would dramatically save money by outsourcing the governments data to Microsoft and Amazon.
Head of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise division, Scott Guthrie, said the decision to build data centres in the UK wasn’t a reaction to Safe Harbour, but that data residency is an important issue. The two data centres will likely be built in England and near the capital London, and the other on the other side of the country. Microsoft now has data centres in twice as many territories as Amazon and Google combined.
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