Well, it’s time to smile, cloud users! In mid-August of this year, Microsoft announced the launch of two new Azure regions in Australia, proposing two new regions that will complement Microsoft’s existing two regions on the continent and bring the total number of global Microsoft Azure regions to 42. The plan is for these new regions to go online sometime in the first half of 2018.
Microsoft specifically notes that these two new regions will be certified to run both unclassified and protected government workloads (“protected” being the first level of national security classified information in Australia). To do this, the company is partnering with Canberra Data Centers, a company that specializes in running data centers that host secure government data.
Microsoft’s current regions are also certified for machine learning, IoT, cybersecurity and data management workloads by the Australian Signals Directorate, the country’s signals intelligence agency.
A number of Microsoft’s competitors in the cloud computing space are also currently eyeing the Australian market for their data center expansions. IBM and Google recently opened their Sydney regions, for example, though it’s worth noting that AWS has had a presence on the continent since 2012. Australia is also getting better connections to the rest of the world, thanks to a number of new subsea cables, including the Google-backed INDIGO cable,
The two new regions, which will be available in the first-half of 2018, are intended to be capable of handling sensitive Unclassified data as well as Protected data. Protected is a data classification for the first level of national security classified information in Australia. This is being achieved through a strategic partnership with the Australian-owned firm Canberra Data Centres (CDC).
CDC are the preeminent specialist datacenter provider for secure government data in Australia with four modern Canberra-based facilities that hold the accreditations and security controls to handle even Top Secret classified data. Government customers currently using the secure Intra-Government Communications Network (ICON) will be able to directly connect to Azure in Canberra.
Microsoft Azure has announced 42 regions around the world – more than any other cloud provider.
This announcement builds on recent news that dozens of Microsoft Azure services have received certification by Australian Signals Directorate, including services for machine learning, internet-of-things, cybersecurity, and data management.
Along with Australian certifications for Office 365 and Dynamics 365, Microsoft is recognized as the most complete and trusted cloud platform in Australia. By comparison, other major cloud providers are only certified for basic infrastructure services or remain uncertified for use by the government.
Today, government, healthcare, and education organisations are already some of the most rapid adopters of Azure from existing regions in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection is using Azure for applications that help protect the country’s vast borders.
Bendigo Hospital in Victoria is building the first hospital-in-the-cloud on Azure, connecting and analysing healthcare data to better care for patients.
The government in Tasmania is working with an Australian start-up, The Yield, to build the internet of oysters on Azure.
These are just a few of the many stories of innovation in the Australian public sector that are enabled by Azure.
New regions designed to cater to the needs of government, growing certifications from the Australian Signals Directorate, and a history of empowering the digital transformation of organizations is helping Microsoft become the most trusted, innovative cloud platform for Australia.
You can read more details about this announcement at the Microsoft Australia News Centre.
New Microsoft Azure Regions in Australia a Boon for Cloud Users
These new Azure regions, to be called Central 1 and Central 2, join the existing Azure regions in Sydney and Melbourne, providing Azure with a total of four regions in Australia.
“The Australian Government spends between 6.2 billion and 9 billion dollars, based on data from different sources of government, on information and telecommunications technology,” said James Kavanagh, Microsoft Azure Engineering Lead for Australia. “It’s quite a large portion of the Australian Government’s budget.”
Microsoft chose to partner with a local provider, rather than build its own facilities from scratch. “Microsoft Azure’s revenue is continuing to accelerate and so this expansion is part of a global program,” says Kavanagh, “but it’s also a bit of a first from a Microsoft perspective, within that global expansion.”
“To try to line up the capabilities that are global of Microsoft with the local strengths of CDC is quite an interesting move that Microsoft is making and it’s a very different kind of approach,” he added.
It certainly will open new avenues for those who prefer to use public and hosted cloud offerings as part of their business productivity in Australia.
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