Microsoft opens its first cloud service data centres in the UK

The Corbel Blog

Microsoft has announced that its first UK data centres dedicated to its cloud computing services are now open. The facilities, originally announced in November 2015, are situated in London, Durham and Cardiff.

The opening of these data centres allows Microsoft to offer localised Azure and Office 365 services to UK businesses and government bodies whilst reassuring them that their sensitive information is kept in the UK when using Microsoft Cloud services. Dynamics 365, which relies on Office 365 and Azure, will be offered to customers in the first half of 2017.

Nicola Hodson, COO of Microsoft UK, said the latest region of datacentres offers the first complete end-to-end cloud, offering “word-class reliability and data residency for UK companies”.

This UK storage offering has allowed Microsoft to attract some top marque clients including the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust Foundation, the Ministry of Defence and Aston Martin.

The NHS Trust is one of the largest mental health service providers in the UK and has around 4,800 staff working in four main hospitals and 88 other sites. The Trust will be using the new UK data centres for Office 365 and is confident that patient information will be secure.

“The bottom line is we trust Microsoft”, said Stephen Docherty, the chief information officer at the Trust. “It is reassuring to know that our Trust’s core data that we create and manage stays in the UK. For us, the Microsoft’s UK cloud region means that demonstrating regulatory and legal compliance is simpler.”

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), which employs around 250,000 people, will use Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure cloud services. They will also be implementing OneNote, OneDrive PowerBI, Yammer and Skype for Business.

“Microsoft’s secure and transparent cloud service in the UK fits perfectly with the MoD’s digital transformation agenda”, said Mike Stone, MoD Chief Digital and Information Officer. “This agreement, which is based on Microsoft’s world-class reliability and performance, will allow us to deliver cost-effective, modern and flexible information capabilities. It will ensure we are better-placed in our ever-changing digital-first world.”

Unlike most Microsoft customers, Stone said Microsoft will be running a private instance of Azure for the Ministry of Defence, “This is a private instance of Azure. It is not on-premise”.

Microsoft is the first international company to build complete cloud data centres in the UK, with these 3 new facilities becoming part of part of one of the world’s largest online storage infrastructures. Microsoft has more than 100 data centres globally, storing over 30 trillion pieces of data.

“We’re delighted to see such growing demand for Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM Online from our new data centres in the UK”, said Cindy Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK. “We’ve been part of the UK’s tech landscape for over 30 years and we’re proud of the way this country leads the world in embracing technology and new ideas.”

“With our trusted cloud now delivered locally, and our commitment to principles of security, privacy, transparency, compliance, and availability, we are well placed to support the digital transformation of organisations throughout the country.”