Microsoft brings Azure cloud to Australia

By GovTechReview Staff
Wednesday, 22 May, 2013

Australian government departments and agencies will gain a significant new infrastructure option as Microsoft finally brings its Windows Azure platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering to Australia.

The company had for years resisted such a move, arguing instead that Australian concerns about data sovereignty were unwarranted and that its emerging Azure cloud platform offered enough data protection for sensitive applications.

Now, however, Microsoft will put the country on the Azure map with the establishment of a Windows Azure major region in Australia, comprising two sub-regions in NSW and Victoria. This architecture will provide forredundancy within Australia, allowing Microsoft to address customer requirements around service redundancy and data sovereignty.WindowsAzure

The move follows the local entry of cloud-computing giants like Amazon Web Services and IBM, which have brought their own cloud offerings to Australian customers in recent months.

Microsoft’s service will provide both platform services and infrastructure offerings and is available now for test-and-development uses, Microsoft Australia server and tools business lead Toby Bowers wrote in a blog post today announcing the Azure move.

“We know that providing disaster recovery, while ensuring data sovereignty goals are met, is critical to many of our customer and we look forward to delivering a solution that meets those requirements,” Bowers wrote.

“Today’s announcement is focused on satisfying our customers’ needs for an enterprise class public cloud, delivered locally, with all the security, reliability and scalability they expect. It is the starting point for a new era of cloud services in Australia.”

The move was already resonating with clinical-care software provider iCareHealth Australia, for which the promise of data sovereignty controls has proved immediately tempting.

“Windows Azure services will help iCareHealth deliver the electronic tools to nursing and care staff to assist them in their work of delivering consistent, high quality care to an increasingly larger number of elderly Australians, and those with special needs,” managing director Chris Gray said in a statement.

Another early adopter is iron-ore producer Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), which is using Microsoft’s StorSimple cloud-storage offering for its on-premises storage and expects to move half of its environment into Windows Azure by the end of June.

“StorSimple and Windows Azure provide the best of both worlds – the economies of the cloud with on-premises levels of performance and security,” said CIO Vito Forte in a statement. “Public cloud comes first, but hybrid cloud/on-premises gets used where necessary". – David Braue

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