New UK Microsoft data centres launched

City buildings and sky

Recently Microsoft announced the launch of their new UK data centres located in London, Durham and Cardiff, which were originally announced last November. This makes Microsoft the first major tech giant to open a UK-based data centre, which can now offer UK businesses cloud services.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online coming 2017

Currently the UK data centres can only provide Office 365 and Azure services but this will expand to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online services in the first half of 2017 – no exact timeframe has been confirmed. The UK data centre launch comes after Microsoft invested millions in improving its Dublin and Amsterdam data centres. Since this launch Microsoft have also announced the launch of a further two European data centres – both in Germany (Magdeburg and Frankfurt).


Source: Microsoft

This announcement is an exciting one for UK businesses and we want to look at the implications for UK organisations and outline what happens next for new and existing Microsoft customers.

The impact on UK businesses

It’s impossible to talk about data centre locations without discussing data sovereignty. This is the concept that digital data is subject to the laws of the country in which its stored. For most organisations this may not pose a problem, which is why businesses have been happy to use previously available Microsoft data centres, such as Dublin and Amsterdam. However, public sector organisations and companies that store sensitive information may be subject to different compliancy and legal requirements, which do require their data to be stored locally in the UK.

"Data sovereignty is the concept that information which has been converted and stored in binary digital form is subject to the laws of the country in which it is located." TechTarget

Occasionally this reluctance to store data outside of the UK is due to myths around cloud computing security but at other times the lack of UK Microsoft data centres has been a real barrier to adopting Microsoft cloud services. This is why the launch of the two new data centres (UK South and UK West) is great news for organisations that have previously been unable to migrate to Office 365 or Azure. This now means that organisations that want to adopt these services can have their data stored within the UK.

One of the key drivers for the launch came from the Ministry of Defence, whose CIO approached Microsoft with the proposal of opening a UK-based data centre. Now with the launch, the MOD and NHS are some of the organisations planning to adopt and benefit from Microsoft cloud services that already being used by the likes of Marks & Spenders and Virgin Atlantic.

The future is the cloud

There is no doubt that cloud computing is here to stay. Cloud technology has revolutionised the way the we work with and access information both in our personal and professional lives. Cloud computing is going to continue going from strength to strength as it provides businesses with benefits that are otherwise inaccessible or extremely costly.
The adoption of external cloud services from the likes of MOD and NHS will go a long way to improve perceptions of public cloud services, which some organisations having previously been hesitant around security. However, the new UK data centres doesn’t have to mean a complete migration to the cloud. Organisations can move at their own pace, incorporating as many or as few cloud services into their IT strategy to adopt hybrid approach that suits their requirements.

Already using Microsoft services?

If you’re a UK business already using Microsoft cloud services, then your data would be stored in either Dublin or Amsterdam - or both if you’re using geographic redundancy. Your data will not be automatically transferred to the new UK data centres but you can request to have your data moved.

To do this speak to your IT partner or you can find out more information here.

Not currently using Microsoft services?

If you aren’t using any of the Microsoft cloud services such as Azure or Office 365 then when (or if) you decide to, you can choose to store your data in either the UK South or UK West datacentres. If you have any concerns around security then we recommend visiting the Microsoft Trust Centre here, which outlines its policies and practices. If you would like to discuss Office 365, Azure or Microsoft Dynamics CRM then please contact us.

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