Microsoft’s cloud business Azure is expanding to the ACT, opening two new data centres in Canberra next year.

Through a strategic partnership with Canberra Data Centres (CDC), Microsoft will be the only major cloud provider in Australia to deliver hyperscale cloud services to handle unclassified and protected government data.

The two new regions in Canberra will focus on the needs of government and their suppliers, the company said. Available in the first half of 2018, they will offer unprecedented opportunity through advanced data analytics, sophisticated data protections and artificial intelligence, the company said.

These two new regions will complement Microsoft’s existing cloud services currently delivered from Sydney and Melbourne.

The Hon. Angus Taylor MP, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, said, “The Australian Government has embarked on a sweeping program of change, bringing digital innovation to the transformation of the Australian public sector.”

“Global innovation in areas such as cloud technology is an essential foundation for this transformation and will ensure we can meet the expectations and needs of all Australians. So too the local software ecosystem can build its skills and innovate rapidly to first serve our local needs, then expand into global markets.”

Microsoft’s expansion into Canberra is the first opportunity for public cloud services from a major provider to be located in the same highly secure facilities as some of the nation’s most sensitive data.

Steven Worrall, Managing Director, Microsoft Australia, said, “Across our nation, we see government, healthcare and education organisations all driving forward with their digital transformation initiatives. We hear from them the need for Microsoft to deliver rapid innovation and unleash the possibilities and creativity that only the cloud can provide.”

But there is also the need to do this in a way that provides the highest levels of assurance in security, privacy and resilience. According to Worrall, the announcement shows Microsoft is committed to delivering both the innovation and the trusted platform demanded by customers and partners.

“Our partnership with Canberra Data Centres, our open approach and our mature ecosystem of partners, ensures government can accelerate transformation and apply intelligent systems to their abundant existing data. I’m excited about how this complements the ongoing transformation of our own organisation, as we recruit architects and engineers, invest in our partners and contribute to ensure the best outcomes for everyone,” Worrall said.

Including the two new regions coming to Australia, Microsoft has announced 42 Azure regions globally.

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