Microsoft flicks switch for three Azure bit barns in India

Save money! Improve government services! Spark startups! Re-colonise!

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Microsoft's Azure cloud services have a new region: India.

The House That Gates Built now has functioning bit barns in the central Indian city of Pune, Chennai and Mumbai.

As of today, the three bit barns are open for Azure business. Later in October Office 365 will start to operate from India and in the first half of 2016 Dynamics CRM Online services will become available.

Microsoft's claiming it's “the first public cloud provider from India” which is a bit of a porkie: IBM opened a “cloud center” in Mumbai in 2014 and while that wasn't labelled a SoftLayer facility it did offer hybrid OpenStack services. Last week IBM also announced a new bit barn in Chennai that offers more of its public cloud offerings and threw some cash at a generic startup-incubation effort for good measure. Big Blue and Accenture also opened an innovation centre in Bangalore.

Amazon Web Services is also on the way to India: the cloud leader has pledged splashdown some time in 2016.

India's modernising aggressively, but is still at a stage of development in which the government owns many enterprises. Railways, mines, airlines, banks, insurers, shipyards and numerous other big employers remain in government hands, and all are bound to use on-shore cloud services.

Microsoft's therefore pitching Azure India as a fine thing for such organisations, and for privately-held local businesses. And of course Microsoft can't resist saying that Azure landing in India will be good for the nation's economic development. Which is just what the last lot of colonialists India chucked out said about the innovations they imported.

Post-colonial politics aside, India's a handy place to run a cloud service. Aside from its colossal local population, India is rather closer to Europe than Hong Kong and Singapore. Those looking for lower-latency locations in which to place disaster-recovery rigs aimed for European consumption may find there's a few nanoseconds to be saved on the sub-continent. ®


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