Microsoft does something unusual in Australia: Names the bit barn hosting Azure

Plan to conquer federal IT sees Redmond team with super-secure Canberra Data Centres

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Microsoft's cooking up a government-grade cloud in the Canberra, Australia's capital city.

The two planned “Australia Central” Azure data centres will come online some time in 2018. True to form, Microsoft's not saying anything about capacity or the instance types it will offer at launch. Nor will it confirm what services it will offer at launch, beyond saying users can expect Azure's core IaaS experience, SQL Server, plus networking services.

But Microsoft has revealed one important detail about the new region: it will be hosted by a company called Canberra Data Centres.

Gartner vice president Michael Warrilow pointed out to The Register that Microsoft doesn't usually reveal that kind of detail. Indeed, the company has never confirmed the identity of the data centres in which its other Australian regions reside, even though they are well know throughout local industry.

Why the exception? Because the partner is an outfit called Canberra Data Centres (CDC) that has gone to the trouble of implementing security the company believes is fit to handle information classified Top Secret, even though it doesn't offer that level of security as a product.

CDC can, however, point to over 40 government clients who use its facilities. Microsoft's keen to point out that if those clients are thinking of using Azure, teaming with CDC means they can do so with a short hop across a data centre rather than a scarier journey on public networks. That CDC is connected to the Australian government's ICON fibre network doesn't hurt either, as it means users have an option for secure transit from government offices to the two Azure bit barns.

The new region will be suggested as best used for Protected data. For those who need to keep Secret or Top Secret data, Microsoft will advance on-premises Azure Stack as a fine way to get things done.

Microsoft's cloudy rivals have scored government security certifications, but can't match the CDC partnership so have some catching up to do. Australia's Redmondian operatives were also at pains to point out that this will be a truly hyperscale effort, but declined the opportunity to comment on the scale offered by the likes of Dimension Data's government-centric cloud which, like the future Azure region, is located in Canberra and restricted to government users. ®


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