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Microsoft announces cloud data centres for Canada

Kevin TurnerTORONTO – Microsoft Corp. announced that it is establishing two data centers in Canada to make cloud computing more attractive to Canadian customers. One of the centres will be located in Toronto, while the other will reside in Quebec City.

“Soon, the Microsoft Cloud will be truly Canadian,” Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner (pictured) said in a statement. “This substantial investment in a Canadian cloud demonstrates how committed we are to bringing even more opportunity to Canadian businesses and government organizations, helping them fully realize the cost savings and flexibility of the cloud.”

Companies offering cloud computing say they can greatly reduce the cost of automation, as they provide the processing power and thereby reduce the need to invest in high-powered equipment.

Turner said that Microsoft’s Azure fee-for-service cloud infrastructure will enable companies to skip the IT procurement phase (building their own server network) and get right to software development: “In an hour, you can be up and develop [a website or app] at a rapid rate.”

However, many Canadian companies have shied away from cloud computing, as many of the systems are located in the United States or further abroad. Despite the allure of lower costs, some organizations are hesitant to have their data stored in a foreign country.

Janet Kennedy, president of Microsoft Canada, said that delivering cloud services from data centres on Canadian soil opens up significant new cloud-based possibilities for organizations that must adhere to strict data storage compliance codes. “We’re very proud to be delivering the Microsoft Cloud right here in Canada, for the benefit of Canadian innovators, entrepreneurs, governments and small businesses,” she said in a statement.

“Delivering the flexibility of hyper-scale, enterprise grade, locally deployed public cloud services is the ultimate Canadian hat trick.”

The services will be offered in preview toward the end of this year, with full commercial availability in 2016. Azure will be the first available service early in 2016, with Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online following later in the year.

Today, Microsoft offers cloud services to more than 80,000 Canadian businesses, from startups to enterprises, and the new Canadian data centres will further expand the market. According to IDC, total public cloud spend in Canada is projected to grow to $2.5 billion by next year. The fastest growth will be from public cloud infrastructure with a 45 percent increase by 2016.

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