In January, Microsoft announced what it’s calling “the largest expansion of its Canadian-based cloud computing infrastructure” since 2016. Additional availability zones and services will increase capacity for cloud-hungry Canadians, and the addition of an Azure ExpressRoute site in Vancouver will guarantee security and performance in a regulated jurisdiction.
The main body of the expansion is the addition of Azure Availability Zones in the Canada Central region. This addition will increase the region’s capacity more than tenfold since it was first brought online and will bring high availability services to more Canadian customers.
Microsoft is leaning into data residency as a key differentiator, asserting that it is the only Canadian hyperscale cloud provider to offer “Availability Zones and disaster recovery with in-country data residency.” To allow residency in transit – a concern in some Canadian jurisdictions – Microsoft has also announced an ExpressRoute site based out of Vancouver that will keep data off the public internet. It will be available by March 2020.
For Canadian customers trepidatious about moving their workloads to a public cloud, Microsoft’s expansion may be the push they need to move forward with a migration. For highly regulated entities, Microsoft may not have gone far enough.
Microsoft has taken heed: Canadians want performance, but they need data residency. By increasing its Canadian footprint, Redmond’s most prominent corporate citizen is betting big that traditionally cautious Canadian organizations are ready for the cloud – as long as the provider takes the right steps. It remains to be seen if these steps will be sufficient to drive change among skeptics. But it is certainly the case that data sovereignty concerns have hampered cloud adoption, especially among Canadian public sector organizations, in the past.
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