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Azure hops into Australia

Redmond promises a 'major region' real soon now

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Microsoft has announced "the planned expansion of a new Windows Azure major region for Australia"

Details are scanty: Redmond is saying only that the "Windows Azure major region in Australia will consist of two sub-regions located in New South Wales and Victoria. These two locations will be geo-redundant, offering our customers the ability to back up their data across two separate locations, both within Australia."

Local Microserfs have told Vulture South a "major region" offers all Azure services. But just where Microsoft will house its Australian Azure is not known.

Let's do some speculating, though.

Microsoft's not known to have broken ground in Australia and hasn't said, in the announcement-by-blog, that it intends to do so.

Vuture South can't imagine Microsoft will build datacentres, largely because Australia is so far from the rest of the world that latency for packets travelling to places with more people - Asia, North America and Europe - is undesirably considerable.

Nor is the domestic audience big enough to sustain the investment, because there just aren't enough potential customers in Australia - population 23 million - to justify the $200m plus needed to build the two facilities Microsoft mentions.

Living in third-party data centres is an established model in Australia, with both Amazon Web Services and Rackspace being mere tenants down under.

AWS lives in an Equinix data centre in Australia. Azure does so elsewhere. But Equinix lacks a facility in Victoria, so Microsoft looks likely to splash down its antipodean Azure in another operator's bit barn. Perhaps it will spread its presence between data centre providers, to add a little extra layer of redundancy?

Microsoft's announcement says precious little beyond mentions of local customers who like Azure and think it is a jolly good idea, partly because it will mean the chance to use Azure without having to worry about which governments are allowed to peruse their data.

Cloud-watchers will welcome Azure's Australian advent and probably find a way to say it represents an important moment of maturation for Australia. The rest of the world may enjoy access to an additional Azure region located in a politically and tectonically stable nation, if they can endure the latency. ®

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