Azure Australia opens to public with Telstra as new partner

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Azure Australia opens to public with Telstra as new partner
Scott Guthrie at the Azure Australia announcement at TechEd Sydney
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Microsoft has today publicly launched Azure Australia and the local expansion of ExpressRoute at the Sydney edition of its TechEd Australia conference.

"Today is a historic day for us," said Microsoft managing director for Australia, Pip Marlow, at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney. "Today customers can logon to Azure and choose Australian Geo for the first time."

A statement from Microsoft said that the new Azure Geography consists of "redundant regions in New South Wales and Victoria" and that it would provide "lower latency rates and address data sovereignty considerations for Microsoft customers and partners".

Microsoft's executive vice president for cloud and enterprise, Scott Guthrie, said that the Sydney and Melbourne data centres for Azure have joined a global network of 19 regions. He added that the redundancy from two locations and government-ready credentials made it unique from its rivals.

"Amazon [Web Services] does have a presence in Australia but only one site," said Guthrie. "And we're the only cloud provider that has IRAP support."

Guthrie also revealed that Telstra has been appointed as a provider for ExpressRoute, in addition to existing global partner Equinix. ExpressRoute – which provides private fibre connection services to Azure – will be available through Equinix later this year and Telstra in 2015.

"Our customers who want to access Microsoft's cloud for scalability and cost effectiveness, can now do so through our intelligent Next IP network," said Telstra's executive director for cloud Erez Yarkoni.

Sydney-based Microsoft partner Breeze participated in the "private preview" for Azure. Chief executive Nicki Page was in attendance today for the public launch.

"It's been a long time coming but it's absolutely fabulous – great news for Australian businesses," Page told CRN. "With the private preview there were no issues there at all. We were so excited to be part of that program and to get some customers try it out.

"Next year we'll be moving forward in leaps and bounds for Azure integration. A lot of hybrid cloud, which is where we’re going to be," she said. "Our [recent merger] partner Technology Effect is very much into ExpressRoute. They've been working with Equinix on the preview program and that'll be a strong play for them."

Marlow said that Azure is "a world-class ecosystem" and paid tribute to the TechEd audience. "Almost 70 percent of our partners are small businesses themselves, perfectly positioned to help our customers move to the cloud on their own terms."

Guthrie claimed that more than 10,000 new customers were signing onto Azure every week and espoused the scalability of the offering. "Our hyper-scale means each of our data centres is roughly one rugby pitch in size. And we have 16 of these buildings in each location… 600,000 servers in each Azure region."

"This allows us to continually cut prices [for] you."

He said of the new Australian locations later at a press conference: "We haven’t disclosed size per individual regions… But we have two regions that are very, very high capacity."

Next: Premium storage and Azure Marketplace

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