Microsoft announces plans for new data centers in Europe and the Middle East

Microsoft announced this week that it plans to expand its Azure footprint with new data center in Europe and the Middle East. All told, Microsoft says it will be launching its first data centers in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) while also expanding its cloud offering in Germany.

In Switzerland, data centers will be opened in Geneva and Zurich, and are a response to Microsoft's "engagement with financial institutions and regulators in Switzerland." The new data centers in UAE, which are set to open in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, will be Microsoft's first in the Middle East.

In terms of its expansion in Germany, Microsoft says that it will begin offering Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 from new data center locations. These will be in addition to existing options, which include services delivered from outside Germany. "The new cloud services enable customers to digitally transform their businesses empowered by Microsoft's global network and the latest innovative services while meeting their compliance requirements to store customer data in Germany," said Sabine Bendiek, Area Vice President, Microsoft Germany.

Microsoft didn't provide monetary figures, but previous reports indicated that the company is investing more than €100 million (about $123 million) in two new German data centers.

In Europe, Microsoft also has plans for France, where new data centers in Paris and Marseille are providing Azure and Office 365 to customers. The company says that Dynamics 365 will follow in 2019. "We are convinced that this opening is the beginning of a new adventure – one in which we want as many French organizations and companies as possible to embark on, in order to accelerate the digital transformation of our ecosystem," states Carlo Purassanta, General Manager, Microsoft France.

These moves come as Microsoft has been gradually expanding its cloud infrastructure around the world. New data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa were announced last year and, more recently, Microsoft said that it was planning to increase its Azure capacity in China. At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court is mulling a pivotal case that will decide whether U.S. authorities can compel U.S.-based companies to turn over private information stored in data centers overseas.