Microsoft Cloud: Officially open for business in Canada

Microsoft Canada today announced that its Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform is now generally available in data centre regions located in Toronto and Quebec City.

Janet Kennedy, president of Microsoft Canada
Janet Kennedy, president of Microsoft Canada

In addition, the company’s Office 365 platform is offering data residency for Canadian business customers. Microsoft also revealed that the Dynamics CRM Online platform for Canada is scheduled to go live by September of this year.

Today’s news marks a “historic day” for Microsoft’s cloud computing initiatives in Canada, Microsoft Canada president Janet Kennedy told It’s been a seven year journey in terms of making an initial commitment to now having multiple data centres in the country, she added.

When it comes to the “Canadian Cloud for Business” platform, the Toronto and Quebec locations were chosen as ideal regional options in terms of network availability and capability and are in full compliance with federal and provincial government regulations, according to Kennedy.  The “Made in Canada” cloud offering ensures local data residency, compliance and redundancy for business continuity, and the option of a fast and private connection to the cloud with Azure ExpressRoute.

The ExpressRoute offerings in Canada offer the ability to establish private connections to the Microsoft cloud with reduced data latency compared to standard internet connections.

“We had such demand when we opened in Preview with more than 300 customers signing up. Since we went live, we’ve already doubled (that),” said Kennedy.

Microsoft’s enterprise grade, hyper-scale cloud strategy has been about working towards offering local data centres in each global region it serves, said Redmond, Wash.-based Ron Markezich, corporate vice president, Office at Microsoft. Microsoft has made a US$15 billion investment in global data centre infrastructure; today’s Canadian announcement brings the total number of generally available Azure regions to 24 worldwide.

Microsoft has public sector entities such as Province of Nova Scotia, Province of New Brunswick, City of Regina, and the City of Brampton who are already taking advantage of Microsoft cloud services and have started the migration towards the Canadian cloud. In addition, there are already large and multinational companies — including Quebecor and PCL Construction — who are “very excited” about the prospects of having a local cloud option, according to Kennedy.

Canada has always been “super important” in terms of customer base, according to Markezich, and today’s announcement reflects this commitment to providing cloud services by way of geo-redundant data centres for midsize and larger enterprises across the country.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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