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New Microsoft data centres in Australia to offer NZ benefits

New Microsoft data centres in Australia to offer compelling benefits for New Zealand organisations moving to the cloud

AUCKLAND, 28 October 2014 - New Zealand is set to reap the benefits from having access to two new Australia-based data centres which have now been added to the Microsoft global cloud network.

Microsoft’s Global Vice President for Cloud & Enterprise, Scott Guthrie, joined Pip Marlow, Managing Director for Microsoft Australia, in officially announcing the opening of the company’s newest Azure Geography (Geo) in Australia at the TechEd event in Sydney yesterday.

The new service includes two geo-redundant sub regions in NSW and Victoria, which Guthrie said will lower latency rates and address data sovereignty issues for Microsoft’s Australasian customers and partners who are embracing cloud computing.

“From today, our goal is to create Australasia’s best and most complete cloud, enabled by world class technology and a world class cloud ecosystem to drive business model transformation, better manage variable workloads and deliver new digital services and experiences to customers and employees,” Mr Guthrie said.
This newest Azure Geography takes the total number of regions to 19 globally, giving Microsoft enhanced capabilities to seamlessly deliver upon customers’ needs wherever they are in the world.

Microsoft New Zealand’s Managing Director, Paul Muckleston, says that the opening of the Azure Geo in this region reflects Microsoft’s passion to deliver innovative solutions to fuel growth, drive efficiencies and help people do more and achieve more.

“The cloud gives you the ability to be more agile both from an IT delivery point of view and more broadly with your business. This represents a sea change in enterprise IT, as it gives you the chance to focus more on innovation and less on maintenance,” says Muckleston.

“With the establishment of these Microsoft data centres serving the Australasian market, Kiwi business owners will also have the comfort of knowing that their data is located in this region of the world, which gives a great level of comfort and confidence in the cloud.”

Muckleston says various factors were driving customer adoption of Microsoft Azure, led by a passion to deliver innovative solutions to fuel growth, drive efficiencies and enable people.

“Microsoft Azure frees up their teams to focus on strategic, value added projects because they can leave Microsoft to manage what’s under the hood,” says Muckleston.

“CIOs also like having the choice of a hybrid cloud approach with Microsoft. This means they can integrate and continue to leverage their on premise investments while moving to the cloud. With the choice of public or private cloud too, our on-ramp is as gentle or steep as our customers desire.”

A select group of Kiwi tech companies have already begun using the new Microsoft Azure Geo on a private preview to drive innovation within their own organisations while delivering better outcomes for their customers.

These include:
· Serko is an Auckland-based online travel booking company with a focus on Corporate Travel with sites in Australia, China and India. Serko ran a demo replica of their online booking tool with a private connection between the Australian Azure data centre and their current Azure data centre in South-East Asia. Serko’s Chief Technical Officer, Phillip Ball said, “We will be using this very quickly and will be moving most of our workloads over to the Australian Microsoft data centre. We have a large number of clients that are in this region and the closer they are the better performance they should be able to receive.”

· NV Interactive is an internationally recognised, award-winning digital agency whose work includes digital strategy, creative and user experience design as well as web and mobile development, app development and online marketing. They have test migrated one of their larger clients – New Zealand Cricket – over to the Microsoft Azure Australian cloud hosting platform which has allowed them to re-architect the main aspects of the websites, apps and services to Platform as a Service components such as Websites and SQL Databases.

· Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand is a leading service provider of business, information technology and communications solutions. Fujitsu has used the Australia Azure Geo Preview to validate whether the network performance to the Australia Azure Geo was improved compared to the network performance to other Azure Geos. Fujitsu expects that the Australian Azure Geo will be a catalyst for hybrid cloud deployments in New Zealand. Ate Heukels, Senior Technical Consultant for Fujitsu NZ says, “We are expecting customers to start moving development and test environments, which can leverage automation and the economics of a pay-for-use model that Microsoft Azure can offer. We also expect customers to look at improving their business continuity by deploying disaster recovery solutions such as Azure Site Recovery.”


Another Microsoft NZ partner which is looking forward to utilising the Aust Geo is VMob, a mobile marketing platform built specifically for retailers that uses in-store beacon functionality, mobile vouchers and mobile loyalty to increase store traffic, improve in-store experience and build loyalty.
All of VMob’s app content is tailored specifically to each shopper via a big data platform, running on the Microsoft Azure network using a combination of historic information and live data points such as location, weather and nearby events.

Bob Drummond, Chief Operating Officer for VMob, says they have a number of existing local clients who will most likely transfer their instances to the Australian Geo in the future. He says it will also be the primary choice for any new local clients and for testing and R&D instances that they are running.
“One of the reasons we host our platform with Azure in the first place is that it is crucially important for our customers and their users that we have a quick, reliable connection meaning minimum lag time when using mobile apps connected to our platform,” says Drummond.

“Having a local data centre will mean load times are further reduced, which is useful for local clients and running test environments. Having enhanced local, in-time zone support also makes life much easier for us.”

Microsoft expands ExpressRoute partnerships

At the TechEd Sydney event, Microsoft also announced an expansion of its ExpressRoute offering, which gives customers and partners the option to create private connections between the Australia Azure Regions and infrastructure located on-premises or in a colocation environment. ExpressRoute connections do not go over the public Internet, and offer more reliability, faster speeds, lower latencies and higher security than typical connections over the Internet.
Several New Zealand providers will also offer ExpressRoute, including:
· Spark Wholesale uses a nationwide network and world-class technology to provide a range of products to telecommunication retailers. The company is extending its Nationwide Carrier Ethernet network to provide carrier grade, fully redundant Layer 2 Ethernet services direct to cloud providers in Australia. Spark’s Tasman Cloud Connect (TCC) Service establishes a dedicated, low latency secure private connection from data centre, office or co-location environments to Microsoft’s cloud via Azure’s ExpressRoute Service. TCC is designed to extend Azure to anywhere in New Zealand, effectively delivering an on LAN experience to Azure clients.

· Snap provides broadband and phone services to New Zealand businesses and organisations. Snap’s Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute offering allows customers to extend their network directly into the Microsoft Azure Australian data centres. Snap’s partnership with Microsoft enables customers to extend their private networks to Microsoft Azure using fast, low-latency network connections. Customers are able to establish dedicated, private, high-throughput network connectivity between their on-premises IT infrastructure and Microsoft Azure. This product leverages the network services offered by Snap to extend customers’ existing networks to the Microsoft's Windows Azure infrastructure without having to route private network traffic over the public Internet.


Microsoft NZ will be announcing more local ExpressRoute providers in the near future.

About Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure platform offers a wealth of cloud services including infrastructure services, data management, web applications, development and virtual machine testing, storage, backup, and recovery services. More than 57 per cent of Fortune 500 companies already use Microsoft Azure and more than 1,000 new customers are signing up every day.
“When I talk to customers and start-ups about how to meet today’s business challenges with cloud, I talk to them about what our cloud platform can uniquely do to transform their businesses,” said Mr Guthrie.

“The first way we are different is our hyper-scale – and this matters because it gives customers the ability to reach the maximum number of their customers, realise incredible economic value and run the most challenging workloads.

“The second is our focus on being enterprise grade. We’ve been helping enterprises run their business for years and our cloud meets the critical security, reliability and availability needs they have. We also deliver on the promise of an open platform – supporting the languages, tools and frameworks they need and want to run.

“Finally, our focus on hybrid ensures our enterprise customers get the power of the cloud where they want it – in our public cloud, service provider clouds or in their clouds.”

With Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft is delivering the industry’s most complete cloud — for every business, every industry and every geography. Microsoft delivers more than 200 services to over 1 billion customers, and 20 million businesses are served by their cloud infrastructure in over 90 markets globally.

For more information on how to access the benefits of this new Microsoft Azure Geo, visit http://azure.microsoft.com/

ENDS

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