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Azure regions (via.Microsoft)
Azure regions (via.Microsoft)

Microsoft has opened two Azure cloud regions and an Office 365 region in the United Kingdom, with the intention of letting local customers keep data closer to them geographically.

Keeping data closer adds to customers’ comfort levels, cuts latency time and makes it simpler to demonstrate compliance with laws and regulations.

These are the first regions Microsoft has opened in the U.K., though customers there have been able to use Azure and Office 365 via a region in Ireland, which received an expansion last year, and one in the Netherlands.

The Azure U.K. South region is located in London, and the U.K. West region is located in Cardiff, Wales. A Microsoft spokesperson wouldn’t say how many data centers are located within each Azure region, citing corporate policy.

Microsoft announced the two new Azure regions in November 2015. They bring Microsoft’s total of operating Azure regions to 28, with six more promised.

The Office 365 U.K region is located in London and has two data centers, one each in London and Durham. Microsoft policy doesn’t proscribe revealing how many Office 365 data centers are contained within a region, the spokesperson said.

Current U.K.-based Azure or Office 365 customers include the Ministry of Defence, which employs about 250,000 people; and the region’s largest mental-health trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. “Thousands” of other U.K businesses are already using Azure and/or Office 365 in the U.K., including Confused.com, the Glasgow City Council, Marks & Spencer, Natural Resources Wales, Pizza Hut Restaurants and Virgin Atlantic, Microsoft said. Those customers have been using the services from U.K. regions on a trial basis this year, the spokesperson said.

Microsoft has more than 25,000 partners in the U.K., it said.

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