Microsoft’s Georgia Data Center Aims To Make Azure Even More ‘Desirable’

The new Azure region aims to deliver faster access along with improved resistance to data center failures, Microsoft said.


As Microsoft plans to open its next U.S. data center region in the Atlanta area, one solution provider executive says it shows the company is investing in its Azure cloud to “make everybody’s experience better.”

Microsoft says the new data center region will have a presence in both Fulton and Douglas counties in Georgia, and will deliver faster access and a broader range of Azure cloud services to nearby customers.

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The region, dubbed “East U.S. 3,” was selected based on “proximity to population centers, a broad, reliable and stable power source, multiple high-capacity network connections, a large pool of qualified labor, and affordable and clean energy,” said Noelle Walsh, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of cloud operations and innovation, in a blog post.

An opening date was not provided. Microsoft opened “East U.S. 2” in 2014 in Virginia.

The region will deliver Azure Availability Zones to improve cloud application availability and resistance to data center failures, Microsoft said.

The company has more than 60 data center regions worldwide, each with multiple data centers.

Kelly Yeh, president of solution provider Phalanx Technology Group, a Microsoft partner based in Chantilly, Va., told CRN that he welcomes Microsoft’s addition of the new data center region.

Phalanx Technology Group is currently expanding from its headquarters — where it has primarily used data centers in Ashburn, Va. — into South Carolina, Yeh said in an email. The solution provider expects to benefit from closer data center access, he said.

“With the pandemic, more and more clients are moving to cloud hosted systems,” Yeh said. “Even with SD-WAN and other WAN op solutions, having a local or few hops to the cloud is always desirable. With more and more people moving to Teams, taking the load off of the networks and distributing traffic as close to the end users will make everybody’s experience better.”

Last year, Microsoft announced plans to expand its western U.S. cloud infrastructure with two new Azure data center facilities in Arizona. Availability Zones are expected from this campus later this year.

At Microsoft’s Ignite 2020 conference in September, the company announced an expansion of its cloud computing portfolio with additional multi-cloud and multi-edge hybrid capabilities including Azure Arc and Azure Stack updates, a fully managed communication platform, new cloud region availability zones and its next-generation Azure VMware Solution.

The Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant dominated in leasing more U.S. data center capacity last year than any other company. Microsoft leased 178 megawatts of capacity in Virginia alone in various data centers, as well as leasing in other large U.S. markets including the Bay Area and Phoenix.

Microsoft isn’t alone in data center investments. In 2020, Google CEO Sundar Pichai pledged to spend $10 billion throughout the year on adding offices and building out data centers across the U.S., including in Georgia.

Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services plans to open a second cloud infrastructure region in India and one in Switzerland.