With a recent announcement, Microsoft reacts on both privacy and security concerns of customers and the continuous uncertainty regarding a still pending law suit in the U.S. The latter is about an order Microsoft had received on turning over a customer’s emails stored in Ireland to the U.S. government.
The new data centers will operate from two locations within Germany, Frankfurt/Main and Magdeburg. They will run under the control of T-Systems, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Thus, an independent German company is acting as the data trustee, as Microsoft has named that role. Microsoft itself will not be able to access the data without the permission of customers or the data trustee, and if permission is granted will do so only under its supervision.
Concretely, customers can access the Microsoft cloud services from a non-Microsoft datacenter which operates locally. They have access to the full functionality of the Microsoft cloud services, but do not work with Microsoft as an U.S.-based company.
Microsoft’s announcement is not the first of that sort. T-Systems e.g. already operates Cisco cloud services, while the Microsoft cloud services are expected being available in the second half of 2016. VMware also works with independent service providers for delivering their cloud services.
Basically, we observe a growing trend of U.S. cloud service providers to provide delivery options altogether with partners from other countries, to serve to the customer requests for privacy, security, and independence of the U.S. court decisions. On one hand, U.S. cloud providers going that path can address their customer’s needs better now. On the other hand, this provides a tremendous potential for locally operating enterprise-class cloud providers, which can act as the local partners by delivering services locally. They even might combine such services with value-add services and integrations, e.g. complete offerings for medium-sized business covering all major enterprise functionalities from email to ERP, CRM, and other areas.
There is no doubt that such offering will come at a price – but I’m sure that many customers will be willing to pay that price, not only in Germany and other European countries but also many other regions worldwide that prefer relying on locally delivered, well-segregated services.