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Microsoft to offer cloud users private network connections to UK datacentres

Software giant Microsoft expands on UK datacentre launch to give users private network access to its facilities

Microsoft cloud users in the UK can now access the software giant’s locally hosted, off-premise services via a private network connection to its datacentres.  

The firm’s Azure ExpressRoute and PSN/N3 connectivity feature means Microsoft cloud users can opt out of having to rely on public internet connections to access services hosted in its UK datacentres.

A number of colocation firms, including Equinix, are already able to offer similar functionality using Azure ExpressRoute to companies that host their Office 365 deployments in their facilities.

However, this latest announcement by Microsoft marks the first time customers have been able to directly connect to its datacentres in the UK, with the Ministry of Defence, the Metropolitan Police and some NHS organisations said to be among those set to feel the benefit.

In a statement, Microsoft said the move is particularly geared towards those organisations pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy and require secure, reliable and fast access to their on-premise and off-premise data.

Cindy Rose, CEO of Microsoft UK, said the launch is part of the company’s commitment to help shape the UK’s technology landscape.

“We’ve been part of the UK’s tech landscape for over 30 years and we’re proud of the way this country leads the world in embracing technology and new ideas,” she said.

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“With our trusted cloud now delivered locally, and our commitment to principles of security, privacy, transparency, compliance and availability, we are well placed to support the digital transformation of organisations throughout the country.”

Liam Maxwell, the government’s national technology adviser, said Microsoft’s commitment to building out its UK datacentre footprint stands to benefit commercial enterprises, as well as public sector organisations.

“The arrival of local datacentres in the UK is fantastic news for British businesses and the public sector alike,” he said.

“Cloud services enable organisations to change how they deliver existing services and to design new services for their customers, reshaping how they engage employees and reduce operational costs.”

The rollout also coincides with the introduction of several other Microsoft cloud services, which include the Azure Marketplace of open source applications and the Azure Security Centre. The latter is geared towards helping Microsoft cloud customers prevent, detect and respond to security threats.

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)