Microsoft announced plans on Wednesday to establish a major cloud data center in Israel, expanding its global cloud infrastructure to 56 regions in 21 countries.
The tech giant’s first cloud data-center region in Israel will offer Azure cloud computing services to local customers in 2021, with Office 365 to follow. The investment will enable customers to store data within Israel, adhering to local data residency requirements.
Microsoft’s cloud infrastructures currently serve more than a billion customers and 20 million businesses worldwide, the company said. Israeli organizations and enterprises currently using Microsoft’s cloud include Sheba Medical Center, the Tel Aviv Municipality, Check Point and Bank Hapoalim.
“We have made significant infrastructure investments in the region, and with this announcement, our planned region in Israel will join a growing number of EMEA markets recently made available, including Germany, Norway, South Africa and Switzerland,” said Microsoft EMEA president Michel Van der Bel. “Offering Microsoft Azure and Office 365 from a data-center region in Israel forms a key part of our investment and involvement in the start-up nation, as infrastructure is an essential building block for the tech intensity that public-sector entities and businesses need to embrace.”
Microsoft has been active in Israel since opening its first local branch in 1989. It established its first R&D center outside the United States in Israel in 1991. The company plans to launch a new Microsoft Israel campus later this year in Herzliya.
“This investment marks an extremely important milestone in the company’s engagement with the start-up nation, as we recently marked the 30th anniversary of our presence in the country,” said Microsoft Israel general manager Ronit Atad, who was appointed to head the firm’s local operations in July 2019.
“Public-sector entities, enterprise companies and developers will have access to scalable, highly available and resilient cloud services to accelerate their digital transformation journeys,” she said. “This will help them better engage customers, empower employees, optimize operations and transform products and services from the new cloud region in Israel.”