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BENGALURU : Tech giant Microsoft Corp. on Monday said it plans to establish its largest India data centre region in Hyderabad, Telangana. The first phase is expected to be operational by 2025.

Hyderabad is Microsoft’s largest investment in the country with the highest number of employees after its headquarters in Redmond, US. Without sharing specific investment figures, Anant Maheshwari, president, Microsoft India said it will be an “ongoing investment process which will expand."

According to Microsoft, this strategic investment is “aligned with its commitment to help customers thrive in a cloud and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled digital economy and will become part of the world’s largest cloud infrastructure."

The announcement comes at a time when customer demand for cloud-as-a-platform for digital transformation is increasing in India. According to IDC, Microsoft data centre regions in India contributed $9.5 billion revenue to the economy between 2016 and 2020. Beyond GDP impact, the IDC report estimated 1.5 million jobs were added to the economy, including 169,000 new skilled IT jobs.

The Hyderabad data centre region will be an addition to the existing network of three regions in India across Pune, Mumbai, and Chennai. It will offer the entire Microsoft portfolio across the cloud, data solutions, AI, productivity tools, and customer relationship management (CRM) with advanced data security, for enterprises, startups, developers, education, and government institutions.

In December last year, Microsoft launched Azure Availability Zones in its Central India data centre region to provide additional resilience options for customers’ cloud applications. Azure Availability Zones are physically and logically separated data centres with their own independent power source, network, and cooling.

“Cloud services are poised to play a critical role in reimagining the future of business and governance and enabling overall inclusion in the country. The new data centre will augment Microsoft’s cloud capabilities and capacity to support those working across the country. It will also support new entrepreneurial opportunities while meeting critical security and compliance needs. The new data centre region is a testament to our mission to empower the people and organizations of India to achieve more. We are pleased to be collaborating with the Government of Telangana on this major milestone and we deeply appreciate their support," said Maheshwari.

Microsoft competes with the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud in India. AWS has two data centre regions in Mumbai and Hyderabad. Likewise, last year, Google Cloud launched its second cloud region in Delhi-NCR to serve its customers in India and Asia-Pacific. The first Google cloud region in India was established in Mumbai in 2017.

“The need for Microsoft’s products skyrocketed during the pandemic as most organizations migrated to higher versions of Office365 (from E1 to E3/E5) to use both Teams for collaboration and security products to ensure cyber safety and compliance. This has given Microsoft's business, globally and in India, a shot in the arm…also the fact that Microsoft is exceptionally well-placed to cater to hybrid cloud opportunities gives them an edge over other public cloud-only vendors," said Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO and chief analyst, Greyhound Research.

Microsoft’s customers in India include Jio, Inmobi, Infosys, TCS, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Apollo Hospitals, Mahindra, Dr. Reddy’s Labs, Piramal, State Bank of India, Flipkart, Pidilite, and Amity.

The company said it was committed to having a 100% renewable energy supply equivalent to electricity consumed by Microsoft data centres by 2025. The new data centre region will be built with sustainable design and operations in mind, enabling Microsoft to responsibly deliver reliable and highly available cloud services at scale, it added.

 

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