Almost a year ago, Microsoft announced its plans to expand Windows Azure to Asia, with data centers in China, Japan and Australia. Today, the company announced that its two regions in Japan (Japan East and Japan West) have now hit general availability, and Azure users in Japan will now be able to store their data locally.
As Satya Nadella noted a year ago (when he was still the president of Microsoft’s server and tools business), the company decided to invest “hundreds of millions of dollars” into this expansion in Asia because it believes there is a huge market opportunity for cloud computing in the region. At the time, then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also noted that the new data center in Japan would “bring Japanese businesses all the benefits of Windows Azure while protecting data sovereignty and increasing performance.”
Microsoft says that demand for Azure is increasing quickly and that it is doubling capacity every six to nine months. Storage usage on Azure from Microsoft’s Japanese customers grew 10x in the last 15 months (even before the local region was online).
Besides its expansion in Asia, Microsoft is also tackling the Latin American market at the same time. Last December, the company announced plans to open an Azure region in Brazil, which should come online in the next few months.