Tag Archives: regions

Microsoft expansion is a welcome boost to Puget Sound region

Microsoft’s breathtaking expansion project affirms the Puget Sound region’s capacity for continued growth and reinvention.

The company announced Wednesday a multibillion expansion that includes 18 new buildings, fields and parking on its main Redmond campus east of Highway 520.

This should not be taken for granted.

Cities, states and nations are desperate for this sort of economic development, especially by a leading company in a clean industry. Heads of state plead for Microsoft to open a single office and could not imagine the company building a small city’s worth.

Microsoft will add the capacity for 8,000 additional employees on its campus, although much of the new space may be filled by people now working in offices that Microsoft currently leases in Bellevue.

The next challenge for the Eastside and the rest of the Puget Sound region will be to nurture other companies to grow into the next giants and continue attracting other companies.

Comparisons are inevitable with Amazon’s building spree in Seattle.

One way to look at it is to marvel at how both Microsoft and Amazon continue to innovate and sustain their growth by creating new, multibillion-dollar businesses.

Microsoft’s construction project is a physical manifestation of this process.

As it continues its transition into a provider of online services, Microsoft is building more open and expansive offices. They’ll replace the formerly futuristic, X-shaped buildings where it produced software that dominated the personal-computer era.

It’s also enlightening to look at Amazon’s decision to open a second headquarters elsewhere.

That happened in part because of concerns about the business climate in Seattle proper, including the city’s poor job planning for growth that was clearly coming when Amazon submitted its development proposals.

Microsoft also brought disruption and community transformation, particularly when it surged in the 1990s.

Eastside officials learned from this experience. Microsoft’s more recent expansions, over the last decade, were more easily absorbed because of thoughtful planning and regional coordination. That includes road, highway and transit expansion concurrent with growth and careful placement of new housing density within urban hubs.

Such efforts are now paying off. Redmond has infrastructure and housing capacity in place or in process for all the potential growth Microsoft’s new project will generate. Construction of the 18 new buildings is expected to finish around the same time a light-rail station is scheduled to open at its campus in 2023.

The region is blessed to have such companies. They create opportunity and employment for residents and newcomers attracted by their dynamism and success creating world-changing products.

With good infrastructure and gleaming campuses on both sides of Lake Washington, municipal boundaries become less important and all meld into the Greater Seattle region.

Microsoft Azure expands with two new regions for Australia

I am delighted that Microsoft Azure will be expanding into two new regions in Australia. This increases the number of Azure regions announced across the globe to 42, which is more than any other major cloud provider. Microsoft will become the first major cloud provider to offer regions specifically focused on the needs of the government and their partners in Australia.

The two new regions, available in the first-half of 2018, are intended to be capable of handling sensitive Unclassified data as well as Protected data. Protected is a data classification for the first level of national security classified information in Australia. This is being achieved through a strategic partnership with the Australian-owned firm Canberra Data Centres (CDC). CDC are the preeminent specialist datacenter provider for secure government data in Australia with four modern Canberra-based facilities that hold the accreditations and security controls to handle even Top Secret classified data. Government customers currently using the secure Intra-Government Communications Network (ICON) will be able to directly connect to Azure in Canberra.

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Microsoft Azure has announced 42 regions around the world – more than any other cloud provider

This announcement builds on recent news that dozens of Microsoft Azure services have received certification by Australian Signals Directorate, including services for machine learning, internet-of-things, cybersecurity, and data management. Along with Australian certifications for Office 365 and Dynamics 365, Microsoft is recognized as the most complete and trusted cloud platform in Australia. By comparison, other major cloud providers are only certified for basic infrastructure services or remain uncertified for use by the government.

Today, government, healthcare, and education organisations are already some of the most rapid adopters of Azure from existing regions in Sydney and Melbourne. 

New regions designed to cater for the needs of government, growing certifications from the Australian Signals Directorate, and a history of empowering the digital transformation of organizations is helping Microsoft become the most trusted, innovative cloud for Australia. 

You can read more details about this announcement at the Microsoft Australia News Center.