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Microsoft Expands Azure Services into Brazil

Microsoft opened its Azure cloud computing services in southern Brazil today.

Azure services are now at the "general availability" stage for commercial use in southern Brazil. General availability means that Microsoft is now offering service level agreements to subscribing organizations. Microsoft typically promises "three nines" (99.9 percent) uptime, which amounts to about eight hours of downtime per year.

Microsoft Azure in Brazil already has some customers. They include companies such as Boa Vista Servicos, SiplanControl-M, Shop Delivery and Totvs, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft currently has about 15 datacenter regions as part of its Azure network, servicing about 89 countries. It recently turned on services in China and previously established Azure services in Japan and Australia.

Brazil could have become a problematic market for Microsoft, a U.S.-based company, because of U.S. government spying on Brazil's President Dilma Vana Rousseff, as well as on Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company. The spying was disclosed via documents provided by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. In the wake of those disclosures, Vana Rousseff had suggested that Brazil would store its data locally, although she recently backed down from that position, according to a ZDNet story.

While Microsoft has a datacenter located in Brazil's São Paulo region, it does not offer its Azure georedundant storage option within Brazil. Instead, that service is offered through the U.S. South Central region, or at least that was the state of affairs when Microsoft announced the Azure preview back in April.

Microsoft already faces local storage legal restrictions in European Union countries for its Azure services. Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs, has broadly promised that countries would have the ability to store data on networks located outside the United States.

Microsoft has to comply with U.S. laws, which include nontransparent legal processes allowing U.S. government access to cloud service data. That circumstance potentially threatens Microsoft's cloud computing business expansion, especially in privacy-conscious EU countries. However, in April, European Union Data Protection Authorities generally endorsed the privacy protections of Microsoft's cloud services.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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