Microsoft announces addition of Azure Availability Zones and increase in capacity by 1300% to empower customers with high availability, performance and resilience to rapidly scale as the country embraces digital transformation.
Microsoft Canada announced today that it is undertaking the largest expansion of its Canadian-based cloud computing infrastructure since the launch of two Canadian cloud datacentre regions in 2016. As part of the announcement, Microsoft will be adding Azure Availability Zones in the Azure Canada Central region, increasing compute capacity by more than 1300% since the region was first brought online in 2016. Availability Zones give users high availability for their most demanding applications and services as well as confidence and protection from potential hardware and software failures by providing three or more unique physical locations within an Azure region. Additionally, Microsoft will also be significantly increasing compute capacity and adding new capabilities in the Azure Canada East region which will go live in the first half of the year. The expansion will help Canadian businesses have greater access to new innovations that will accelerate business development and builds on Microsoft’s significant presence in Canada.
“Microsoft cloud services have been a core component to the growth and development of thousands of Canadian organizations, and we continue to make significant investments in both cloud solutions and skilling programs to ensure that all of our customers, whether private or public sector, startup or enterprise, are able to accelerate their digital transformation,” said Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada. “The launch of Azure Availability Zones take Azure to a new level in Canada by offering customers increased reliability, performance and business continuity so they can thrive in the digital age.”
With this addition, Microsoft will be the only hyperscale cloud provider in Canada to offer Availability Zones and disaster recovery with in-country data residency. Microsoft provides an SLA of 99.99% for virtual machine environments deployed in Availability Zone configurations, while also ensuring customers have high performance, low latency, and operational reliability within its Canadian cloud operations. Highly secure and with the leading compliance certifications, including the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), these new additions make Azure the ideal cloud platform for the challenging demands of mission critical computing.
Canadian Customers Trust Microsoft Azure
Today, tens of thousands of organizations of all sizes including Suncor, PCL, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) among others rely on Microsoft Azure for their cloud computing needs. CIBC, a leading North American global financial institution uses Azure delivered from Microsoft’s Canadian cloud regions and is looking forward to the new zones: “Azure is a core component of our platform, enabling us to accelerate the speed of innovation for our clients and team members. We welcome Microsoft Azure Availability Zones in Canada, which will provide us with improved resilience and scalability as we help make our clients’ ambitions a reality,” said Dave Revell, Executive Vice-President, Technology & Operations, CIBC.
This announcement has also been welcomed by Microsoft’s partner ecosystem including SAP, that recently announced an extensive go-to-market partnership with Microsoft to accelerate customer adoption of SAP S/4HANA® and SAP® Cloud Platform on Microsoft Azure. Andy Canham, President of SAP Canada shared, “We are continuing to see strong demand for cloud computing capabilities, and these Azure capabilities will uncover new opportunities for SAP and Microsoft to help our mutual customers confidently and efficiently transition into intelligent enterprises.”
Microsoft’s investments are also important to public sector organizations interested in hosting potentially sensitive information in a highly secure local environment. Microsoft recently became one of the first global cloud providers to achieve Certification for Protected B data in Canada, which enables Federal departments to securely store, manage and process its most sensitive data and applications in the Microsoft cloud. This has unleashed an enormous digital transformation opportunity across the public sector with organizations including the Ministry of Transportation trusting that their sensitive data is highly secure, locally in the Microsoft cloud. “The Microsoft Azure cloud platform has been at the centre of our journey to digitize service delivery within the Ministry of Transportation,” said Wynnann Rose, Chief Information Officer, Ministry of Transportation. “By leveraging Microsoft’s extensive catalogue of services in Azure, the Ministry of Transportation has been able to modernize major elements of its software development practice and deliver much more agile, scalable and cost-effective digital services to Ontario citizens and businesses. Digital data insights and advanced analytics continue to provide new ways to visualize critical information and make data-driven decisions and investments.”
Equipping Canadians with the Skills to Succeed
As organizations look to accelerate cloud adoption, it is critical that they have both trusted technology solutions as well as the relevant skills to foster innovation. Microsoft continues to collaborate with industry peers, government and academics to help close the skills gap in Canada and is investing over $2 million in digital skills initiatives this year. Currently, Microsoft offers several free programs and training to help both technical and non-technical employees get the fundamental skills required to thrive in the tech intense economy. Programs include:
- Microsoft Training Days – 130 free training events, reaching 12,000 Canadians across 10 cities, for technical professionals focusing on core cloud computing concepts, cloud migration, data, analytics, AI and more.
- Currently in Toronto Microsoft is hosting the Microsoft Ignite Tour, a conference that brings together over 5,000 IT professionals and developers for two days of learning to explore the latest advancements in technology.
- Microsoft also offers a series of online learning programs through Microsoft Learn and AI Business School which offers industry-recognized Microsoft certifications, in-depth training in virtual classrooms led by Microsoft Certified Trainers, and a wide range of programs designed to fit diverse learning needs. To read more about Microsoft’s skilling initiatives in Canada click here.
Microsoft Expands Azure Service Offerings
Microsoft Azure is trusted by 95% of the Fortune 500 companies and has over 55 regions around the world – more than any other cloud provider. Microsoft is delivering Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 from the local cloud regions in Canada to provide business customers with the benefits of enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with data residency. Microsoft is also announcing the expansion of new services out of local datacentre regions, including:
- Addition of new Azure ExpressRoute site in Vancouver: Microsoft will be expanding its ExpressRoute offerings in Vancouver. With the expansion, customers in Vancouver will have the option to create private connections to Microsoft cloud services. ExpressRoute connections do not go over the public internet, and offer more reliability, faster speeds and lower latencies than typical internet connections. The service will go live by March 2020.
With over 100 unique services available already, Microsoft Canada offers a full catalog of Azure services to meet all customer workloads, from basic IaaS, to latest PaaS services. To learn more about how to transform your business with Azure visit here.
ABOUT MICROSOFT CANADA
Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq “MSFT”) the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.