In the latest movement, software giant Microsoft publishes its plan of forming two new German data centers.
“ To support local innovation and growth while offering customers increased flexibility and choice”, Microsoft will move all of its cloud services, namely Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM to two new German data centers, located in Magdeburg and Frankfurt am Main. These two new oversea centers, however, will not control the data with Microsoft but with the data trustee T-Systems – a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.
The city of Frankfurt
Microsoft has absolutely no authority over data stored in these two centers and can’t access this data without a yes from the data trustee. Even if permission is granted, Microsoft still will be supervised by the data trustee.
Timotheus Höttges, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Telekom AG, called this “a new, unique solution” for not only Germany customers but also for all Europeans as well. He also expected that this new method will be adopted rapidly.
According to Microsoft, these new data centers will ensure both consistency and security using state-of-the-art technologies like multi-factor authentication with biometric scanning and smart cards and data encryption by SSL/TLS protocols. These methods can also protect data from “natural disasters and power outages.”
Furthermore, the customers will also be offered to see how and where data is processed. These new data centers will focus on providing services for enterprises working in area where data security is the most crucial matter, including the public, financial and health sector.
The service, scheduled to be launched next year, will be available to customers from Germany, the EU as well as the EFTA.
Mentioning its previous plans of building the same data centers in the UK and expanding current data facilities in Ireland and the Netherlands, Microsoft claims to be building an international cloud computing platform for innovation. “Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every individual on the planet to achieve more,” said Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella.
However, rumor has it that this might be a strategic move to avoid possible scandal concerning users’ privacy. Previously, the EU’s Court of Justice declared the Safe Harbor Agreement – a simple mechanism for data transfers signed in 2000 between EU and the US – invalid to protect Europeans from being spied on. After the ordeal, Microsoft was among the first big companies to admit it can’t ensure privacy for global users if it still operates in the US.
This effort will be a move to regain the trust of customers and dissipate any security mistrust by Microsoft. Microsoft’s models can also affect the whole cloud-computing environment as costumers of other providers such as Amazon, Oracle and Google may soon ask for the same protection. On the other hand, this plan can also set a legal battle between EU lawmakers and US counterparts.
Paul Miller, an analyst for Forrester, considered this “a novel attempt by Microsoft and T-Systems” but wondered about its practicability. “we must wait for the first legal challenge to be sure”, he said.