The growing European cloud

When Europeans use cloud computing services, they are connecting to large data centres for the computing power they need. When they want more cloud services, they need more computing power capacity in those data centres.

The growing use of cloud services in Europe has caused Microsoft to make another massive investment in computing power capacity in its Dublin Data Centre. This week, Microsoft announced an investment of $130 million to expand that data centre.

The initial investment in the Dublin Data Centre was a massive $500 million in September 2009 and represented an enormous bet by Microsoft. That investment was well-placed, and more is warranted. Europe is using cloud services, and expansion of the underlying infrastructure is needed already.

The investment alone is noteworthy, as an optimistic sign during a time of economic crisis, but more interesting is the way Europeans are using Microsoft’s cloud services like those powered by the Dublin data centre:

These and many more examples show the increasing use of cloud computing, and the way that these uses fuel the European economy. And many of these examples involve Europeans using services that were actually developed and sold by European small businesses that use Microsoft technology for the infrastructure or platform. Such small businesses selling cloud services are able to prosper precisely because they do not have to make the big capital investment that Microsoft has made, but can exploit it to run their own services.

Getting comfortable with cloud services

The attraction of cloud computing starts with the cost savings offered by economies of scale. Mega-data centres can deliver computing power more cheaply and efficiently than smaller traditional sources. But cost is not the only factor for European customers, and many still hesitate to use cloud computing because of concerns about security and privacy of data in remote data centres.

More than any other company, Microsoft is addressing these concerns – offering compliance with the strictest EU and US standards, as well as transparency and clarity regarding security and privacy practices in the Trust Center. The increasing usage of cloud services in Europe shows the increasing trust in the services provided by Microsoft.

There will remain, however, many reasons for governments and businesses to run their own servers and not send their data to public data centres, and for those reasons Microsoft offers private cloud solutions and makes it easy to work with a combination of public and private cloud scenarios. The choices available help customers make rational decisions about where and how to store and process their data, and in turn help increase their comfort level.

With another $130 million investment in the Dublin Data Centre, Microsoft is adding capacity to ensure that customer needs and choices are available today and tomorrow.

About the Author

Director EU Institutional Relations, Microsoft

Mark Lange is Director of EU Institutional Relations. He joined Microsoft in 1998 and currently works on policy issues relating to cloud computing, privacy, security and data governance in the European Union, as well as interoperability and intellectual property across Read more »