Microsoft is building two new data centers in Norway as it works to expand its investment in cloud computing in Europe. Oslo, the Norwegian capital, and the Stavanger region are the chosen locations for each of the investments.
The company's new data centers will power its cloud offerings in Norway, which includes services such as Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365. Azure will be the first to be made available from the new locations, scheduled for launch in late 2019, with the other two coming sometime after that.
One of the first ones to make use of the newly announced data centers is Equinor, an energy company which has partnered with Microsoft to modernize its business. Microsoft says the seven-year-long partnership is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but didn't disclose the exact number. Of course, other Norwegian businesses will also be able to benefit from the new domestic data centers.
The announcement comes at a time when the Norwegian government is looking to bolster the country's attractiveness for digital businesses. Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Norway's Minister of Trade and Industry, talked about how Microsoft's new investments fit into the government's vision:
"The Norwegian government is deeply committed to helping Norway thrive as a hub for digital innovation. Norway needs new industries that create jobs and boost economic growth. In February 2018 the Norwegian government released its datacenter strategy ‘Powered by Nature,’ establishing that attracting datacenters and international investments is an important part of our industrial policy. Therefore, we are very pleased to see Microsoft’s commitment to our country with this new datacenter. We believe that datacenters and cloud services will help ensure the competitiveness and productivity of Norwegian businesses and government institutions, and have a positive impact on our responsibility to our citizens to create an inclusive working life, to the environment, and to our economic development and job growth."
The Redmond giant has been investing a lot of resources into cloud computing experiences and the data centers that power them. Recently, we got a look at its ambitious plans for underwater data centers, but while we wait for those to become a reality, it's good to see Microsoft continuing to invest in the more traditional structures to power its online services.