Microsoft is pushing ahead with its cloud computing infrastructure and over the weekend, the software giant expanded Azure services in the UK. The company’s cloud team announced three new features available to cloud customers in Britain.
The first service to now be locally available is HDInsight, which can be used for big data processing inside of Microsoft Azure. The feature allows you to create and manage Hadoop clusters on Microsoft’s cloud and integrates with other open and popular big data technologies like Spark, Hive, HBase, and so on. Microsoft is also touting the “enterprise-level security” that comes as part of its service.
The second new feature available to UK customers ties in nicely with HDInsight, because it’s all about clients getting massive amounts of data up to and down from the cloud. Called Azure Import/ Export, this service lets you physically ship hard disks down to Microsoft’s datacenters where your data will be uploaded to your account. The reverse is also possible, with clients being able to download large amounts of data to hard drives and then have them shipped. Given that bandwidth costs can quickly skyrocket when companies deal with large transfers, this addition for UK clients will likely be viewed as a very positive step forward.
Finally, Microsoft announced it’s also bringing Azure Container Registry to Britain’s shores. This is a private registry for Docker-based images that users can then deploy. The service integrates with the Azure Container Service and supports open source tools like Docker Registry v2.
Given that the cloud business has becoming a vibrant and crucial part of Microsoft’s strategy going forward, we’ll likely continue to see this kind of service expansion as the Azure division continues to gain in importance.