Microsoft has opened three data centers in India, ahead of its plan to open them by the end of 2015, announced by CEO Satya Nadella on a visit in 2014. 

The new data centers in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai are now offering a range of cloud capabilities including Microsoft’s Azure cloud, and will add Office 365 later this month.

india flag keyboard thinkstock photos tashatuvango
india flag keyboard thinkstock photos tashatuvango – Thinkstock / Tashatuvango

Better local latency

The launch makes Microsoft the first US public cloud provider in India to offer public cloud service from a local data center, allowing it to offer better latency and performance than competitors that are based overseas.

Cloud competitors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google currently do not offer public cloud services from India, though the former has said it will open an infrastructure region in India next year.

“Microsoft Cloud in India will transform the way computing is done in the country,” said Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India in a statement. “The hyper-scale cloud will empower governments, businesses and users with better computing power to support their workloads.”

India has traditionally been hampered by unpredictable power supplies, patchy internet connectivity, limited bandwidth and unreliable optical fiber connectivity between different parts of the country. In a report last year, we noted how these factors have contributed to India losing out in the race as a regional data center hub.

Challenges aside, there is no question that the hundreds of millions of Internet users on the Indian subcontinent represent a golden opportunity for cloud providers. Indeed, AWS vice president Andy Jassy had publicly stated that India could become one the largest regions in AWS in the long term.

Gartner has estimated that the public cloud services market in India will grow from US$423M in 2013 to US$1.3bn in 2017, putting India as the fastest growing cloud market in the world.