Microsoft has quietly launched its Israeli Azure cloud region.
“We are launching our newest data center region in Israel,” the company said in a since-deleted Azure update. “The new Israel Central data center region includes Azure availability zones, which offer you additional resiliency for your applications by designing the region with independent power, network, and cooling for additional tolerance to data center failures.”
Though the update post is no longer live, the Israel Central region is listed as live on the Azure regions page.
It was previously listed as available with three availability zones, before being taken down, and then put live again. The region is now listed as having gone live in 2023 with multiple services available, but availability zone information is 'coming soon.'
DCD has repeatedly reached out to Microsoft for comment and confirmation, but the company so far hasn't provided any more information.
The launch comes as Israel is gearing up to begin a ground assault on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for Hamas launching assaults that killed around 1,300 Israelis earlier this month. Since then, more than 3,000 people have been killed in Gaza, with more than 12,500 injured and hundreds missing due to bombardment attacks, according to the UN.
Despite being the first of the US cloud providers to announce plans to launch in the country, Microsoft is the last to actually open a cloud region in Israel.
The company announced plans to open its first data centers in Israel in 2020, with the facilities due to open in 2021 in the Modiin area between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. However, in 2021 local press reported that the data center region’s opening had been pushed back to “early 2022.”
Soon after construction began, workers were injured on site in two separate incidents.
AWS launched its Israeli cloud region in August 2023. The cloud company first announced plans for an Israeli cloud region in June 2021 - after the company was awarded a $1.2 billion tender to provide cloud services to Israeli government agencies alongside Google - and originally set to launch in the first half of 2023.
Oracle launched a region in Jerusalem in October 2021. Announced in April 2021 and constructed by Bynet Data Communications, Oracle’s Jerusalem data center is an underground facility inside a 14,000 sq m (460,000 sq ft) bunker located below five parking levels and a 17-story building in the city’s Har Hotzvim tech hub. The data center extends over four floors at a depth of 50 meters (160 feet) below ground level.