Microsoft to open first cloud data center in Israel
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Microsoft to open first cloud data center in Israel

Tech giant to offer Azure and Office 365 cloud services to Israeli customers starting sometime in 2021

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

This photo from July 3, 2014, shows the Microsoft Corp. logo outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington. (AP Photo Ted S. Warren, File)
This photo from July 3, 2014, shows the Microsoft Corp. logo outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington. (AP Photo Ted S. Warren, File)

Microsoft said Wednesday it would set up its first cloud data center in Israel.

The Israeli center will offer cloud services to Israeli customers, starting with Azure and following with Office 365. It is expected to be operational sometime in 2021.

“This marks a significant investment by Microsoft in the Israeli market,” the company said.

Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure currently caters to 56 regions in 21 countries, serving over a billion customers and 20 million businesses.

The company’s Israel data center would comply with security and privacy requirements for data storage in Israel and Europe.

“When I speak to customers across EMEA, it is clear that the power of the cloud is essential for their competitiveness,” Michel van der Bel, president of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a statement. “We have made significant infrastructure investments in the region and with this announcement, our planned region in Israel will join a growing number of EMEA markets recently made available including Germany, Norway, South Africa and Switzerland.”

“Offering Microsoft Azure and Office 365 from a datacenter region in Israel forms a key part of our investment and involvement in the startup nation, as infrastructure is an essential building block for the tech intensity that public sector entities and businesses need to embrace,” he said.

Microsoft Israel CEO Ronit Atad said: “This significant investment marks a milestone in the relationship between Microsoft and Israel and also comes as we mark 30 years of the company’s activity in Israel.”

“This is further proof that Microsoft sees a strategic market in Israel. Public bodies, businesses, startups and developers will benefit from access to scalable cloud services,” Atad said.

The company first opened a local branch in Israel in 1989, and established its first R&D center in Israel, its first outside the US, in 1991. It currently also operates an Israeli business branch, R&D center, venture capital fund and startup program.

In 2020, the company will launch a new Microsoft Israel campus, it said.

Microsoft in June 2019 said its first data center regions in the Middle East — in Abu Dhabi and Dubai — are now online.

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