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Microsoft launches first cloud region in Italy; promises to spur digital innovation

Microsoft launches first cloud region in Italy; promises to spur digital innovation

Microsoft has announced its first cloud region in Italy, consisting of three data centers in the Lombardy region. This new data center region will provide organizations and public entities access to scalable, available and resilient cloud services. It will be available soon for businesses using Microsoft Azure or Microsoft 365, with Dynamics 365 and Power Platform to follow.

The Lombardy region includes Milan, which has the largest concentration of data centers in Italy. While these facilities are considered to be the local for centralized cloud services for customers in Italy, they also act as a regional data center for customers in other European countries who need high security, privacy and performance offered in-country.

This news comes soon after Italian-based Rai Way announced its edge data center network, which consists of 18 edge data centers across 20 regions in Italy. Rai Way is owned by Italy’s state-owned broadcast and media organization, Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), and offers satellite, cellular and broadcast TV infrastructure services.

Microsoft’s news also follows on the heels of Google’s expansion in the region. At the end of March, Google debuted its new cloud region in Turin, Italy, joining the recently opened Milan Google Cloud region.

Meanwhile, Microsoft announced the new data center region during the Made in DigItaly event. Hundreds of companies, innovators and Microsoft partners attended the event to discuss the potential benefits of the cloud region for economic and socio-cultural development.

For instance, Poste Italiane, the most extensive service distribution network in Italy, uses Microsoft technologies to digitize and offer new solutions to Italian companies and public administrations.

“Digital innovation influences the strategic decisions of major companies and their business models,” says Matteo Del Fante, the CEO of Poste Italiane. “Our collaboration with Microsoft is long-standing, and today it’s focused on the introduction of infrastructure and on the application of big data analysis tools for achieving the transformation of our technological model by aligning it with the best tech companies.”

The Microsoft Cloud Region in Italy is part of Ambizione Italia. This five-year, $1.5 billion investment plan aims to provide Italian companies with opportunities through cloud technologies, modernize public administration and equip professionals with digital skills.

To help local businesses and make the most of their new data center infrastructure, Ambizione Italia has created the Cloud Region Partner Alliance. The alliance comprises 32 partners from across the region and is expected to stimulate economic growth and generate job prospects for digital innovation.

According to a recent IDC study, Microsoft, its ecosystem and cloud customers could generate about $135 billion in new revenue over the next four years and add more than 237,000 jobs to the Italian economy. The cloud region accounts for approximately 17.1% of the estimated new revenue.

“The launch of Microsoft’s cloud region is important for the Lombardy region and Italy,” says Valentino Valentini, the deputy minister of enterprises and Made in Italy. “The initiative not only brings quality employment opportunities but above all it provides tools and technological infrastructure that allow companies and the public sector to accelerate digital transition.”

Microsoft plans to be carbon negative by the year 2030 and shift to 100% renewable energy by 2025. Water usage for cooling the data centers will also be reduced, the company says.

According to Microsoft, it plans to create over 237,000 jobs in the Italian economy within the next three years.

Additionally, Microsoft states that they have partnered locally to provide training in skills such as data science, cybersecurity, and AI and have already trained 3 million Italians in these areas.

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