Microsoft has opened data centers in Germany which have significant advantages over their server farms in other countries.
The data centers in Frankfurt and Magdeburg (near Berlin) are being called the ‘Microsoft German Cloud’.
What’s different about these data centers compared to Microsoft’s other locations in US, UK, Australia, Asia and around the world?
The short answer is – the law. German law is admirably tougher about privacy and data location (sovereignty) than most other countries. While many politicians seem unable to understand the Internet (if not electricity itself), the German Bundestag has protected their companies and citizens.
German law requires that consumer and company data has to be stored in the country and be under direct German control. The ‘Microsoft’ data centers in Germany are actually run by Deutsche Telecom (the big German telco) not Microsoft.
It’s forbidden for the data to be moved to another location outside Germany. That makes is illegal for a customers email, files, databases to be copied to another server (say in the USA) where it can be accessed under different laws.
In other countries you have to rely on Microsoft’s non-binding promises about the location of your data storage. In Germany, it’s the force of law.
At the moment, only Azure is available from German data centers. Office 365 and Dynamics 365 are promised for 2017. Office 365 in the first quarter and Dynamics 365 in the first half of 2017.