Microsoft is launching its first cloud region in Italy, the company said on Monday.
The new region, which will have three data centers, will be located in Lombardy — an administrative area in Northern Italy whose capital is Milan.
Enterprises will be able to start using the new region using Microsoft Azure or Microsoft 365 in the coming weeks, the company said, adding that other services such as Dynamics 365 and Power Platform are expected to follow soon.
The data centers in Lombardy are part of Microsoft’s “Ambizione Italia” (Ambition Italy) program launched in 2018. Later in 2020, the company said it would invest $1.5 billion over the next five years under the program to improve cloud infrastructure and provide digital skills training.
Microsoft’s ecosystem in Italy and its enterprise customers together could add about $135 billion and 237,000 jobs to the Italian economy over the next four years, according to a joint study by Microsoft and IDC. Of the $135 billion, the Lombardy region alone is expected to contribute over $22.95 billion.
Microsoft said it would provide cloud services to the Italian Public Administration as part of the National Strategic Hub by leveraging Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, which was launched in July last year.
The new region in Lombardy will add to over 60 cloud regions that Microsoft has globally and is expected to be one of the largest data center regions in Europe. The company has a total of 17 regions in the continent.
Microsoft is the latest among large public cloud service providers to add a region in Italy. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Oracle already have cloud regions in Milan.
Public cloud service providers have been rapidly expanding their cloud infrastructure globally and are expected to do accelerate the same with the proliferation of compute-intensive AI and generative AI based applications including OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
AWS, too, recently launched a region in Malaysia with a $6 billion commitment. Google has also announced its intent to launch new cloud regions in the coming quarters.