Microsoft joins the war for Government Cloud in Australia and New Zealand – Start planning to migrate

kiwiofficeIn recent news, Microsoft has signaled it will be adding Office 365 and Dynamics CRM to their recent expansion of Microsoft Azure, which is now in Australian datacentres. In news: “I am pleased to announce that our cloud productivity suite – Office 365, and our cloud business application – Dynamics CRM Online, will be offered to all customers from the Australian Datacentres by the end of March, 2015. “

Effectively what this does is provide confidence to both Australia and New Zealand customers by adding those core Cloud services to their overall Cloud stack. For Australia, about to embark on Government Cloud, this makes uptake a lot easier and allows it to get around the data sovereignty issue. For New Zealand, it brings those services much closer reducing latency significantly, and it is an easier step for us to store out data in Australia as opposed to some other country.

One of the advantages is for New Zealand companies and government in that Microsoft recently buddied with Spark Wholesale and Snap to provide ExressRoute connections from New Zealand to Australia. This allows high-speed, low latency, private connections to be established between company or agency and Microsoft directly.

Ultimately this should help Government, though just how is hard to see right now. Office Productivity as a Service is available in a very minor way with only email and calendaring available, both hosted out of Datacom, who is the only supplier. I hear that so far it hasn’t been taken up in a significant way, there are reasons for that I would suggest. The commercial wall that agencies have to work through, the investment that Datacom will have had to make, and the fact that with this latest announcement the product set comes very close to New Zealand shores giving a (possibly) cheaper alternative? I haven’t seen pricing.

This makes it slightly more confusing in some ways as well. Does an agency keep on premise Exchange? It seems silly in this current day and age to do so, though, there are still complexities involved, particularly with integration. A lot of government agencies have integrated third-party and bespoke applications with their Exchange based systems, so moving to Cloud mail makes for a complex issue that increases with the size of the agency. Ditto private companies, who have the same issue.

Of course it is unfair to tar the DIA OPaaS with that brush, because mail and calendaring only make up a very small part of the overall services, which include content filtering, SEEMail, archive, DLP, higher reliability and availability, security up to restricted, and so on.

Government then must decide which service to use; their own, OPaaS (which isn’t mandatory), or Microsoft Australia. Now, we know that the “their own” option is fast running out. Microsoft has made it very clear that their services in the future will only be delivered from their Cloud. That means onsite goes. That means, start planning that move to Cloud now, regardless of the option.

This makes OPaaS an attractive option. The queue isn’t looking that full, so you could start planning now before the mad rush, yes you’ll be first, but at least you won’t be last and under pressure to move. That is, if you can work your way through that commercial wall of pain. You’ll be in country and have all the support next door that you need.

The other variability if price. I don’t know what the cost differential is between the Australian service and OPaaS.

Regardless, the news from Microsoft today does bring those Cloud services closer to New Zealand in effect. Signalling the move of Microsoft into the Australian and New Zealand market in a larger way. Along with Amazon, Google, Telstra, and Dimension Data. It’s getting very crowded down here with companies looking at securing customers for the next few years in Cloud as the war for market share starts to hit the outlying areas of the planet.

For enterprises and agencies who haven’t made the move to OPaaS, it offers extra options, which can only be a good thing. Because like it or not, Cloud is hear to stay, and will become more and more pervasive over time.

Let’s not forget Google either, they are on the come back in a large way, and we already have agencies utilising their Cloud services including mail and calendaring.

Rich pickings for the brave.

“Kiwi businesses are primed to take advantage of Microsoft’s plans to deliver it cloud productivity suite, Office 365 – and business application – Dynamics CRM Online – from Australian data centres by the end of March, 2015.” – Source




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