Microsoft Races Past Google & Amazon to cloud computing in India

Microsoft ia the first big public cloud provider to open up shop in India, serving the country’s growing tech scene. The news comes out of Microsoft‘s Azurecon, a virtual “conference” where the company is sharing all kinds of news pertaining to the future of Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure is the company’s so-called “hyperscale” cloud computing platform, where customers can swipe a credit card and get access to functionally unlimited supercomputing power.

Microsoft Azure has been a tremendous boon for the company, but it’s still lagging behind Amazon Web Services, the retail giant’s market-leading entry in the cloud computing game, which is on track to book $7 billion this year. The top three players in the space are generally assumed to be Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure.

CEO Satya Nadella has long said that Microsoft has two big edges in the cloud computing game: First, Windows Azure integrates nicely with the legacy Windows Server software, meaning that it’s easier for customers to move over their existing applications and data.

Second, Nadella has claimed that Microsoft has a wider global reach. Including the three new Indian “regions,” or data centers, that Microsoft is opening up to customers today, there are 24 Azure regions worldwide.

Microsoft Azure Growth

With that reach, Microsoft Azure can serve a broad global market. This is important for a few reasons, including the fact that closer data centers deliver better performance, and that some companies have strict legal rules around where their data can reside.

Serving the Indian market is just furthering that goal. And eventually, says Microsoft Corporate VP of Azure Jason Zander, that same Azure data center will also be able to offer the Office 365 subscription-based cloud productivity suite, too.

Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services plans to open its Indian region to the public in 2016, while Google Cloud Platform hasn’t announced any India-specific plans.

It gives the company a first-mover advantage in a market that Facebook, Google, and Microsoft itself are all tripping over themselves to serve.

Other AzureCon announcements include the general availability of Azure Container Service, a tool for helping customers manage their software containers – the hot new technology that’s taken Silicon Valley by storm. With software containers, like the kind developed by billion-dollar startup Docker, companies can make a lot more efficient use of their infrastructures.

Additionally, Microsoft announced the availability of its Azure Internet of Things (IoT) cloud, making it easier for developers to plug in the data from connected devices. Microsoft also introduced new security tools for Azure customers to prevent unauthorized logins, as well as new kinds of cloud servers for graphics-intensive applications.