Microsoft is building its first two cloud regions in Norway to provide its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 cloud services locally.

As per the company’s definition, each region will comprise multiple availability zones, which can be made up of one or multiple data centers. The first will be in Oslo, and the second in the southwestern city of Stavanger.

Great success 

While Azure services are expected to be made available as soon as next year, the company says the other two will follow, without specifying a date.

The move is seen as a victory by the Norwegian government, which the minister of Trade Torbjørn Røe Isaksen said is “deeply committed to helping Norway thrive as a hub for digital innovation,” and hopes that Microsoft’s investment will “ensure the competitiveness and productivity of Norwegian businesses and government institutions” whilst having a positive impact on what it calls its “responsibility to [its] citizens to create an inclusive working life, to the environment and to [its] economic development and job growth.”

While it may be slightly optimistic to expect so many benefits to stem from the new data centers, Microsoft’s decision to build in Norway rather than in Sweden or Denmark, where Facebook, and Apple have chosen to erect their facilities (and where Google has bought land -  twice in Denmark, once in Sweden) is another sign that the Norwegian data center industry is set for growth. The country exempted data centers from paying property taxes from the start of 2018.

Other major projects in the country include the Lefdal Mine Datacenter in Måløy, launched in August last year – which, despite its potential 120,000 square meters of technical space, has slowly grown - and what was announced as ’the world’s biggest data center,’ proposed mid-2017 by US-Norwegian company Kolos, before the company was acquired by cryptocurrency miners earlier this year.