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When I think back to the types of conversations I had with customers five years ago when Office 365 was in its infancy, they’ve evolved. Priorities have shifted, there is more clarity than ever and an appetite to adopt and take advantage of public cloud.
My conversations would go a little like this....'yes you do get 15 installs of Office,' 'No Microsoft don't look at your data.' Ok that's putting it a little crudely, but we were far less savvy when it came to adopting cloud and there was a lot of what I call 'mist' – confusing cloud myths out there - that Softcat were on a mission to dispel. We fast forward to 2018. Microsoft cloud now infiltrates 90% of the Fortune 500 with customers adopting at least one service - those conversations have changed.
Today, organisations are well versed with what O365 is, and actually the stickier questions I get asked are from existing customers who want to make fundamental but easy changes to their environment at a tenant level.
'How can I split workloads across different datacentres across the world?'
'I need to improve performance; shall I move datacentres?'
'Can I change my tenant name now my company has been rebranded?'
At the last Ignite conference in August last year Microsoft announced that multi-geo capabilities would be rolled out this year, and yes it's here, in preview form. But will it help tackle the real issues our customers are facing regarding security, or even performance?
Firstly, what are multi-geo capabilities? If you created a tenant in the UK today, your data would reside in the UK datacentres and any global users would access those too. This can sometimes cause issues for large global organisations that need to meet specific data residency requirements for the countries that they operate in. Multi-Geo tenants allow organizations to choose specific workloads to sit in different locations around the world, by splitting those workloads.
Having localised datacentres will not enhance performance unfortunately - once traffic arrives into the Microsoft datacentre network, it moves freely, so it doesn’t matter if you have multiple datacentres hosting different VMs, it won’t improve the experience of users.
I’ve spoken with customers who have considered two tenants to address their strict data sovereignty obligations. This not only has financial and licencing consequences but federal implications too, and although the rollout of multi-geo tenancies is limited as of today, with only Exchange and OneDrive workloads being considered for customers with Enterprise Agreements – it’s great to see yet another enhancement beginning to make the move to cloud accessible to all customers.
If you're interested in multi-geo tenants, or want to find out more about the advantages of this, please contact your account manager or get in touch using the button below.
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