Microsoft brings the mountain to Mohammed

Data residency issues force Equinor to partner with Microsoft on in-country data centers.

Moving to the cloud may be an essential prerequisite for digital transformation but, it is not as easy as it might appear. An individual hacker can provision an Amazon web services ‘instance’ and, as we did back in 2015, have a ‘hello world’ app running in the cloud in a matter of … well a couple of hours in our case. The hacker does not need to worry about what or where the cloud is actually located. The situation is different for a corporation which is subject to internal and external compliance issues as Equinor (previously Statoil) discovered.

Equinor’s originally intended to run its Omnia data base ‘in the Azure cloud.’ Trouble came with the realization that Microsoft’s data centers were located in Ireland. This meant that Equinor was exposed to regulations on ‘exporting’ data and an additional bureaucracy around data movement. The answer was to bring the mountain to Mohammed, or more specifically, for a ‘strategic partnership agreement’ between Equinor and Microsoft and the establishment of new data centers in Stavanger and in Oslo.

Statoil CIO Åshild Hanne Larsen said, ‘The partnership enables our digital journey to deliver more safe, secure and efficient operations. Our ambition is to become a global digital leader within our industry. A cloud data center in Norway will simplify and accelerate Equinor’s adoption of the cloud.’ The seven year commitment is said to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars range. Cloud services from the new data center will be available in late 2019. Read the release here.

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