Microsoft boosts investment in undersea cables to secure SaaS future

Capacity needed to feed its growing armada of data centres

Microsoft has teamed up with half a dozen Asian telecommunication companies to deploy more than 13,000km of fibre optic cables that will link Hillsboro, Oregon in the west coast of the US, with Chongming, Nanhui, and Lingang on the Chinese mainland; Busan, South Korea; Maruyama, Japan; and finally Toucheng, Taiwan.

In a blog post, Microsoft's Managing Director, Network Enablement, David Crowley, noted that the company had been investing "significantly" in subsea and terrestrial dark fibre as part of the New Cross Pacific Cable Network.

Once deployed, the cables are expected to deliver up to 80Tbps of available bandwidth which will be split amongst the relevant partners.

Microsoft has 15 major data centres deployed globally, 19 if you consider Azure computer regions, which is more than Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud combined (according to bean counters at MS).

The Redmond-based software behemoth needs bandwidth not only for its Azure cloud services but also for its other SaaS products: Outlook, Office 365 and Xbox. It is also likely that Windows 10 will have a more significant cloud component, particularly if Cortana becomes more popular.

The company is pushing a mobile-first, cloud-first mantra with its Commercial Cloud division growing by more than 100% year-on-year.

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