Today, we’re thrilled to announce the general availability of Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365, a new feature that helps multinational organizations address their global data residency requirements. Multi-Geo has been in preview for the past 12 months, and thanks to the invaluable feedback from our preview customers, it is now ready for prime time.
Increasingly, governments, third-party regulators, and corporate compliance requirements are enacting data residency guidelines to address privacy issues. These guidelines restrict the free flow of data across borders and require that organizations’ data be stored within defined boundaries.
With more such requirements cropping up, multinational businesses are challenged with balancing between digitally transforming their organizations with the cloud and addressing their global data residency needs. This often means that they are stuck managing on-premises data centers or can offer the promise of the cloud only to a fraction of their employees. Neither is an elegant solution, as each creates employee and data silos that stifle teamwork and innovation. Furthermore, managing multiple platforms is not easy and is a strain on IT resources and infrastructure costs.
Multi-Geo addresses these concerns by enabling a single Office 365 tenant to span across multiple Office 365 data center geographies (Geos) and gives customers the ability to store their Office 365 data at-rest for Exchange Online and OneDrive, on a per-user basis, in their chosen Geos. Microsoft commits to storing the data-at-rest in the customer chosen Geo and will not move the data-at-rest outside of the customer chosen Geo unless it is directed by a customer administrator.
Multi-Geo is now available for Exchange Online and OneDrive. With Multi-Geo, customers can choose in which Geo each user’s mailbox contents (e-mail body, calendar entries, and the content of e-mail attachments) and OneDrive uploaded files are stored at rest. Microsoft commits to providing in-Geo data residency, business continuity and disaster recovery for your core customer data. Microsoft is also working on making Multi-Geo enabled for SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups soon and is exploring Multi-Geo for other Office 365 workloads.
Note: Multi-Geo introduces the following new terminology
Central Geo: The Geo where your Office 365 tenant was created, based on the billing address you used when signing up for your Office 365 subscription
Satellite Geo: Additional datacenter Geos that your Office 365 tenant is extended into to store Mailboxes and OneDrive files
For example, Contoso, a multinational with employees in the USA, Europe and Australia can move from managing multiple on-premises servers around the world to a single Multi-Geo enabled Office 365 tenant and address their global data residency needs. Exchange Online Mailboxes and OneDrive files for each employee may be stored at-rest in each of the Geos Contoso operates within.
Employees are now a part of the same Office 365 tenant and can experience collaboration features they did not get in the past because their data lived in fragmented silos. With Multi-Geo, all employees now have a common sharing experience in OneDrive and employees can easily use the global people picker to share a document with colleagues. Similarly, the “Shared-with-me” option in OneDrive now shows a unified list of files shared from employees across all Geos. Employees also get a truly modern experience of discovering people and content that matter to them most using Delve. These are among the many new collaboration features that become native regardless of where the content or the employee resides.
Managing a combination of multiple on-premises and cloud systems is a strain on IT resources and costs. Multi-Geo alleviates this pressure by enabling IT personnel to manage their users and data from the Office 365 administration portal. Admins can use familiar tools to move data between Geos, tailor sharing and config policies for each Geo, and generate reports that show where each user’s data is stored at-rest.
The Microsoft global network is huge, in fact among the top three global networks in the world. With Multi-Geo, you can extend your Office 365 tenant to store your users’ data to one or more of the following Geos.
European Union (EUR)
United Kingdom (GBR)
United States (NAM)