Microsoft Cloud Switzerland: Office 365 available

Urs Wermelinger
12.12.19 11:54

Microsoft beats itself: Office 365 is immediately available in the cloud region Switzerland, and thus earlier than originally promised in summer. New customers of O365 immediately benefit from the local data storage, existing customers should "enroll" for a migration as quickly as possible.

Microsoft Office 365 is now available from the Swiss data centers with local data storage for security and control as well as geo-redundancy in Switzerland for increased operational reliability. Organizations from the Liechtenstein Fürstentum can also obtain Office 365 from the Swiss data centers.

Local data storage in Switzerland includes Office 365, which Microsoft calls "data at rest", in particular the following services: 

  1. Exchange Online Mailbox content (email-body, calendars and email-attachments).
  2. SharePoint Online (site-content and files stored on the site). 
  3. OneDrive for Business (uploades files)
  4. Teams (chats)  
    Availability with one limitation: Since Microsoft Streams is not yet available in the Swiss cloud, meetings in Swiss tenants cannot yet be recorded). 

Prices for Office 365 in the Swiss cloud do not differ from other Microsoft cloud regions. This is in contrast to the prices of Microsoft Azure out of the Swiss Cloud: Here applies a 10-20% uplift compared to the Europe Cloud region.

All Office 365 new customers (tenants) will be created in the Swiss cloud region with immediate effect. Existing customers who wish to migrate their existing Office 365 tenant to the Swiss cloud as quickly as possible should apply for this immediately ("Opt-in" at http://aka.ms/move) in order to be among the first to be migrated this summer.

With the availability of Office 365, "General Availability" was also declared for Azure in the coming weeks: Azure will then be generally available for all customers directly from the Swiss cloud.  

CYCL was able to speak with Primo Amrein, Cloud Lead Switzerland at Microsoft, at the launch of Office 365. 


CYCL: Mr. Amrein: As Cloud Lead Switzerland, you are showing an extremely cheerful face at the moment. Could that be because Microsoft has for once outperformed itself with the date of availability of O365 in Switzerland?

Amrein: In fact, we have made every possible effort to make Office 365 available in the Swiss cloud region as soon as possible. This is not something that can be taken for granted. This is a very large and complex undertaking, with a large financial commitment from Microsoft of several hundred million Swiss francs over the next few years. Accordingly, we are happy to have actually made it.

BLOG Microsoft Office 365 Live in CH Cloud Primo Amrein blog

CYCL: A few months ago, Microsoft opened the two data centers in Switzerland, coupled with the availability of the first Azure services for early adopter customers. What has happened since the announcement of Azure in CH?

Amrein: In the first 100 days of the Microsoft cloud in Switzerland much has happened. Since the start, we have been able to migrate more than 150 customers of all sizes and industries to our data centers.

The range of Azure services has been continuously expanded as planned since the launch of the Microsoft Cloud in Switzerland at the end of August. At the same time, the Swiss data centers have received important certifications, including C5, SOC 2 Type II, SOC 3 and CSA Star. Following an early adopter phase with a regulated admission process ("Switzerland first"), the Microsoft Azure Cloud in Switzerland will be generally available to all organizations in the coming weeks via the Switzerland North region.

We were also able to win Zurich Insurance as an additional cloud client alongside UBS, Swiss Re and Mobiliar, who are now using the Azure cloud with local clients "data residency" and geo-redundancy within Switzerland. 

CYCL: What does the availability of Office 365 actually mean for Swiss customers? Will the prices remain the same as promised?

Amrein: Existing Office 365 tenants of Swiss or Liechtenstein clients will be moved to the Swiss cloud regions over time. (check: https//aka.ms/move). The opt-in period has already been started via Message Center announcements to eligible customers and will last until the end of June 2020. After this period, migrations will be carried out step by step over the next 1-2 years.

The price of Office 365 remains the same, no matter in which region the corresponding Office 365 Tenant is located.

CYCL: Was sind die wichtigsten Schritte für Kunden, die ihren Office 365 Tenant möglichst schnell in die Schweizer Datacenter verlegen lassen möchten?

Amrein: The most important first step is certainly to register immediately in the opt-in process in order to be involved in the first migrations. For special severity cases that require accelerated migration, we have a process for exceptions.

CYCL: What is the Multi-Geo Option. For which customers is it interesting and when will it be available in Switzerland?

Amrein: The Multi-Geo Option is intended for larger international customers with at a minimum of 500 users who want to distribute their user-base to different regions in order to place data or applications closer to their branch offices. The Multi-Geo Option will also cover the Swiss region, but will continue to be subject to a charge.

CYCL: Office 365 will also be available in the EDU version in the Swiss cloud and among the first customers are also public administrations such as the city of Zug as an example. Do you expect the public sector to rethink the use of the cloud as a result of Swiss data management? 

Amrein: In fact, we see many public organizations using the Swiss data storage option as an opportunity to think about how they can use the cloud for their employees, but also for their customers, citizens and suppliers, modernizing services and saving costs. Fortunately, there has been a lot of change.

CYCL: Who is hesitating and how would you convince them? 

Amrein: I would always say the very same thing to everyone: with the option of data storage in Switzerland, with all the certifications that we now have for Swiss data centers and with the general contractual terms in which we go very far when it comes to openness to processes, governance and security issues, there is not much left that could really serve as a blocker to successfully serve suitable cloud applications for companies and public organizations from our cloud.

Of course, I would like more and more customers and decision-makers to come to the same conclusion. 

(c) CYCL, December 2019

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