Otago Daily Times

Work begins on northern ‘hyperscale’ data centres


AUCKLAND: Ground has been broken on a project to build three giant data centres in Auckland and north of Auckland, Microsoft New Zealand managing director Vanessa Sorenson says.

The build is expected to run to hundreds of millions of dollars (Infratilow­ned CDC has said its plan to build two ‘‘hyperscale’’ data centres in the city will cost more than $300 million; startup Datagrid has plans for a $700 million server farm in Southland).

BNZ has also been named as the second anchor customer, after Fonterra, for the trio of new server farms, which will be known as an Azure data centre region in Microsoft’s lingo.

Microsoft is the first of the three big multinatio­nal cloud players (the others are Google and Amazon) to build a data centre locally.

BNZ technology and operations general manager Russell Jones said a local data centre had two major points of appeal: faster performanc­e and regulatory compliance benefits.

Some of the bank’s apps — such as one checking credit card transactio­ns against multiple databases for unusual spending patterns — processed hundreds of transactio­ns a second.

Others involved ‘‘data residency’’ requiremen­ts to keep files within NZ borders (at least geographic­ally; Microsoft NZ — ultimately owned by its US parent — is a whollyowne­d subsidiary of a Microsoft subsidiary registered in Bermuda. Microsoft registered a second NZ subsidiary last year for its data centre build; the new subsidiary is 100% owned by Microsoft Ireland).

The local build would allow BNZ to migrate some 1000 apps from inhouse servers to Microsoft’s new server farms without having to worry about the potential performanc­e or compliance hit of sending data offshore.

Mr Jones said it would be the largest technology migration in BNZ’s history. The bank’s aim is to shift an app a day to Microsoft’s local data centres, meaning the project will take the best part of three years.

BNZ’s parent company NAB has said it will spread its bets among multiple cloud providers, but the centre of gravity is shifting. NAB, which formerly had nearly all of its cloud business with Amazon Web Services, last year named Microsoft as its ‘‘primary’’ cloud provider. — The New Zealand Herald

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