Azure in China

Microsoft Azure presence in China is always a question when there is a need for any customer to deploy azure applications specifically for Chinese Regional customers.

Recently I had an interaction with a Microsoft Certified Trainer, who carelessly said Azure only uses Chinese partner based environment is only for serving CDN (Content Delivery Network) needs, partial knowledge is difficult to convince. Being a Certified Trainer, he should have known these. As I recollect my earlier experience with azure, I was aware that Microsoft has partnered with 21Vianet , to setup a Chinese instance of Azure with most possible IaaS, PaaS and SaaS offerings are available to Chinese customers. At the same time data would reside within Chinese governments data privacy and storage regulations.

Similarly other competitor cloud providers such as IBM also partnered with 21Vianet to setup their BlueMix instances in China.

Microsoft Azure in China

General availability of Azure in China through 21vianet partnership has been announced in March 26th 2014. These Azure Services in Chinese region will be operated and sold by 21vianet.

Quoting to Doug Hauger GM- National Cloud Programs, Microsoft

Windows Azure, operated by 21Vianet, is based on the same technology as Microsoft’s global Windows Azure service and offers a reliable, flexible and value-based service to bring Microsoft’s latest cloud technologies and benefits to Chinese customers and propel forward technological development in China as a whole.

Why Partnership?

As per Chinese Government(PRC) Cyber Security Law and Governance policies there is a clear restriction for a foreign entrant to obtain license and provide services to Chinese customers.  All the data relating to Chinese customers should reside within Chinese Data Centres, and foreign companies would have to pass on the operational ownership to a Chinese company in order to operate within PRC(Peoples Republic of China).

In Additional to that on November’2016 new amendments attached to new PRC Cyber Security Law (effective 1st June 2017).

As per DLA PIPER

The new law will come into force on 1 June 2017 and has significant implications for the data privacy and cybersecurity practices of both Chinese companies and international organisations doing business in China.

The new PRC Cybersecurity Law intends to combat online fraud and protect China against Internet security risks. In short, it imposes new security and data protection obligations on “network operators”; puts restrictions on transfers of data outside China by “key information infrastructure operators”; and introduces new restrictions on critical network and cybersecurity products.  [Read more from Source]

Where is Azure in China?

You can access Azure in China instance through a separate portal https://www.azure.cn. Azure Portal is available at https://portal.azure.cn/. Pricing information is available on http://www.azure.cn/pricing/pia/  (click on English to get an English version).

Below are two data centre regions Azure is available in China.

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Services Offered in Azure China Instances:

Not all all services of Azure including Mobile Services, Analytics and IoT Suite are available for Chinese regions. I will try to cover a specific list of services that are available for China region.Azure China is a few versions behind regular Azure and not all services are supported. Some of the services supported are:

  • Compute – Virtual Machines (For IaaS Services)
  • Compute – Cloud Service (For PaaS Services)
  • Compute – Web Site
  • Data Services – Storage (For Blobs, tables and Queues)
  • Data Services – SQL Database
  • Data Service – HDInsight
  • SQL Database – SQL Import/ExportNetworks – Virtual Network (To communicate between cloud services via Local networks)
  • Service Bus
  • Active Directory
  • Access Control Service – which has its own UI and namespace
  • Caching – only dedicated cache is supported
  • Mobile Service
  • Media Service
  • CDN
  • Traffic Manager
  • Azure IoT Suite
  • Notification Center
  • Event Center
  • Service Fabric
  • Batch Service
  • Flow Analytics, Power BI
  • Document DB, SQL Database, SQL Data Warehouse, MySQL
  • and many more

image

A list of supported and not supported services can be found at (This is in Chinese, and it is a working document, use google translate to take you through all steps necessary for you to understand services offered in Azure China) http://www.windowsazure.cn/documentation/articles/developerdifferences/#readyonwacn

This also includes all the endpoints that are required for developers to integrate/develop applications targeting China region.

Hope this information was helpful to you. I would assume it would be helpful for some who are specifically looking forward for providing technology solutions for Chinese customers through Azure Cloud.

Sources:

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