Azure Australia region off limits to most of the world

All of the Azure documentation and marketing materials rightly proclaim the vast global footprint of Azure datacentres. However as it turns out its not always so easy to use this global footprint if you want to host your SaaS product in a region closest to your users.

About a year ago the company I worked for kicked off a new project with an Australian based company and we were delighted to hear the announcement of two new Azure DCs in Australia. This was perfect as it would allow us to host our SaaS solution in the same region as our users (in fact the same city).

As soon as the DCs were publicly available we tried to create resources in the DCs and were disappointed to find we weren’t able to access the DC; in the small print is says

“The Australia regions are available to customers with a business presence in Australia or New Zealand."

Initially we struggled to find any explanation as to exactly why this restriction was in place, we heard (unofficially) reasons such as “its a temporary restriction to manage demand” or even “its because Australia doesn’t have very good internet connectivity to the rest of the world”

After a year of trying to get a straight answer from anyone in MS it turns out the most likely answer is that its due to local taxation laws which require entities using the Azure region to be paying tax in Aus/NZ.

I only wish it was made much clearer when the region was announced and more obvious when the global footprint of Azure is highlighted.