The lights are on, the machines are humming.

Today, I can very proudly announce that the Australian Azure Geo is now in private preview and a number of customers and partners are using the service today.

Now I still can’t give you the final date for general availability but I can share that it is just around the corner, a matter of months away.

Today marks a really important step for customers and partners on our cloud journey in Australia. Azure opens the doors to a whole new range of possibilities for customers and partners – and we’re already seeing some of these come to life in the work of our private preview partners.

Take Janison, based in Coffs Harbour, for example. 

They started building on Azure three years ago and now produce e-learning systems for organisations in Australia, Singapore, China, Vietnam and the USA, educating more than 1 million people across the globe.

This is true Australian innovation being built in the Microsoft cloud and exported around the world, and it has enabled an Australian company located in regional NSW to compete, and win business, against global companies such as SAP and RM. Truly outstanding work. 

Another example is Ocean Informatics, which is a world leader in e-health.

Among many things, Ocean Informatics have built an application called My EHealth Record, in conjunction with NT health, that allows indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory to capture their healthcare records on a mobile device and use these wherever they may be.

For patients, this means better healthcare outcomes. And for doctors, more efficient diagnosis and treatment.

Ocean Informatics is now utilising the Australian Azure Geo to test and deploy new solutions that will supercharge what it offers to customers and to speed up implementation.

This year also marks our 30th year of Microsoft’s operations in this country.

We’ve gone from 15 people in 1984 to more than 1000 today. Like every successful business, we have had to constantly reinvent ourselves. And so have you.

We now have more than 11,000 partners who have created an amazing ecosystem. In 2013 alone, this produced more than 32,000 Microsoft certified professionals, created 292,300 jobs and generated $19.5 billion in revenue.

I can’t wait to see what we can do together in the year ahead.

The technology; the innovation; the people; the partners. Together, we can drive unprecedented levels of innovation and business transformation in this country.

It’s a very exciting time.