The New Zealand-based multi-national dairy co-operative Fonterra plans to embrace public cloud technology and has established a partnership with Microsoft that is likely to see it eschew rival providers, notably Amazon Web Services (AWS).\nFonterra CIO Piers Shore says the company is \u201con a mission to modernise, stabilise and bring its infrastructure tools to a whole different level. \u2026 We feel that for the future, having a cloud-based hosting strategy is really what\u2019s going to unlock the true value for Fonterra.\u201d\n\n[ Stay on budget with these 6 cloud cost management tips, learn the 5 fundamentals of effective cloud management and beware hidden cloud migration gotchas. | Get the latest cloud computing insights by signing up for our newsletter. ]\n\nHe notes the benefits of moving from on-premises to public cloud include environmental sustainability, data storage and the ability to scale. \u201cWe just feel it\u2019s not practical to keep spinning up servers. We really want to make sure we can scale up, and the best way is in the context of a cloud strategy and in this space Microsoft\u2019s offering is extremely compelling.\u201d\nPreviously CIO New Zealand has reported Fonterra\u2019s work with AWS, but Shore indicated this is unlikely to continue. \u201cI think the intent would be that over the long term we use [Microsoft] Azure exclusively.\u201d\nWhy Fonterra is standardising on Microsoft Azure\nMicrosoft\u2019s announcement in May 2020 that it will establish a data centre region in New Zealand has made the partnership more compelling for Shore. But, he says, \u201cI would have recommended to Fonterra that we would converge on an Azure architecture for the future regardless of whether there had been a data region in New Zealand or not. \u2026 We already have part of our manufacturing organisation utilising Azure heavily and part of the long-term vision for us is to harmonise our strategic architecture. \u2026 The fact that Microsoft has decided to invest in creating a data region in New Zealand made it a very compelling choice.\u201d\nA press release about the partnership states that \u201ctransferring data from on-site data centres to Microsoft\u2019s virtually unlimited Azure cloud platform will vastly increase the amount of data Fonterra can gather and analyse in real time, using everything from IoT [internet of things] sensors on farm milk vats to smart machines in its factories to help optimise its operations. Already, Fonterra is trialling machine learning to detect improperly sealed or faulty bags of powdered milk in its factories, so all products arrive at stores in perfect condition without wastage.\u201d\nShore says that during the pandemic lockdown, when Fonterra was forced to shift thousands of its staff members to remote working, Microsoft was \u201cmassively helpful\u201d. \u201cThey helped us move to the more integrated Teams environment that we\u2019re in now, gave us a lot of support from a technical perspective. Helped us with the network and so forth and that kind of partnership, which is reliable and trustworthy, those are the kind of things that you look for in a strategic partner and Microsoft really was tremendously supportive,\u201d he says.\nFonterra is also adopting Microsoft products beyond the cloud, providing Microsoft Surface computers to staff across Australia and New Zealand.