Microsoft’s first data centres in Africa are now open to customers, with the general availability of Microsoft Azure from new cloud regions in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The investment will drive significant growth, in line with both the continent’s Digital Transformation objectives and the realisation of new economic opportunities. The launch also makes Microsoft the first global provider to deliver cloud services from data centres on the continent, with the two new regions joining the 54 available and announced regions worldwide, more than any other cloud provider.
Azure is the first of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services to be available from the new Microsoft cloud data centres in Africa and will be followed in the future by Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity solution, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, the next generation of intelligent business applications.
Over the past five years, businesses across the continent have increasingly realised the significant benefits of operating in the cloud. According to the Cloud Africa 2018 report, use of the cloud among medium and large organisations has more than doubled from less than 50% in 2013 to pervasive use in 2018.
But, while companies know the importance of cloud, African businesses are still concerned about cyberthreats, so the security and reliability of cloud services are pivotal when discussing Digital Transformation. At the same time, cloud services can help meet compliance for evolving laws around data protection, which have become increasingly focused on data residency requirements.
With locally delivered cloud services from data centres in South Africa, companies now have the option to move to the cloud while maintaining security and meeting compliance needs in addition to benefiting from improved performance, afforded by the closer geographic location of the new data centres.
Reghard van Jaarsveld, Engagement Manager at Decision Inc, says the news marks an exciting time form the cloud market.
“Having the data centres closer to home will enable South Africans to experience less latency on cloud services and enable support for regulatory compliance with the focus on the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA),” he said.
“IT is a strategic enabler for business and one of the critically important vehicles to deliver this is through the cloud. Some local companies have remained sceptical despite the cost efficiencies on offer. However, the launch of these two multinational data centres will change this and reiterate the importance of going the cloud route in a digitally connected world.
“These Azure data centres also see bundled services on offer that enable companies to get more value out of their data. Things like machine-learning algorithms, scalable use of Internet of Things integration, and other related offerings provide business owners with a wealth of locally available solutions.”