Microsoft beats Amazon to open its first data centres in Africa

Two new Azure data centres have gone live in South Africa. With these, Microsoft has become the first major cloud provider to open a data centre on the African continent.

First announced in 2017, Microsoft originally intended to open its facilities—South Africa West in Cape Town and South Africa North in Johannesburg—in 2018. Even with the delays, Microsoft has still beaten Amazon to the punch. As well as offering Azure services, Microsoft is going to use the facilities for hosting Office 365 from the third quarter of the year and Dynamics 365 from the fourth quarter.

Microsoft is also investing in connectivity in Africa, with a fibre network reaching Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and soon Angola The profile of customers in Africa may be a little more varied than in other areas served by Microsoft. The first customers include not only a bank and a public water utility, but also the Peace Parks Foundation, which works to monitor and prevent poaching. The foundation processes tens of thousands of cameras used to monitor areas at risk of poaching activity and also intends to use an extensive network infrastructure to relay radio communications to improve its ability to reach remote areas.

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The move will help companies securely and reliably move their businesses to the cloud while meeting compliance needs.

A report Cloud Africa revealed in 2018 said that cloud used among medium to large organisations in Africa has more than doubled between 2013 and 2018. This is due to the benefits of the cloud in offering efficiency and scalability.

More than 90 per cent of surveyed companies in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria have plans to increase their spending on cloud computing in the next year.

The General Manager of North, West, East, Central Africa, Levant and Pakistan Microsoft, Ibrahim Youssry said that it is a milestone moment in bringing the global cloud closer to home for African citizens and businesses.

Enterprises across Africa can now take full advantage of the many benefits of Microsoft Azure, using cloud services to maintain security and meet compliance standards,” he said.

 

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