Technology 2 min read

Microsoft Brings Major Cloud Services to South Africa

Microsoft has made quite a few moves this year and it's only March. One of its most aggressive moves has to be its expansion of cloud services into South Africa. Since Amazon had originally announced plans to expand by 2020, this makes Microsoft the first to bring major cloud services to the area.

In a major investment in South Africa's tech industry, Microsoft is pushing forward on a wide-scale cloud computing infrastructure plan. ¦ Pixabay

In a major investment in South Africa's tech industry, Microsoft is pushing forward on a wide-scale cloud computing infrastructure plan. ¦ Pixabay

Microsoft is, by no means, the first to bring cloud services to South Africa.

Huawei announced its own Cloud in the area on March 5, 2019 (just 24 hours before Microsoft’s press conference to announce their own services). Huawei’s center will be in Johannesburg for now, offering tier 3+ standards.

By contrast, Microsoft plans to open two separate, enterprise-grade data centers. One will also be in Johannesburg, with another in Cape Town. Both offer artificial intelligence, cloud, and edge computing innovations for the entire continent.

However, Microsoft originally planned to launch the cloud data centers in December of 2018.

Why This Expansion Matters for the World

According to the Microsoft Azure blog post, the centers provide “general availability.” But Microsoft already has some big names leveraging their South Africa cloud services. eThekwink, Nedbank, and Peace Parks Foundation are just the early adopters.

The services include Dynamics 365, Office 365, and Azure (of course).

Microsofts plans to expand its scalable, robust cloud services to companies as needed. The company will also meet security, data residency, and compliance needs, citing specific focus on data protection.

Microsoft does service more regions than any other cloud provider: 54 to be exact. As such, the interconnection via Microsoft’s worldwide cloud infrastructure could be a great boon for businesses who want to expand into South Africa themselves.

Microsoft plans to deliver global-scale cloud services to all of Africa. | Microsoft

The Difference Between Amazon, Microsoft, and Huawei

Though Amazon has not yet updated their 2020 plans, Microsoft may already have a leg up on the competition — including Huawei.

Huawei just leases data centers currently; Microsoft has constructed and invested in infrastructure.

This echoes plans outlined when Microsoft first launched Microsoft 4Afrika in 2013. This project aimed to improve African business development in several ways through investing in:

  • African youth
  • small-to-medium enterprises
  • start-ups
  • governments
  • partners
  • affordable internet access
  • local technology solutions
  • developing more skilled laborers

Microsoft also announced plans to extend FarmBeats — the end-to-end approach that aids farmers in leveraging tech innovations.

Microsoft Azure serves Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, and will soon serve Angola. Their focus on compliance and security should prove interesting in terms of how rivals like AWS respond.

Read More: Microsoft’s Azure Sentinel Could Make Them Kings of Cloud Security

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Juliet Childers

Content Specialist and EDGY OG with a (mostly) healthy obsession with video games. She covers Industry buzz including VR/AR, content marketing, cybersecurity, AI, and many more.

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