Top-level executives of Amazon and Microsoft, the world’s biggest
providers of important cloud services were both in South Africa
coincidentally at the same time, this month. This is the clearest
indication that cloud services have now become of great importance
In the wake of Amazon Web Services’ first data center’s opening
in Cape Town, next year, Amazon’s chief technology
officer, Werner Vogels, popped into town to launch the inaugural “Pop-up
Loft” in Africa while Yousef Khalidi, Microsoft’s corporate
vice-president of Azure Networking, visited Johannesburg to commission
two data centres in the country.
Describing it as sheer coincidence, Arthur Goldstuck, Managing
Director of Researchers World Wide Worx, wasn’t going to read deeply
into the phenomenon but indeed believes that the presence of the world’s top cloud computing platforms’ executives puts South Africa in the debate for thriving countries needing
Furthermore, shying away from America’s big companies, Chinese
giant, Huawei announced it would introduce commercial cloud services
beginning this month in addition to a data centre they have set out to
construct in South Africa.
Having a cloud presence in South Africa, that is accessible to the established businesses here and in turn opens up a
window of opportunity to the rest of the continent, is a no-brainer. With Microsoft’s arrival, there is the affirmation that the digital economy will
experience growth and this will usher in key global key players for
Africa to take centre stage in proceedings.
AWS and Microsoft have both committed a lot of resources in their quest
to forge a partnership in the cloud computing industry. Microsoft has
installed hyper-scale data centres and opening its first
enterprise-grade data centre in Africa, Microsoft says its Azure is the
foremost global provider to give cloud services from data centres on the
continent, including its Office 365 productivity suite.
Tom Keane, corporate Vice-president of Microsoft’s Azure Global
explained that local data centre infrastructure, when combined with
initiating economic development for customers and partners, enables
companies, governments and regulated industries to reap the rewards the
cloud for digital transformation, as well as make great strides with the
technology ecosystem that supports these projects.
IDC’s Tullett believes that the potential for growth is significant,
with cloud services forecast to grow at just over 30% year-on-year. In
South Africa, there will be a short-term acceleration in growth in that
and related services here, as well as in other African countries, and in
the long term, the impact will be factored in on traditional hosting.
With Huawei’s Johannesburg datacenter leased from a partner, it plans to
operate more data centres in Kenya and Nigeria soon. Edward Deng,
vice-president of Huawei’s Cloud Business Unit says that they anticipate
a Huawei Cloud’s innovative technologies and services, such as cloud
computing and artificial intelligence assisting governments, carriers,
and enterprises in a variety of industries such as energy, finance,
agriculture, to progress to a fully-connected, brilliant era.
It is easy to see why. South Africa is the continent’s most developed
economy. Its advanced internet infrastructure positions it as an ideal
African host for a number of internet firms and
global technology at large.
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