In May 2017, Microsoft announced plans to launch two data centres in South Africa.
Located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, these see the company targeting cloud services growth on the continent. These data centres are expected to deliver the Microsoft Cloud, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 to Africa, with initial availability in 2018.
Ashleigh Fenwick, Head of Communications at Microsoft, revealed that due to an unprecedented level of infrastructure to support new enterprise-grade cloud data centres in South Africa, the launch of the data centres is expected sometime in 2019.
According to Fenwick, the rollout of these data centres will enhance the ability to support customers’ digital transformation and bring the benefits of data residency to South Africa.
Today, Microsoft offers customers a range of innovative regional Microsoft cloud services that allow for business growth and an opportunity to achieve more. These new data centre locations will offer the same enterprise-grade reliability and performance, combined with data residency in South Africa.
“This provides our customers trusted cloud services that help them meet local compliance and policy requirements. In addition, replication of data in multiple data centres across South Africa gives customers reliable protection for business continuity in both pure and hybrid scenarios,” said Fenwick.
“Furthermore, in our experience, local data centre infrastructure supports and stimulates economic development for both customers and partners alike, enabling companies, governments, and regulated industries to realize the benefits of the cloud for innovation and new projects, as well as bolstering the technology ecosystem that supports these projects”, she added.
According to the IDC report, Economic Impact of IT & Microsoft in South Africa, the increased utilisation of public cloud services and the additional investments into private and hybrid cloud solutions will enable organisations in South Africa to focus on innovation and accelerate the pace of digital business transformation. In turn, this will help businesses generate close to R81 billion in net revenue over the next four years.
The Intelligent Cloud is the enabler of true digital transformation, enabling businesses to transform their existing business models into digital business models, thereby improving operational efficiency, empowering employees, enabling richer customer engagements, and transforming and innovative products and services.
“Moreover, the IT sector in South Africa is expected to grow at a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.25% to reach R175 billion by 2022. This growth is fuelled by public cloud growth – the cloud market is expected to reach R11.53 billion by 2022, representing a CAGR of a whopping 21.9%. This could potentially lead to 119k nett new job opportunities,” said Fenwick.
Responding on whether Microsoft has plans for an expansion of data centres in Africa, Fenwick says there are no plans as of yet to announce additional data centre locations on the continent, but the company will continue to respond to growing customer demand.
“When choosing data centre sites, we consider more than 35 weighted criteria, including proximity to population centres, an ample and reliable power source and fibre optic networks, a large pool of skilled labour, and affordable energy rates to determine the long-term viability of each site,” she concluded.