Microsoft Brings the Cloud to Africa
About Microsoft Azure
Established in 2008, Microsoft Azure now provides fast and reliable cloud software services in 140 countries. Azure’s complete offering includes Azure cloud storage for secure data storage and powerful infrastructure deployment, Office 365 for remote working and conferencing abilities, and Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM applications.
Together, Microsoft Azure’s cloud services package enables businesses and enterprises to run a more agile infrastructure with a leaner team, reducing the cost of IT services while increasing the speed of operations. A global presence across 40 regions offers high security and resilience, so customers can seamlessly maintain availability while keeping their data local.
Microsoft Heads into Africa
In May 2017, Microsoft announced their plans to deliver Microsoft Azure from two data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, with availability expected to begin in 2018. These connected regions of South Africa North and South Africa West will be the first data centers anywhere on the African continent and their impact is expected to be tremendous.
Until now, African enterprises have been forced to rely on remote cloud services in Europe or Asia. Microsoft’s data center will finally bring enterprise-grade reliability and resiliency to African businesses, along with data residency and greater ease of local compliance. To date, neither AWS nor GCP has announced similar intentions to bring cloud computing to this area of the globe.
Bringing Cloud Benefits to the Continent
Africa is rapidly catching up to many parts of the world in terms of start-ups and hi-tech development. Africa is home to hundreds of thousands of businesses, from tiny grassroots enterprises to life-saving non-profits to international corporations.
With Azure’s entry to the continent, African enterprises will no longer have to choose between storing their data on distant servers or paying high costs for private hosting. The financial and public sectors will particularly benefit from the greater ease of compliance with industry regulations and best-practice guidelines. Local start-ups that need to keep data in-country can lower their running costs while gaining the advantages of high-speed applications and infrastructure. The new cloud regions bring disaster recovery, uninterrupted cloud access, and higher security to businesses from Cairo to Cape Town.
“By establishing hyperscale cloud datacenter capacity in South Africa, Microsoft is directly addressing customers’ concerns, and demonstrating commitment to the delivery of cloud services within the country and the region as a whole.”
African entrepreneurship is not limited to the major urban centers; residents in remote areas rely on the internet for education, access to markets, and enterprise support, which directly impact their ability to thrive. At the same time, NGOs will benefit from local cloud provision. Better internet accessibility, greater resiliency, and more powerful computing resources will empower their efforts to solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges.
The Advantages of Entering a Young Market
As the first cloud services provider to expand into Africa, Microsoft is extremely well placed to take advantage of the green field opportunity to capitalize on a new cloud market. The nearest regions lie in France to the north and Bahrain to the east. While other cloud regions are approaching saturation, Africa is empty of cloud providers yet rich in enterprises that hope to scale.
Microsoft’s introduction of Azure follows many years of investment in Africa’s IT infrastructure and support and mentorship for local small- to medium-sized businesses. Microsoft can continue to forge connections with enterprises that are new to the cloud but eager to make the most of it.
As a significant partner to Azure Resellers and CSP providers, CloudCheckr is prepared to provide support to enterprises signing up to the new Africa-based cloud. CloudCheckr enables Azure CSP providers to automate invoicing and governance, gain greater clarity into their customers’ infrastructure needs, and scale up their businesses. When the Azure data centers go live, CloudCheckr’s app will be there to bring African enterprises all the tools already enjoyed by the rest of the world to manage, secure, and automate their Azure cloud activities.
Learn more about CloudCheckr’s support for Microsoft Azure.