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By 25 October 2018 | Categories: news

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There’s some good news for investment in South Africa as cloud services giant, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has officially confirmed its plans to open up its own data centres locally.

This follows Microsoft’s announcement earlier this year that the company would be opening two data centres in South Africa, one in Johannesburg and another in Cape Town. Most recently, at the Connect 2018 event in Shanghai, China, Huawei also confirmed that it too will be bringing data centres to our shores, with more details to be expected next month at Africacom.

As for Amazon, its data centres are slated to go live during the first half of 2020. The company elaborated that the new AWS Africa (Cape Town) region will consist of three availability zones, which will add to the already existing 55 Availability Zones across 19 infrastructure regions worldwide.

Why now?

As to the why South Africa and why now question, Andy Jassy, CEO, Amazon Web Services explained:“Having built the original version of Amazon EC2 in our Cape Town development centre 14 years ago, and with thousands of African companies using AWS for years, we’ve been able to witness first-hand the technical talent and potential in Africa. Technology has the opportunity to transform lives and economies across Africa and we’re excited about AWS and the Cloud being a meaningful part of that transformation.”

The company noted that the addition of the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region will enable organisations to provide lower latency to end users across Sub-Saharan Africa and more African organisations to leverage advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile services to drive innovation.

Data protection a priority

As well, AWS notes local customers will be able to store their data in South Africa with the assurance that their content will not move without consent, while those looking to comply with the upcoming Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) will have access to secure infrastructure that meets the most rigorous international compliance standards.

Even as the investment from AWS into South Africa is welcome, it’s not surprising. Rather it’s just the latest in a series of AWS investments. For example, in 2004, Amazon opened a development center in Cape Town that focuses on building pioneering networking technologies, next generation software for customer support, and the technology behind Amazon EC2.

The company also notes it has built a number of local teams including account managers, customer services representatives, partner managers, solutions architects, and more to help customers of all sizes as they move to the cloud. In 2015, AWS opened an office in Johannesburg, and in 2017 brought the Amazon Global Network to Africa through AWS Direct Connect. In May of 2018, AWS continued its investment in South Africa, launching infrastructure points of presence in Cape Town and Johannesburg, bringing Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, AWS Shield, and AWS WAF to the continent and adding to the 138 points of presence AWS has around the world.

What does all this mean to South Africans and the economy? Well, you can file it under really good news. For starters, it means that major players like Microsoft, Huawei and AWS are all affirming the country as a battleground for cloud adoption. As well, more choice and more competition invariably means the costs of choosing and staying with a cloud provider will go down. Finally, hopefully the rating agencies are taking note and will reconsider their downgrading of South Africa’s rating in the near term.

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