Amazon Web Services, the cloud division of Amazon.com, plans to construct data centres in South Africa, following the launch of its AWS Direct Connect service in Johannesburg and Cape Town this week.
According to a local newspaper Sunday Times, the Direct Connect service will enable local companies to establish a dedicated network connection to Amazon Web Services for the first time.
The company’s vice president and global head of infrastructure, Peter Desantis is quoted as saying that Having AWS Direct Connect in the country allows customers based in South Africa to have dedicated, reliable and high-bandwidth connectivity to the Amazon Global Network, bypassing the public Internet.
Cloud computing technology allows for storing and accessing of data and software over the internet rather than a particular computer hard drive, with applications for Africans spanning across entrepreneurship, education, government and various other fields.
“Across South Africa, we need to do quite a lot of work to get that infrastructure in place. But we’re excited because we think there’s a lot of business and growth in South Africa and it’s a matter of how quickly we can figure it out,” he said.
The move comes even as Amazon competitor Microsoft announced in May that it planned to deliver intelligent Microsoft Cloud, for the first time, from data centres located in Africa.
The technology firm said that the move is part of its mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, and a recognition of the enormous opportunity for digital transformation in Africa.
Microsoft plans to deliver cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, directly from data centres located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa with initial availability anticipated in 2018.
“By delivering the Microsoft Cloud from within Africa, cloud services ranging from intelligent collaboration to predictive analytics will spur entrepreneurship and innovation, fuel growth for businesses of all sizes, and enable government organisations to better serve the needs of their citizens,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft Corp.
Construction of data centres in South Africa has increased in recent years with Teraco currently constructing the biggest data centre in the country.