Microsoft officially becomes first major cloud provider in Africa

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Say goodbye to those annoying internet lag times, South Africa. Microsoft has officially become the first major cloud service provider to open data centers in Africa. The company announced on Wednesday that two of its Azure cloud data centers have gone live in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. “The launch of these regions marks a major milestone for Microsoft as we open our first enterprise-grade datacenters in Africa, becoming the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacenters on the continent,” wrote Microsoft Azure VP Tom Keane in the statement. The Redmond, Washington based company beat out fellow tech giants, like Amazon, which are also racing to open cloud data centers on the continent. The ecommerge giant previously announced it would have its AWS data centers running in South Africa by 2020. In an interesting turn of events, Chinese smartphone giant Huawei announced its own cloud service had launched in South Africa just prior to Microsoft’s own an..

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Say goodbye to those annoying internet lag times, South Africa.

Microsoft has officially become the first major cloud service provider to open data centers in Africa. The company announced on Wednesday that two of its Azure cloud data centers have gone live in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa.

“The launch of these regions marks a major milestone for Microsoft as we open our first enterprise-grade datacenters in Africa, becoming the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacenters on the continent,” wrote Microsoft Azure VP Tom Keane in the statement.

The Redmond, Washington based company beat out fellow tech giants, like Amazon, which are also racing to open cloud data centers on the continent. The ecommerge giant previously announced it would have its AWS data centers running in South Africa by 2020.

In an interesting turn of events, Chinese smartphone giant Huawei announced its own cloud service had launched in South Africa just prior to Microsoft’s own announcement. The company had previously shared its intention to build data centers in the country just last month. However, in Huawei’s case, the company is just leasing a cloud data center in South Africa with a localized cloud data company.

Microsoft hopes that the opening of its Azure data centers will help bring new economic opportunities to the region.

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Data center location can make a difference when it comes to loading times of web services and applications as data can only travel so fast. While locale has become less important over the years thanks to increasing speeds of internet service, it is still a crucial factor for many reasons. Even a few milliseconds of latency can be critical in the financial industry, for example. If a user needs to migrate large amounts of data, the location of a data center can also make a noticable difference.

Another major factor is that companies must follow the laws in which its data is located. With various data protection laws in countries like the U.S. and throughout Europe, South Africans who wanted their own country to govern their company’s data previously had no service options with major providers.

As Engadget points out, gamers in South Africa have long complained about ping times and lag from having to resort to using servers in other countries. With video games being a near $135 billion industry, the Azure cloud centers can help bring new opportunities to South African gamers and developers alike.

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