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Public Cloud makes it to Africa for the first time

Microsoft plants a flag before Google, AWS and IBM

By Simon Sharwood, 22 May 2017

Microsoft has announced that it will offer Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 from data centres in the South African cities Cape Town and Johannesburg next year.

We won't go to deep into Microsoft's typically ShinyHappy™ announcement, because more interesting than its thrust that Redmond is about to, yet again, Make The World A Better Place is the fact that Azure looks like it will be the first of the major clouds to make it into Africa.

A glance at the world maps of AWS, IBM Bluemix and Google Cloud shows that none of them have a bit barn in Africa, nor have immediate plans to get there. All three do have facilities in India, perhaps an eloquent statement about just where the they think there's money to be made at this time.

For what it's worth, Cape Town looks a pretty good place for a data centre: Telegeography's submarine cable map tells us that three submarine cables connected to Europe land nearby and head up Africa's west coast. To the east, the SAFE cable crosses the Indian Ocean and lands in Malaysia. SAFE also connects South Africa to numerous cables that head to Europe through the Red Sea.

The Register imagines the other big clouds will make it to Africa eventually. When they do, they may find Huawei waiting: the company is doing plenty of business in Africa and wants to build a global network of data centres running its FusionSphere cut of OpenStack.

Microsoft's move means Antarctica is now the only continent without a public cloud. The Register reckons we could see one in space before we see one on the frozen continent. ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing