by Brian Timperley, MD and co-founder of Turrito and MD of Dial-a-Nerd
This year, the Microsoft Cloud will be introduced to South Africa in the form of two new data centres to be built in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
According to the U.S. based software giant, the first Cloud technologies to be made available to local businesses and consumers through the local data centres will be Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365.
This is a significant move for local businesses, particularly given the fact that none of the top-tier Cloud providers has had a data centre footprint in Africa.
Faster Speeds, Seamless Access
Up until now, Microsoft has delivered exceptional services to local businesses from all around the world – excepting from SA. This has meant that access speeds were never quite as good as locally provided services. In addition, SA businesses had to contend with tricky data sovereignty issues.
Notably, it also meant that if you had a large amount of data stored abroad with Microsoft and needed it locally you would have to download it. You couldn’t simply ask the company to copy it onto a hard drive and drop it off at your offices!
Wider Array of Services
Apart from the obvious increase in speed, local businesses stand to benefit in other ways. Firstly, some financial institutions (and Government) are required to keep their data in the country, so they could never use a Microsoft hosted service.
However, when the data centre is located here, they can suddenly benefit from the mail and licensing solutions attached to Office 365. Furthermore, there are certain services such as Skype for Business PABX, which have never been released in SA. These will now become available with the new centre. Indeed, you could soon use Microsoft as your telephony partner and Skype for Business as your PABX!
When the new Microsoft data centres come online, there will probably be a rush of companies wanting to benefit from the new services. With this in mind, local companies should make the move as fast as possible. Fortunately, the migration of data from the international data centre to the new one will be seamless and performed by Microsoft free of charge.
At a time when local businesses are under severe economic pressure, the introduction of the new data centres will arguably be an important boost – and a way for companies to become more competitive on a global scale.