Google picks South Africa for its first cloud region in Africa • TechCrunch

Tech giant Google today announced the launch of the cloud region in South Africa, the continent’s first, catching up with other leading providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft. Azure, has been infiltrating the continent for several years. formerly.

Google says it is also building dedicated Cloud Connect sites, linking users’ on-premises networks to Google’s network, in Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria) and South Africa (Capetown and Johannesburg). , to provide fully extended cloud capabilities to its customers and partners in Africa.

Google plans to exploit its own underground cable, Equiano, connecting Africa and Europe to power the site. Equiano has been in development since 2019 and has made four landings so far – in Togo, Namibia, Nigeria and South Africa.

South Africa now joins Google’s global network of 35 cloud regions and 106 regions worldwide, and the announcement follows a recent preview launch of regions in Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand. Google Cloud regions allow users to deploy cloud resources from specific geographic locations and access a number of services including cloud storage, compute engines, and key management systems.

“We are excited to announce the first Google Cloud region in Africa. The new region will allow localization of apps and services. It will make it really easier for our customers and partners to quickly deploy solutions for their businesses, so they can leverage our computer artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities. and analyze data to make smarter business decisions as they go. Director of Google Cloud Africa, Niral Patel.

He added that the new region and connected sites will bring its cloud computing services closer to customers, allowing customers to choose where to consume products.

“What we are doing here is giving customers and partners the choice of where they want to store their data and where they want to use cloud services, especially in the context of a host of problems. data rights. This allows customers to then store data domestically if they choose to do so… I guess for me the most important factor is that it gives the customer an element of choice,” said Patel.

The ability for users to choose where their data is stored is becoming increasingly important as countries like Kenya implements privacy and data lawsrequires companies to store their data within borders and process it through locally hosted servers.

The decision to establish a region in South Africa was informed by the need for cloud services and the potential of the market. However, the company is looking to hit more markets within the continent as demand for its products soars. Its early adopters include large enterprise companies and e-commerce companies such as South Africa’s TakeAlot and Kenya’s Twiga.

“We continue to assess market needs as we work with our customers to see them transform and grow in these markets. We are constantly making these assessments, and on that basis, we continue to invest,” said Patel.

According to research by AlphaBeta Economics, commissioned by Google Cloud, the South African cloud sector will contribute more than $2.1 billion to South Africa’s GDP and support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.

Google Cloud, Microsoft’s Azure, and AWS are the three largest public cloud storage companies in the world, according to data from Gartnerbut it’s not clear why, so far, Google has remained absent from Africa.

Follow this report; however, it has not ruled it out in the near future.

Amazon followed suit in 2020, expanding its AWS data centers to South Africa through Cape Town. Oracle, another big company, also set up its data center in Johannesburg this year. In response to whether Google is catching up with other cloud storage companies, Patel and Nitin Gajria, chief executive officer of Google Africa, painted a picture in which every major player matters. more interested in expanding the internet ecosystem in Africa through their data centers than vying for a more substantial market share.

“In terms of our place on the continent with the internet, the work to do is to think about how we bring more people and businesses online, how do we help more entrepreneurs access capital , etc”, commented Gajria. “In business terms, this is not a zero-sum game in terms of market share, but how we work collectively in the private sector, the public sector, civil society, to just build building a vibrant, extensive internet ecosystem that helps expand economies and businesses, as well as create jobs. “

With the launch of Google, South Africa now has four major cloud storage providers on the continent.


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