Oracle takes step towards Joburg data centre construction

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 11 Oct 2021

Global software giant Oracle has identified Johannesburg as its first data centre location in Africa, as it aggressively expands its cloud region footprint amid increasing demand for its cloud services across the globe.

In 2019, Oracle announced plans to launch 20 new Oracle Cloud regions, including in SA, by the end of 2020, for a total of 36 Oracle Cloud Infrastructure regions, as part of its strategy to support customers around the world.

These data centres were set to be established in SA, US, Canada, Brazil, UK, European Union (Amsterdam), Japan, Australia, India, South Korea, Singapore, Israel, Chile, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), among other countries.

However, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the American multinational firm was forced to delay some of its data centre expansion plans to a later date.

As it now pushes ahead with its implementation plans, Oracle says its Johannesburg-based cloud region will be one of at least 44 cloud regions it is planning to build by the end of 2022, as it continues what it calls one of the “fastest expansions of any major cloud provider”.

Other upcoming cloud regions include Milan (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Marseille (France), Spain, Singapore, Jerusalem (Israel), Mexico and Colombia. Additional second regions will open in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Saudi Arabia, France, Israel and Chile.

The company currently has 30 cloud regions worldwide.

Sandhya Ramdhany, country leader for Oracle South Africa, told ITWeb the company is in discussion with partners and suppliers in preparation for the construction of the major data centre project.

The new facility is expected to see the cloud computing wars intensify, amid Africa’s cloud computing boom.

“Oracle has been present in SA for the past three decades, and our solutions and technology are at the heart of numerous transformations across the country’s public and private sectors. The South Africa cloud region is part of Oracle’s strategy to meet customers where they are, enabling organisations to keep data and services where they need it.

“Unlike any other cloud vendor, Oracle offers a complete range of software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service cloud services. With a new planned cloud region in Johannesburg, our goal is to offer proximity to our customers, help them meet data sovereignty requirements and help build true business continuity.”

Oracle provides a set of cloud services across commercial and government cloud regions in 14 countries on five continents to service its growing global customer base.

While Ramdhany declined to provide timelines on the data centre construction, she pointed out that Oracle’s dual-region strategy and next-generation cloud architecture would unlock opportunities to provide the building blocks for companies across all sectors, to pioneer ground-breaking innovations and disrupt entire industries.

“We are able to aggressively expand our cloud regions because our architecture lets us scale our regions both up and down, and to operate and deploy software across hundreds of regions instead of just a few.”

Sandhya Ramdhany, country leader for Oracle South Africa.
Sandhya Ramdhany, country leader for Oracle South Africa.

The growth in Africa’s cloud sector is leading to more international players choosing to invest in the market.

As data demand and cloud adoption continue to cause a dramatic surge in traffic, data centres are becoming increasingly important on the continent, with more companies migrating components of their IT infrastructure into the cloud.

In March 2019, US-based software giant Microsoft opened two data centre regions in SA, becoming the first global provider to deliver cloud services from data centres on the African continent.

In the same month, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei also started offering its cloud services in SA. The company is leasing a data centre in Johannesburg from a partner, from where it is deploying localised public cloud services based on local industry policies, customer requirements and partner conditions.

In April 2020, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the opening of the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region, which the cloud giant said has three Availability Zones, which are located in separate and distinct geographic locations.

Last September, Dimension Data announced it was preparing to launch a new data centre region in Johannesburg – the Johannesburg 1 Data Centre project, valued at R875 million.

Meanwhile, vendor-neutral data centre and interconnection services provider Teraco Data Environments has invested R4 billion over the two phases of construction of a new Ekurhuleni-based hyperscale data centre (JB4).

ICT industry pundits previously told ITWeb that the local data centre and cloud market is in a growth phase that will not only jolt SA into a new digital era, but will also contribute significantly to SA’s economic growth.

The combined impact of SA’s data centre market, which is experiencing a remarkable growth spurt, is projected to significantly contribute to the creation of over 100 000 jobs over the next few years.