AWS to open data centres in SA

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Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy.
Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) today announced it will bring its data centres to South Africa, opening an infrastructure region in SA in the first half of 2020. The new AWS Africa (Cape Town) region will consist of three availability zones.

"Having built the original version of Amazon EC2 in our Cape Town development centre 14 years ago, and with thousands of African companies using AWS for years, we've been able to witness first-hand the technical talent and potential in Africa," says Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services.

"Technology has the opportunity to transform lives and economies across Africa and we're excited about AWS and the cloud being a meaningful part of that transformation," he adds.

AWS currently provides 55 availability zones across 19 infrastructure regions worldwide, with another 12 availability zones across four AWS regions in Bahrain, Hong Kong SAR, Sweden, and a second GovCloud region in the US expected to come online in the coming months.

The new Cape Town region is the latest in a series of AWS investments in South Africa. In 2004, Amazon opened a development centre in Cape Town that focuses on building pioneering networking technologies, next-generation software for customer support, and the technology behind Amazon EC2.

AWS has also built a number of local teams, including account managers, customer services representatives, partner managers and solutions architects to help customers of all sizes as they move to the cloud.

In 2015, AWS opened an office in Johannesburg, and in 2017 brought the Amazon Global Network to Africa through AWS Direct Connect. In May 2018, AWS continued its investment in South Africa, launching infrastructure points-of-presence in Cape Town and Johannesburg, bringing Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, AWS Shield and AWS WAF to the continent, and adding to the 138 points of presence AWS has around the world.

The news of AWS's data centres comes after Microsoft in May 2017 announced it would bring two data centres to SA, one in Cape Town and the other in Johannesburg. Many African companies currently rely on cloud services delivered from outside the continent.

AWS says the new region will enable organisations to provide lower latency to end-users across Sub-Saharan Africa and will enable more African organisations to leverage advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of things and mobile services to drive innovation.

Local AWS customers will also be able to store their data in South Africa with the assurance their content will not move without consent, while those looking to comply with the upcoming Protection of Personal Information Act will have access to secure infrastructure that meets the most rigorous international compliance standards, says the company.

It notes that local organisations have been increasingly moving their applications to AWS, with some of its biggest clients including Absa, Investec, MiX Telematics, Old Mutual, Pick n Pay, Standard Bank, Travelstart, and a number of local start-ups.

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