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Oracle’s Johannesburg data centre goes live

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A view of Oracle's data centre facility.
A view of Oracle's data centre facility.

US-based enterprise software giant Oracle has officially opened its Johannesburg-based data centre, its first cloud region on the African continent.

According to the company, the Oracle Cloud Johannesburg Region will allow organisations looking to build high-performing, secure applications, meet data sovereignty requirements, and devise robust disaster recovery plans, to meet the rapidly-growing demand for enterprise cloud services across the continent.

In September 2019, Oracle first announced plans to aggressively expand its cloud region footprint by building new cloud regions in South Africa, US, Canada, Brazil, UK, European Union (Amsterdam), Japan, Australia, India, South Korea, Singapore, Israel, Chile, two in Saudi Arabia and two in the United Arab Emirates.

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.

As it opens the data centre today, Oracle says the Johannesburg-based cloud region marks its 37th cloud region worldwide, with plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the “fastest expansions of any major cloud provider”.

Cherian Varghese, regional MD of Middle East and Africa at Oracle, told ITWeb the company has observed an urgency in Africa to drive transformation and business agility, cost reduction and data security. As such, its strategy is premised on providing a hybrid model to meet organisations’ specific requirements, enabling them to keep data and services where they need it.

Cherian Varghese, regional MD of Middle East and Africa at Oracle.
Cherian Varghese, regional MD of Middle East and Africa at Oracle.

“At Oracle, public cloud isn’t the only cloud option we offer our customers in Africa. We address the distinct business and IT requirements of each customer by giving them unparalleled choice. Unlike other cloud vendors, Oracle offers a complete range of services in all three primary layers of the cloud: software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).”

Varghese declined to disclose the exact data centre location and size capacity of the new facility.

He added the company is looking to ink partnership deals on the continent after recently signing a collaboration agreement with telecoms firm Orange to accelerate cloud-led digital transformation for West African firms.

“Under this agreement, we will jointly assess plans to build Oracle Cloud regions using Orange’s infrastructure in Senegal and Ivory Coast. Our common objective is to ensure all customer data is hosted locally, providing customers with cloud services that meet their data latency and performance requirements.”

Data centre gold rush

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

IDC estimates public cloud services adoption in Sub-Saharan Africa will accelerate at a compound annual growth rate of 25% year-on-year between 2020 and 2025, with this momentum expected to continue.

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 computing 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 April 2020,Oracle rival Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the opening of the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region, which the cloud giant said has three availability zones, located in separate and distinct geographic locations.

Since then, other players have opened new data centres locally, including Dimension Data and Teraco Data Environments.

While Oracle controls nearly half of the global database market, its cloud platform is small compared to AWS and Azure. Amazon is the largest cloud provider globally, closely followed by Microsoft’s Azure, with Google Cloud trailing behind, says Statista.

Responding to ITWeb’s questions about the key differentiators of Oracle’s data centre service offerings in an increasingly competitive market, Varghese explains Oracle’s cloud region is specifically architected to meet the needs of large enterprises.

“Customers choose Oracle Cloud Infrastructure over AWS for several reasons, namely: they can consume cloud services in the public cloud or within their own data centre with Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer, which provides all public cloud capabilities, from IaaS to PaaS and SaaS.

“They can migrate and run any workload as is on Oracle Cloud, including Oracle databases and applications, VMware, or bare metal servers. And clients’ workloads achieve better performance at a significantly lower cost with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure than AWS,” concludes Varghese.

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