Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the opening of AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region, effectively extending its datacentre footprint of 73 Availability Zones within 23 geographic regions globally.
The launch in South Africa has been on the cards for some time with the company having announced its intention to launch a Region for Africa back in October 2018.
According to a statement released by the company today, the newly established AWS Africa Region will enable customers to run their applications and serve end-users in Africa “with even lower latency and leverage advanced AWS technologies to drive innovation.”
The company says AWS Regions are composed of Availability Zones, which each comprise of one or more datacentres and are located in separate and distinct geographic locations “with enough distance to significantly reduce the risk of a single event impacting business continuity, yet near enough to provide low latency for high availability applications.”
The company explains that each Availability Zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security and is connected via redundant, ultra-low-latency networking.
“AWS customers focused on high availability can design their applications to run in multiple Availability Zones to achieve even greater fault-tolerance. Like all AWS infrastructure regions around the world, the Availability Zones in the Cape Town Region are equipped with back-up power to ensure continuous and reliable power availability to maintain operations during electrical failures and load shedding in the country,” AWS adds.
AWS says the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region adds to Amazon’s ongoing investment in South Africa.
Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of Global Infrastructure and Customer Support, Amazon Web Services, said, “The cloud is positively transforming lives and businesses across Africa and we are honoured to be a part of that transformation. We have a long history in South Africa and have been working to support the growth of the local technology community for over 15 years. In that time, builders, developers, entrepreneurs, and organisations have asked us to bring an AWS Region to Africa and today we are answering these requests by opening the Cape Town Region. We look forward to seeing the creativity and innovation that will result from African organisations building in the cloud.”
Werner Vogels, CTO and VP of Amazon, said an AWS Region in Africa will enable businesses and government organisations, including those focused on fighting the effects of COVID-19, to build cloud applications and store their data locally, while reaching end users across Africa with even lower latency.
“At this time, we have a number of customers in Africa who are doing courageous things, at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight. They are helping to provide life-saving information and resources, modelling data and delivering analytics to governments, ensuring millions of students continue to get the education they deserve, and connecting citizens with healthcare providers – demonstrating first-hand the power of cloud computing.”
Arthur Goldstuck, MD at World Wide Worx, said the two world leaders in cloud infrastructure now have a presence in South Africa.
“It enhances both choice of providers and reliability of services. The more major players participate in the datacentre economy, the more solid that economy becomes, and the more alacrity we will see from the providers of these services in rolling out their standard global offerings to the local market. It will also lead to more computing and communications activity, which will result in more economic activity. It has come at a very good time,” said Goldstuck.
Africa Analysis analyst Derrick Chikanga said the launch is a key milestone in the advancement of cloud and datacentre services in SA.
“AWS remains the market leader in the global cloud market and has long established its presence in SA, through Amazon, since 2004. As such the company has a good idea of the local operating environment and is well positioned to capitalise on the increased uptake of cloud services in SA. AWS recently achieved a B-BBEE level one status which gives it the same compliance status as some of its competitors such as BCX, IBM and T-Systems.”
He added: “In 2019, AWS won key contracts with Nedbank, Old Mutual and Standard Bank. This was achieved before the establishment of local data centres. Previously AWS was restricted in migrating some of its client workloads due to data residency regulations. However, the establishment of local datacentres will remove this huddle. This development, and the anticipated establishment of local datacentres by Opera and Oracle, will surely intensify the competitive environment in the local cloud market. However, this could also lead to cheaper pricing options to the benefit of the customers.”
AWS says the latest development reflects its continued ongoing investment in Africa.
It first established a presence in Cape Town, setting up a Development Centre in 2004, “to build pioneering technologies focused on networking, next-generation software for customer support, the technology behind Amazon EC2, and much more.”
In 2015, it opened an AWS office in Johannesburg to help customers move to the cloud.
In 2017, the Amazon Global Network expanded to Africa through AWS Direct Connect, and in 2018, Amazon established its first infrastructure on the African continent, launching Amazon CloudFront locations in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, followed in 2020 by an edge location in Nairobi, Kenya.