Companies like Microsoft and Amazon have been skittish about launching data centres or nodes for cloud networks in South Africa, as they are uncertain about the continent.
“If you’re sitting in Redmond or Atlanta, Africa is really scary,” said Liquid Telecom CEO Kyle Whitehill.
There are over 50 diverse countries in Africa, and for a multinational that is a scary prospect to navigate, said Whitehill.
The companies would rather target a country like India, where there is a homogeneous market of over a billion people.
Whitehill said Liquid Telecom has partnered with a large international software company to get relevant organisations to trust Africa.
Once they do, they can then use South Africa as a springboard to the rest of the continent.
Earlier this year, Microsoft said it will deliver cloud services from data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town from 2018.
Services offered will include Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365.
Microsoft did not state who it will partner with for the local data centres, but industry sources said two data centre players will be involved.
Neither Teraco nor Liquid Telecom have been able to comment on whether their facilities will be used to host Microsoft’s services.
However, Liquid Telecom recently announced a partnership with Microsoft through its Cloud Solution Provider programme.
As a partner, Liquid Telecom will serve African businesses with Microsoft’s suite of cloud products. Teraco and Liquid Telecom are also both running significant infrastructure projects.
Liquid Telecom operates data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town, which are in the process being upgraded. Teraco is upgrading its existing facilities, and building a new data centre in Bredell.
Teraco’s new data centre is set to be the biggest in Africa.