Microsoft is preparing to launch two Azure data centres in South Africa, which will go live later this year.
The local data centres will offer numerous services and provide a scalable platform for customers, while retaining security.
In a speech at the Microsoft Tech Summit in Cape Town, Azure marketing general manager Victoria Grady said businesses and potential customers should start preparing for the launch of the services in South Africa.
The Azure platform provides many benefits over traditional on-premise solutions, including cheaper setup costs, built-in security, and less resources devoted to data management, said Grady.
Microsoft Azure is a powerful platform with a range of services and data centres across the world.
Grady said Azure has twice the number of hyperscale data centres as all of its competitors combined, and it offers over 100 services – ranging from machine learning to data analytics.
She added that cloud migration can cost 70% less with Azure compared to competing services, based on the case of a large enterprise customer which Microsoft recently migrated to Azure.
Migrating businesses to the cloud and lowering operational costs or improving efficiency is not the only aim of the Azure platform – it also aims to deliver large amounts of compute power to customers, allowing them to implement new computationally-intensive solutions.
With the launch of the data centres in South Africa, businesses and customers will be exposed to powerful and accessible tools which can be accessed with minimal latency, said Grady.
Local Azure servers will enable the creation and implementation of powerful applications, which were previously limited by high latency to international servers.
It will also allow local businesses to migrate their servers to the cloud, lowering their IT costs and creating access to powerful data analytics solutions and AI-powered applications.
Smaller businesses will also be able to take advantage of the local Azure servers and can roll out scalable products and services quickly.
Azure servers will also enable improved experiences for customers, as international services which use the platform can deploy servers to a country instead of installing their own.
This could potentially affect products across multiple industries, from AI-powered analytics to video games.
Prior to the launch of Azure servers in South Africa, local businesses are already beginning to leverage the platform’s tools to deliver new products.
An example of a live implementation of Azure tools is the solution built by the Peace Parks Foundation, a conservation organisation which fights rhino poaching in South Africa.
The organisation implemented smart park technology in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park to prevent the loss of rhino.
This technology involves analysing data generated by remote cameras placed around the park to detect poachers.
Peace Parks filters the data using an implementation of Azure AI-powered image processing, which can process thousands of images to determine whether poachers are present.
Within three months, over 25,000 images were received by in-field cameras. These were filtered down to 1,300 relevant images using Azure’s AI-powered scanning capabilities.
The solution was implemented by a small team and is indicative of the projects which can be built on cloud platforms in South Africa.