Microsoft has missed its deadline for launching an Azure region in South Africa after announcing in May 2017 that it was building two data centres in the country – one in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town.
South Africa is not the only country where Azure is expanding to. However, it is the only region were Microsoft has not met its internal project timelines.
Microsoft has announced new Azure regions in the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, and Norway. It also has two new Azure regions in development in Germany, which will join the two already launched in the country.
All of these were announced in 2018 and are set to launch in 2019.
Microsoft also launched several Azure regions in 2018, including in China, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
Like South Africa, the Azure data centres for Australia were announced in 2017. Unlike South Africa, Australia already had data centres on the continent prior to the announcement.
Regardless, South Africa is an outlier when it comes to Microsoft’s announcement and delivery of Azure cloud infrastructure.
“There have not been changes to announced timelines in other geographies,” Microsoft confirmed to MyBroadband.
Queried about whether there was something unique about the South African build that resulted in the deadline slipping, Microsoft did not provide details.
“We’re building an unprecedented level of infrastructure to support our new enterprise-grade cloud data centers in South Africa,” Microsoft said.
“We’re focused on building the right solutions for our customers and are working towards availability of our new enterprise-grade cloud data centers in South Africa in 2019.”
The delay in launching the data centres has allowed Huawei to beat Microsoft to the punch. Huawei confirmed its intentions to launch a South African data centre in October, and by November it said it was ready to launch by the end of 2018.
Huawei said it also plans to unveil more regions in Africa.
Azure in South Africa
Despite the data centre delay, many Azure services are already available and are seeing adoption in South Africa.
For example, MultiChoice used Azure to pilot the live streaming of sporting events in UHD. It streamed the last four matches of the FIFA World Cup over DStv Now in UHD at 50 frames per second.
Teraco also launched Azure ExpressRoute services in the middle of 2018, while Liquid Telecom extended the availability of Microsoft Azure across its network footprint in Africa.
The rollout of a data centre from one of the top global cloud providers in South Africa will be seen as a major milestone, and will only add to these services.
Although disappointing that it didn’t launch on time, it is still encouraging that Microsoft’s Azure data centre builds for South Africa are proceeding.