The benefits of Microsoft’s new data centres in South Africa

Microsoft South Africa announced today that it has launched enterprise-grade data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The data centres will allows customers to access the company’s Azure cloud services, with more offerings coming later this year.

At an event led by MD of Microsoft South Africa Lillian Barnard and Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president of Azure Networking at Microsoft, the company said its data centres in South Africa put the country among key global regions.

“These are the first hyperscale data centres on the continent,” said Khalidi, adding that this launch is only “the tip of the iceberg” for the country.

The launch comes after Microsoft announced in 2017 that it would open data centres for its Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 services locally.

These data centres were expected to be installed in Johannesburg and Cape Town in 2018, but Microsoft failed to complete the project on time.

The details

Speaking to MyBroadband, Khalidi said Microsoft does not disclose how much it spends on its data centres, but that the investment is part of a multi-million dollar play in the country.

When asked about where Microsoft’s data centres are located, and whether they had partnered with providers like Teraco or Internet Solutions, Khalidi said this information is confidential due to security and privacy standards which must be maintained.

The quality of the service, however, is guaranteed – with the SLA it gives clients Microsoft’s responsibility.

“We may have to lease a component or buy a component, but the end result and the level of quality is what we manage,” said Khalidi.

In terms of Microsoft’s cloud services, Khalidi said a wide range of Azure products are available from today.

Office 365 and Dynamics 365 services are then set to launch in Q3 and Q4 of 2019 respectively.


One of the benefits of Microsoft’s local data centres is that latency for users is massively improved.

“To get to Europe from here is 150ms on a good day, assuming you do not have congestion. Locally, it will depend on which ISP you use, but it is in the tens,” said Khalidi.

This is thanks, in part, to extensive peering agreements Microsoft has with local partners. “We probably have the highest number of anyone,” he said.

Barnard added that the cloud services Microsoft will deliver are secure and resilient – and will meet all local compliance standards.

“This footprint will not only service this country, but Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and Angola. We are the first hyperscale cloud provider available right now on the continent,” said Barnard.

Lillian Barnard
Yousef Khalidi

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The benefits of Microsoft’s new data centres in South Africa