BusinessDay

Google unveils first African cloud region in South Africa

Tech giant Google has announced the launch of a cloud region in South Africa, its first on the continent.

Google Cloud regions allow users to deploy cloud resources from specific geographic locations, and access several services including cloud storage, compute engine, and key management system.

“We are excited to announce the first Google Cloud region in Africa. The new region will allow for the localization of applications and services. It will make it really easier for our customers and partners to quickly deploy solutions for their businesses, whereby they’re able to leverage our computer artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities, and data analytics to make smarter business decisions as they go forward,” said Niral Patel, Google Cloud Africa director.

He added that the new region and interconnect sites will take its cloud computing services closer to its clients, allowing its customers to choose where to consume the products from.

Google noted that it is building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites, which link users’ on-premises networks with Google’s grid, in Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria), and South Africa (Capetown and Johannesburg), in its quest to provide full-scale cloud capabilities for its customers and partners in Africa.

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The company disclosed that it plans to tap its private subsea cable, Equiano, which connects Africa and Europe to power the sites. Equiano has been under development since 2019 and has so far made four landings — in Togo, Namibia, Nigeria, and South Africa.

South Africa now joins Google’s global network of 35 cloud regions and 106 zones worldwide, and the announcement follows the recent preview launch of regions in Malaysia, Thailand, and New Zealand.

The decision to set up a region in South Africa was informed by the demand for cloud services and the market’s potential. Still, the company is looking to launch in more markets within the continent as demand for its products soars. Its early adopters include large enterprise companies and e-commerce firms like South Africa’s TakeAlot and Kenya’s Twiga.

According to research by AlphaBeta Economics, commissioned by Google Cloud, the South African cloud region will contribute over $2.1 billion to South Africa’s GDP and support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.

Google Cloud, Azure by Microsoft, and AWS are the three biggest public cloud storage players in the world, according to data from Gartner, but it’s unclear why until now, Google has been absent in Africa.

However, with Google’s launch, South Africa now houses four major cloud storage providers on the continent.

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