Microsoft’s local Azure datacentre launch is experiencing some technical difficulties

You may or may not remember that Microsoft promised to launch two Azure datacentres in South Africa – one in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town, obviously – in 2018. If you don’t remember – Microsoft promised to launch two Azure datacentres in South Africa in 2018.

But it’s 2019, and no Azure datacentres, uglycry.gif.

It didn’t happen, and Jon Tullett, research manager for IT services at the International Date Corp has a theory about that. But first, a recap – Microsoft announced its intention to build Africa’s first Azure datacentres in South Africa back in May 2017. At the time, corporate vice president for Azure and Security Julia White said the centres would provide “enterprise-grade reliability and performance and local data residency, which is very important for African companies”. Indeed, very important. So, what’s going on?

Speaking to TechCentral, Tullet explains that “if the performance of the local operation is sub-par, or if the right mix of platform components is not available – and this is a very common complaint across Amazon Web Services and Azure customers, by the way — or any part of the stack experiences significant outages, then it could tarnish Azure’s reputation among local customers at a time when it is particularly sensitive to be seen as rock-steady and competitive.”

Reputation damage is a real worry for any company looking to enter a new market space. This is especially so for Microsoft, whose premature announcement in 2017 was met by Amazon in October 2018, which announced its own plans to expand its footprint in Africa by opening two datacentres (both in Cape Town, so it’s not like they plagiarised Microsoft’s plans) in 2020.

So now we wait to see whether Microsoft will meet their new deadline of the first quarter of 2019.

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