Amazon to open new SA data centres, promising cheaper, safer services for corporate clients

Business Insider SA
  • Amazon will open additional data centres in South Africa at the start of 2020, it announced on Thursday.
  • The data centres will reduce latency and costs for local corporate clients.
  • They will also ensure that Amazon adheres to upcoming legislation to prevent personal info from being moved out of the country without consent. 

E-commerce giant Amazon will open additional data centres in South Africa the first half of 2020 to speed up cloud services for its local corporate clients and reduce costs, the multinational announced on Thursday.

This will add to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) data servers already built in South Africa, and will make Sub-Saharan Africa Amazon’s first infrastructure region in Africa.

The data centres will bring AWS in line with South Africa’s upcoming Protection of Personal Information Act, which will ensure that data is not moved out of the country without an individual's consent.

Andy Jassy, AWS CEO, said the new infrastructure region promises to reduce costs for corporate clients, improve security, and decrease downtime.

“Having built the original version of Amazon EC2 (the foundation of AWS) in our Cape Town development centre 14 years ago, and with thousands of African companies using AWS for years, we’ve been able to witness first-hand the technical talent and potential in Africa,” Jassy said in a statement.

“Technology has the opportunity to transform lives and economies across Africa and we’re excited about AWS and the Cloud being a meaningful part of that transformation.”

Pick n Pay, which employs over 80,000 staff across 1,560 stores, said it plans to move its eCommerce and data analytics systems to AWS.

“By moving our eCommerce and mobile customer application to AWS, from our previous managed services model, we estimate we have saved significantly on our total cost of ownership over the past year,” Chris Shortt, Pick n Pay’s general manager of information services, said.

Absa Bank’s Chief Information Officer Andy Baker said Amazon’s new infrastructure region will allow the bank to stop deploying hardware or other high-cost database solutions.

“Instead, our new tech stack utilizes low cost, fully automated, logically partitioned, open source software, with real-time security and application monitoring,” Baker said.

Amazon opened its first development centre in Cape Town in 2004 where it developed the early version of AWS.

In 2015, AWS opened an office in Johannesburg, and in 2017 brought the Amazon Global Network to Africa through AWS Direct Connect.

In May of 2018, AWS continued its investment in South Africa, launching infrastructure points of presence in Cape Town and Johannesburg, bringing Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, AWS Shield, and AWS WAF services to the continent.

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