In 2017, Microsoft was the first to reveal its plans to open two data centers in the country, one in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town
Photo: (AP photo / Michel Euler, file)

DURBAN – Multinationals' interest in using local cloud data centers in South Africa has increased over the past year. A few have already announced that they will do so. But what exactly does that mean for local businesses?

Almost everything is or will be relocated to the cloud for the efficiency, flexibility and strategic value it offers. Businesses can find benefits in migrating applications and infrastructure to the cloud. So it goes without saying for data centers to do the same.

While many have already been opened internationally, there are none in South Africa.

In 2017, Microsoft was the first to reveal its plans to open two data centers in the country, one in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town. This was followed by Amazon and recently Huawei, and there are rumors that other companies are also doing so.

Origins of the data center

Data centers were always something that a company keeps on the ground. Physical infrastructure that stores the critical data the company needs to continue operating. However, data centers must evolve with the changing expectations of consumers and businesses on "always-on" systems. Local servers are still growing, and depending on their individual needs, this may be the best option for a business.

Business advantages

Cloud data centers bring flexibility to a network by eliminating the complexity of unique infrastructure created for a given application. By standardizing the data center for use in every environment and industry, cloud data centers can reduce the cost of upgrading or replacing existing software, increasing efficiency, and reducing latency.

Overcoming latency issues is critical to business because it's a key reason why some applications can not be moved to the cloud. Load shedding is also a very unique challenge that companies in South Africa face as blackouts can cause local data centers to lose data, which can be extremely costly.

Concerns about legislation

Another benefit of using local cloud data centers in South Africa is the security provided by the Personal Information Protection Act. The data must be stored within the country's borders. At the same time, the company provides enterprise security, capabilities and enterprise-level reliability. As these data centers are POPI-compliant and complementary to POPI, governments, government agencies, communities, and the financial sector will feel much more comfortable storing their data in the cloud, but still in the country.

security

A cloud data center is a critical infrastructure for cloud computing, and like cloud computing, there are still security concerns. However, the cloud data center infrastructure is secure as long as it is in the trusted cloud. While there are increasing attempts to hack the cloud infrastructure, there are still many cloud services, such as Microsoft's Azures, that have never been hacked. In fact, the vulnerabilities in a cloud data center are mainly in the users, the administrators, and the access to it, due to the checks and balances used by the data center.

equipment

Devices play an important role in today's workplace as they are at the heart of a business that gives employees the ability to work from anywhere and integrate new features in a natural and seamless way.

In the office of the future, the type of work will be adapted to the user and not vice versa. However, because devices are in the hands of employees, who are typically the weakest point in a network, organizations need to make sure that they are secure, especially as they serve as access points to the critical data stored in the data center.

In short, local cloud data centers in South Africa can only help companies increase their efficiency and productivity while saving costs – a big advantage in the context of the current local economy.

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