Microsoft Azure availability is set to be expanded across Africa following the launch of Azure data centers in South Africa earlier in 2019. The expansion will be carried out by Liquid Telecom, one of Africa's leading telecommunications companies and also a Microsoft Gold Partner.

Liquid Telecom has said that as a result of the availability of the new Azure cloud regions across Africa, startups, enterprises, public sector organisations and multi-nationals with a presence in Africa will have access to globally available services with local data residency and the benefits of low latency, high local capacity built upon Microsoft’s trusted cloud principles of security, privacy, compliance, transparency and reliability.

“We are delighted by the launch of Microsoft’s cloud regions in Africa, and by extending the reach of Microsoft Azure to an increasing number of countries and customers, Liquid Telecom is helping Africa realise its digital future. We offer customers a single, unified solution for their Microsoft Azure strategy. This is underpinned by an unrivalled fibre network, strategically located data centres, a hybrid cloud architecture covering Azure and the Azure Stack and an ExpressRoute connection to maximise the benefits of the cloud. Together, Microsoft and Liquid Telecom are creating a modern business foundation for customers in Africa – one that inspires innovation, cloud-paced change, compliance and business growth,” ,” said Nic Rudnick, Group CEO at Liquid Telecom.

Importance of data sovereignty

The importance of having data centers located physically on African soil cannot be overstated. This is true especially for governments and big corporations where it speaks to a myriad of legal topics. Over and above data sovereignty, improved performance is also welcome by users.

“This availability of Microsoft Azure, delivered from cloud regions in South Africa, answers the call from customers across Africa for a truly modern and hybrid cloud. It enables customers across the continent to simplify IT implementation and reap the benefits associated with cloud operating models, either hosted or delivered on-premise. Liquid Telecom is a trusted partner of Microsoft with the breadth of their fibre network, data centre infrastructure, market reach and expertise to enable customers to realise their business objectives more quickly and effectively.” ,” said Dean Erasmus, Azure Business Lead for Africa, Microsoft.

The Liquid Telecom ecosystem will bring cloud services in Africa together, offering customers a one-stop solution for cloud computing, connectivity, and professional services through Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack. Liquid Telecom now provides this modern hybrid cloud services in five countries – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda  – with more regions scheduled to go live later including the Middle East, North and West Africa. Key facts:Expansive, cloud-ready connectivity: Liquid Telecom has built Africa’s largest independent fibre network approaching 70,000km, running from the Cape to Cairo – covering most of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

CloudConnect for Microsoft ExpressRoute: Microsoft ExpressRoute, part of Liquid Telecom’s CloudConnect offering, allows customers to establish flexible, private connections to Azure for better performance, tighter security and lower latency. Liquid Telecom is providing ExpressRoute service across eight African countries on its own fibre. CloudConnect also delivers additional direct connection products to other global and local African providers, facilitating flexible hybrid cloud solutions.Innovation partnerships: Emerging African start-ups have access to this Liquid Telecom infrastructure to support the new generation of innovators and become tomorrow’s technology leaders. For example, Liquid Telecom provides free internet to Nairobi Garage’s Entrepreneurship Centre, supporting up to 300 co-workers with free high-speed fibre connectivity.

Cover image credit: Liquid Telecom South Africa offices in Johannesburg.

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