After missing a self-imposed 2018 deadline, Microsoft finally opened two data centres in SA this week. First announced in May 2017, the Azure cloud data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town went live the day after Microsoft's biggest data centre rival, Amazon Web Services (AWS), opened its first "Pop-up Loft" in Africa. As a result, vice-president and chief technology officer Werner Vogels was in Johannesburg at the same time as Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice-president of Azure Networking at Microsoft. It was coincidence, but the presence of the bosses of the two biggest cloud computing platforms in the world made SA seem like an eligible single being wooed by highly desirable suitors. And both are putting massive resources behind their quest to become SA's preferred partner in cloud. AWS will open three data centres in the Cape Town area early next year, making the Cape Peninsula an "AWS region", of which there are 19 worldwide. Microsoft has 54 "cloud regions" running ...

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