Oracle has announced the launch of its new Oracle Johannesburg cloud region, the company’s 37th worldwide and its first on the continent, signalling growing confidence in the future growth of cloud services in Africa, and its long-term faith in Gauteng as the premier regional hub.
Demand for public cloud data centres has been growing rapidly on the continent, and Oracle has been serving business partners all over the region for some time. Customers include Airports Company South Africa, the Government Pensions Administrative Agency, and Telkom. But this further investment in a cloud region holds the promise of reducing latency and speeding cloud application performance in general.
The Johannesburg region is built using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), and supports all Oracle services and features, including Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, Oracle Cloud VMware solution, and Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite.
“In South Africa and the wider African continent, we see similar urgency to drive transformation, need for more business agility, cost reduction and data security, as in other global markets,” Cherian Varghese, regional managing director of Oracle Middle East, and Africa, told CIO Africa. “Therefore, we have built a data region in South Africa with the exact same characteristics as any other data region that we build around the world, as we are trying to address similar problems.”
IDC estimates that public cloud services adoption is accelerating at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 25% year on year between 2020 and 2025 in sub-Saharan Africa.
CIOs say in-country data centres are important
Cloud-based technologies have helped organizations weather the COVID-19 crisis and cloud services are now helping them build resilient organizations that can withstand uncertainties. IDC’s survey of CIOs in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria highlights that an in-country data centre is an important factor for 60% of organizations that are planning to adopt cloud technology over the next 12-18 months.
It’s no secret that South Africa has been bedevilled with electricity and infrastructure problems in recent years, and these fundamental infrastructure issues have the potential to undercut the promise of cloud providers for always-on computing services. But Oracle points out that each Oracle Cloud region contains at least three fault domains, which are groupings of hardware that form logical data centres for high availability and resilience to hardware and network failures.
“OCI’s next-generation architecture provides a high-performing, resilient foundation for cloud services,” says Varghese. “Our data centre sites undergo a risk evaluation that considers environmental threats, power availability and stability, vendor reputation and history, neighbouring facility functions (for example, high-risk manufacturing or high-threat targets), and geopolitical considerations, among other criteria.”
There are a number of unique requirements for doing business in South Africa, particularly with regard to financial services and privacy laws and Oracle has spelled out its commitment to be compliant in both regards. Guidelines published by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) must be considered when evaluating a cloud service provider that accommodates South African financial institutions.
Oracle says its cloud contract structure supports financial institutions in meeting these SARB guidelines. Oracle also offers the Oracle Financial Services Addendum (FSA) as an add-on to its cloud service agreement, which covers various topics typically required for financial institutions, such as audit rights for customers and their regulators, termination rights, exit provisions and transition services, business continuity, and sub-outsourcing obligations.
Another important requirement in South Africa is compliance with POPIA, the Protection of Personal Information Act, which sets general conditions for public and private entities to lawfully process South African data subjects’ personal information.
A proactive response to the climate emergency is part and parcel of any new launch this size in 2022, and Oracle has pledged to power all of their Cloud regions worldwide with 100% renewable energy by 2025. Oracle Cloud regions already use energy management and cooling technologies to minimize their impact on the environment.