“Clouds in Africa only bring rain” – A former business partner said this to me about five years ago, before I worked at Denodo, about the future of cloud technology in Africa.
Recently we held our first Denodo user group conference in South Africa, hosted at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, our longstanding customer. Around thirty attendees were present, from ten different customer companies, two partner companies, and three of us from Denodo.
Six of our customers provided detailed presentations on their uses of the Denodo Platform, and much was learned and shared.
Several have agreed to do full public case studies, so look out for these later.
As expressed in my colleague’s quote above, there used to be, in certain communities, a feeling that Africa did not need the cloud. However, the tides have certainly turned. I believe all ten of the customers who attended this user group have some or all of their data in the cloud, and they do not rely exclusively on one dominant cloud provider. I heard from customers who are migrating to AWS, those who are well along their journey to Azure, and some who run a bit of both.
Why is the cloud currently so attractive in South Africa?
The first and obvious reasons are cost related. However, there are other benefits, like flexibility. Also, in South Africa, the electrical supply can be patchy, and load shedding is a common way of addressing this. That means that if you are running a data center in South Africa, you need to make sure you have multiple power sources and generation options. Essentially, you need to protect your servers and your data. This makes it very attractive for South African enterprises to shift the responsibility upstream to a global cloud provider that can guarantee availability.
So, to counter my colleague’s view that in Africa, all clouds do is bring rain, I would say that on the contrary, South African enterprises are at the forefront of public cloud adoption. This is because technology like the Denodo Platform is essential to their success. Clouds bring more than just rain in Africa.