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Microsoft launches secure connection for Kenya cloud users

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Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Washington. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • SEACOM will connect Kenyan companies to one of 152 Microsoft data centres including London, Dublin and Amsterdam.
  • The dedicated private ethernet connection linking the data centre and the company will fortify security for users as it will not go through public Internet.
  • SEACOM will also provide connectivity within the on-premise network of a company.

Microsoft has partnered with SEACOM to launch an express connection for its Kenyan cloud storage customers. The Azure ExpressRoute will link on-premise networks directly into Microsoft Cloud over a private connection facilitated by SEACOM.

SEACOM will connect Kenyan companies to one of 152 Microsoft data centres including London, Dublin and Amsterdam.

The dedicated private ethernet connection linking the data centre and the company will fortify security for users as it will not go through public Internet. SEACOM will also provide connectivity within the on-premise network of a company.

“With cloud computing, the price reduction of Internet connectivity and accessibility, you are able to compete at a global scale,” said Carl Martens, Microsoft East Africa Azure Specialist.

Microsoft operates 152 data centres worldwide.

The Microsoft data centres are connected through the Azure backbone network, which is the third largest global network. Other players in this space are Amazon and Google.

Through Azure ExpressRoute, Kenyan companies will be able to access the same data centre infrastructure as companies such as Rolls Royce and General Electric.

After paying a fixed fee of $55 (Sh5,500 ) per month, companies can choose to pay for an unlimited service for $300 (Sh30,000) per month or opt for a pay-as-you-go model which includes an additional cost for data volume per GB. M-Kopa, Azure ExpressRoute’s flagship customer in Kenya since January this year, is now its biggest customer in Africa and uses the pay-as-you-go model. M-Kopa performs 48 million device readings per day through Azure ExpressRoute.

In case of outages, SEACOM has backup fibre routes for customers. Rebates are also available in the case of complete failure. In the past, Kenyan companies that opted into various cloud services scaled down their decision thanks to a lack of guaranteed speed.

Other companies that SEACOM provides direct links to data centres include Amazon Cloud and Oracle Cloud.

There are currently no Microsoft data centres in Africa. However, the firm plans to set up two in Johannesburg and Cape Town this year. It will be the first major global provider to invest in data centres in Africa. For Kenyan companies, the closeness to the data centre will mean reduced latency.

SEACOM said they were not yet at 20 per cent utilisation of their fibre capacity and that Azure ExpressRoute was a way to offer the extra capacity to businesses.

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