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Cloud investment into Africa has increased sharply as the continent sees the establishment of its first cloud regions. Through extensive investment by multiple international operators, cloud strategies are now becoming a key element within every enterprise’s infrastructure investment. Teraco, Africa’s largest and most interconnected vendor neutral data centre, says its African cloud exchange, located in the Johannesburg and Cape Town data centre facilities, will ensure a low risk, direct entry point for clients wishing to connect to local and global cloud providers. This ‘on-ramp’ is a vital, secure connection service housed within data centres such as Teraco and provides direct connectivity to a host of cloud providers.

Since launching, Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange, services the sub Saharan Africa region and has become instrumental in keeping local traffic within the borders of Africa, as opposed to routing it via Europe and back again. Currently AWS Direct Connect, Microsoft Express Route and Google’s Cloud Platform are all available via the cloud exchange.

Andrew Owens, peering and interconnection specialist, Teraco, says the Africa Cloud Exchange is the neutral connectivity point where any enterprise, ISP, carrier or managed service provider can connect in Africa: “This investment into Africa will significantly impact the burgeoning cloud region. Aside from benefiting from the myriad of cloud connectivity options, there is also no limitation on capacity. Teraco purely charges a cross-connection fee and as a result, reduces the costs to connect.”

He says that access to multiple connectivity providers and business partners is an inevitable requirement of any modern enterprise: “Most enterprises want to avoid the public Internet due to potential latency and throughput issues. These challenges are addressed by private connect solutions. Through our cloud exchange we ensure a low risk, secure, direct, predictable connection to any client-selected cloud provider.”

By utilising cross-connections, Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange is a highly scalable, quick and cost-effective way to create a hybrid or multi-cloud IT environment: “It creates an ideal opportunity to move business critical workloads and latency-sensitive applications to the public cloud. Through this approach, less network hops, higher carrier diversity and interconnectivity are automatically a part of a resilient and scalable network,” says Owens.

In addition, Owens says that cloud operators can take advantage of direct access to African terrestrial fibre, satellite connectivity, submarine cables and an open market for interconnection.

Using the Africa Cloud Exchange, Owens says Teraco recently ran real world latency tests from the Teraco cross-connection directly to resources deployed in Western Europe and resources deployed in South Africa via Microsoft Express Route. As shown in the diagram below, the RTT (Round Trip Time) to resources deployed in the cloud from Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange has improved from an average of 171ms down to less than 2ms.

“Lower latency, and direct cloud connections are imperative for a cloud approach to thrive. Being able to assist clients within the enterprise to better serve their clients, providing not only interconnects, but also lower latency,” says Owens.