Amazon Web Services coming to Cape Town

By Edward West Time of article published Jul 12, 2019

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Amazon Web Services (AWS), a $30.8 billion (R427bn) global provider of computing services to companies, will add Cape Town to its 21 global infrastructure availability regions and the unit should be operational early in 2020, AWS global infrastructure and customer support head Peter Desantis said yesterday.

Interviewed during the AWS summit in the city, he said the infrastructure to enable this, involving the establishment of three separate partitions of infrastructure in different locations in the city, would require substantial investment by AWS.

The new infrastructure would put clients closer to where their computing infrastructure lies, would bring AWS closer to the end user, and would suit customers that required to keep their data in South Africa.

The Cape Town region was the only AWS region on the continent, but Desantis said he envisaged more regions would be announced on the continent, in time.

AWS provides computing services to tens of thousands of companies in southern Africa.

Also at the summit, Tymebank, South Africa's first digital bank and the first bank to get a licence from the government in 19 years, relayed how technology was one of the enablers allowing it to offer really low-cost digital banking services.

Tymebank chief information officer Dieter Botha said they now had more than half a million clients, a number that had grown from zero in five months.

“At our top kiosk in Daveyton, we managed to open 134 new accounts in a single day,” he said.

He said behind the strategy of the bank was access - physical access in that it was inconvenient and difficult for people to travel long distances to go to a physical bank branch; financial access in that South African banks charged among the highest bank charges in the world; and because the complexity of existing banking products caused emotional stress for many people, making it difficult for them to make the right decisions, he said.

The bank operates by the client offering only a biometric reading to obtain a bank account and card in about five minutes. There are zero fixed monthly charges.

Botha said 85 percent of the bank’s core systems were from AWS’s cloud applications. He said they managed to halve their Amazon bill in the five months that it had grown to over 500000 clients, and more cost savings were envisaged, said Botha.


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