Niral Patel to lead Google Cloud operations in Sub-Saharan Africa

SSA – Google has appointed former Oracle South Africa Managing Director  Niral Patel as head of its cloud operations in sub-Saharan Africa.

His official title is regional director at Google Cloud, which is the world’s third-largest cloud computing infrastructure provider after Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

He will be based in Johannesburg.

“He will have overall responsibility for the company’s sales strategy and continued development of its go-to-market sales operations,” Google said in a statement.

“Patel will be focused on supporting the growth and scale of Google Cloud customers across a variety of industries.”

Prior to Oracle, Patel held various leadership roles at Microsoft, IBM and Hitachi.

“We have been seeing strong customer momentum in Africa, and companies ranging from digital natives to large corporations are coming to us to help them digitally transform and reinvent their business models,” said Abdul Rahman Al Thehaiban, MD for Turkey, Middle East and Africa at Google Cloud, in the statement.

Unlike rivals Microsoft and AWS, Google has said little about its investments in data centre infrastructure in the region.

Microsoft has opened two data centres in South Africa to provide Azure cloud services to clients — one in Johannesburg and the other in Cape Town.

AWS, meanwhile, recently opened its first data centre “region” in Cape Town.

“He will have overall responsibility for the company’s sales strategy and continued development of its go-to-market sales operations”

Systems integrator Dimension Data also said it is looking to further invest in the data centre market, to expand its infrastructure, as the world sees Africa as the next economic frontier in the digital economy.

Dimension Data says that together with parent company NTT, it has ambitions to be a strong data centre player in South Africa and the rest of the continent, as it positions for increased demand for data centre capability, amid Africa’s cloud computing boom.

According to the African Data Centres Association, Africa needs 1 000MW and 700 data centre facilities to meet the growing demand and bring the rest of the continent onto level terms with the capacity and density of South Africa.

People around the world see Africa as the next economic frontier and that means in the digital economy data centres are needed to support the digital assets and that economic growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for organisations to build resilience and agility, through digital-focused business continuity and crisis planning strategy.

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