Johannesburg: CloudFlare’s 30th data center

by Joshua Motta.

Fire up the celebration braai, Jozi! CloudFlare is here, and it’s a big one. An important milestone (our 30th data center) calls for an equally important new location: Johannesburg, South Africa, our first data center in Africa.

For the local audience: Steek aan 'n braai ter viering, Jozi! CloudFlare is hier en dis 'n groot een. 'n Belangrike mylpaal (ons 30ste datasentrum), vra vir ewe belangrike en nuwe ligging: Johannesburg, Suid-Afrika, ons eerste datasentrum in Afrika.

Now serving Southern Africa

Prior to now nearly all CloudFlare traffic delivered to Africa was served from our London, Amsterdam and Hong Kong data centers with round trip latency of 200-350ms. Bandwidth in the region is notoriously expensive (it would make even the Australians blush) making it prohibitive to enter into the continent. That is, before now. Just a few months ago we were fortunate to enter into discussions with a number of partners in the region that share CloudFlare’s vision to help build a better Internet.

Our Johannesburg data center will not only make sites on CloudFlare more performant for Internet users in South Africa, but also for Internet users across all of Southern Africa (and beyond). From Botswana to Kenya, users across the region will see a significant performance improvement when visiting any site or mobile app using CloudFlare.

The new normal

As the latency measurements below demonstrate, our data center in Johannesburg is already delivering serious performance improvement across all of Southern Africa. In South Africa itself, latency has decreased from over 300ms to as low as 3ms, a 100x improvement.

The same is true from the network of Telkom, the local South African incumbent, where latency decreased from 200ms to as low as 13ms (15x improvement).

In Zambia, latency has decreased from over 200ms to 28ms (7x improvement).

And even Kenya, nearly 2,400 miles (3,800 kilometers) from South Africa, has seen latency decline from 150ms to 71ms (2x improvement).

Source: Measurements from RIPE Atlas

This time for Africa

Internet penetration, broadband subscriptions, IXP deployment and overall available bandwidth in Africa are measurably lower as compared to the rest of the world. But this is quickly changing. It is with great satisfaction that we do our part to help bridge the digital divide. We hope you enjoy this news as much as we had making it all happen.

Special thanks to South African CloudFlare engineers Albert and Gerhard for all translations

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