On The Marc Tech News

Interview with Fred Baumhardt – Microsoft SA CTO

It’s Microsoft TechEd Africa 2013 time again, and I have been fortunate to be invited to attend this awesome event once again. This year the event is bigger in terms of the number of exhibitors, sponsors & sessions on offer. Things kicked off yesterday afternoon with the Keynote & Opening party, but today was when all the in depth sessions started. I managed to catch a couple of sessions earlier today and am well impressed with whats been on offer so far.

I also got the opportunity to sit down and chat with Fred Baumhardt, who is the Chief Technical officer of Microsoft South Africa. We chatted about a number of things and where Microsoft South Africa is going.

One of the major talking points in yesterdays keynote was the increased demand and usability of cloud based services such as Microsoft Azure. Azure allows you to host your application & service in the cloud, making it easily accessible to all your users. With a shift towards the ability to rapidly deploy these applications, it’s only a matter of time before everything is cloud based. I also found out earlier today that iCloud is in fact hosted on the Azure Platform !

Chatting about if Microsoft would look at hosting locally based cloud servers, Fred leaned towards that not happening anytime soon. Currently Microsoft has a number of data centres around the world, and South Africa uses the Ireland & Netherlands centres for cloud based services. Given that bandwidth costs in South Africa have decreased dramatically over the last couple of years, and the number of international bandwidth services offered, it doesn’t make economic sense for Microsoft to launch a data centre in South Africa (yet).

That said, there is a huge shift in enterprise & consumers moving towards cloud based services like Office 365. Cost wise it works out a lot cheaper that having to pay an up front cost for the traditional CD media.

I also popped in a sneaky question about when we might see the Microsoft Surface in South Africa after Microsoft SA CEO, Mteto Nyati, hinted at it earlier today. No official dates have been announced but we could possibly see it in the latter part of the year. On the other hand, there are a number of different devices on display here at TechEd, which offer similar functionality.

All in all, Africa & South Africa are in for an interesting couple of years ahead in the Tech Space. As Fred mentioned, we are probably only 18 months behind Europe & the US in terms of Tech developments, and that gap is narrowing rapidly.

TechEd runs till Friday, and I will probably pop up another post or 2 with some of the highlights of the event. So far it has been a rather interesting & fulfilling 2 days!