Microsoft and Oracle partner to interconnect Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud

Microsoft and Oracle have announced a cloud interoperability partnership enabling customers to migrate and run mission-critical enterprise workloads across Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud.

Microsoft and Oracle have announced a cloud interoperability partnership enabling customers to migrate and run mission-critical enterprise workloads across Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud. Enterprises can now seamlessly connect Azure services, like Analytics and AI, to Oracle Cloud services, like Autonomous Database. By enabling customers to run one part of a workload within Azure and another part of the same workload within the Oracle Cloud, the partnership delivers a highly optimized, best-of-both-clouds experience. Taken together, Azure and Oracle Cloud offer customers a one-stop shop for all the cloud services and applications they need to run their entire business.

Connecting Azure and Oracle Cloud through network and identity interoperability makes lift-and-improve migrations seamless. This partnership delivers direct, fast and highly reliable network connectivity between two clouds, while continuing to provide first-class customer service and support that enterprises have come to expect from the two companies. In addition to providing interoperability for customers running Oracle software on Oracle Cloud and Microsoft software on Azure, it enables new and innovative scenarios like running Oracle E-Business Suite or Oracle JD Edwards on Azure against an Oracle Autonomous Database running on Exadata infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud.

“As the cloud of choice for the enterprise, with over 95% of the Fortune 500 using Azure, we have always been first and foremost focused on helping our customers thrive on their digital transformation journeys,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and AI division. “With Oracle’s enterprise expertise, this alliance is a natural choice for us as we help our joint customers accelerate the migration of enterprise applications and databases to the public cloud.”

“The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for sales, service, marketing, human resources, finance, supply chain and manufacturing, plus highly automated and secure Generation 2 infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database,” said Don Johnson, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). “Oracle and Microsoft have served enterprise customer needs for decades. With this partnership, our joint customers can migrate their entire set of existing applications to the cloud without having to re-architect anything, preserving the large investments they have already made.”

As a result of this expanded partnership, the companies are making available a new set of capabilities. This include connecting Azure and Oracle Cloud seamlessly, allowing customers to extend their on-premises datacenters to both clouds. Customers will also get a unified identity and access management, via a unified single sign-on experience and automated user provisioning, to manage resources across Azure and Oracle Cloud. Also available in early preview today, Oracle applications can use Azure Active Directory as the identity provider and for conditional access.

Other capabilities include supported deployment of custom applications and packaged Oracle applications (JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Oracle Retail, Hyperion) on Azure with Oracle databases (RAC, Exadata, Autonomous Database) deployed in Oracle Cloud. The same Oracle applications will also be certified to run on Azure with Oracle databases in Oracle Cloud. A collaborative support model to help IT organizations deploy these new capabilities while enabling them to leverage existing customer support relationships and processes. Oracle Database will continue to be certified to run in Azure on various operating systems, including Windows Server and Oracle Linux.

“The alliance between Microsoft and Oracle is welcome news as we accelerate Albertsons’ digital transformation and leverage the full value of the public cloud,” said Anuj Dhanda, executive vice president and chief information officer at Albertsons Companies. “This will allow us to create cross-cloud solutions that optimize many of our current investments while maximizing the agility, scalability and efficiency of the public cloud.”

“As we look to bring our omnichannel experience closer together and transform the technology platform that powers the Gap Inc. brands, the collaboration between Oracle and Microsoft will make it easier for us to scale and deliver capabilities across channels,” said Sally Gilligan, chief information officer at Gap. “The interoperability between Azure and Oracle Cloud allows us to deploy Oracle or custom-built applications on Azure and Oracle databases on Oracle Cloud.”

“At Halliburton, we have a long history of running both Oracle and Microsoft technologies for our most critical applications. Our deep experience with these two strategic vendors has yielded consistently stable and performant application deployments,” said Ken Braud, senior vice president and CIO at Halliburton. “This alliance gives us the flexibility and ongoing support to continue leveraging our standard architectures, while allowing us to focus on generating business outcomes that maximize returns for our shareholders.”

www.microsoft.com

www.oracle.com

[South Africa] CMC Networks solve African cross-border cloud connectivity issues

CMC Networks, a global telecommunications carrier, says Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange will play an important role in its recently launched Multi Cloud Connect solution.

CMC Networks, a global telecommunications carrier, says Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange will play an important role in its recently launched Multi Cloud Connect solution. This will enable its customers direct connection to AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure Express Route cloud platforms across multiple countries in Africa. 

Marisa Trisolino, CEO, CMC Networks, says that as the largest Pan-African provider of connectivity, the collaboration with Teraco is crucial to Multi Cloud Connects success: “By providing the essential building blocks, the Africa Cloud Exchange greatly assists us to provide our customers with the most direct and best possible cloud experience across the continent with stringent service levels to suit.”

Multi Cloud Connect will enable much sought-after connectivity for African countries trying to connect to cloud regions located in South Africa: “This is a significant offering that enables African ISP’s and carriers to connect directly without having to route to Europe and back to Africa. Leveraging CMC’s extensive African footprint Multi Cloud Connect will also drastically reduce latency through the African Cloud Exchange,” says Trisolino.

Having first engaged with Teraco over ten years ago through its carrier neutral data centre offering and NAPAfrica, Africa’s largest Internet eXchange point, Trisolino says CMC Networks has offered hosting services and peering diversity to a multitude of its customers.

The acceleration of cloud adoption, she says, spurred the company on to develop a cloud offering utilising its existing relationships: “We believe the nature of the Africa Cloud Exchange will encourage and lead to increased cloud innovation. It is an outstanding platform and will support us to achieve our strategic cloud objective, which centres on solving cross-border cloud connectivity problems throughout Africa.”

Andrew Owens, Teraco peering and interconnection specialist, says that Africa Cloud Exchange improves hybrid and multi-cloud performance through direct interconnection: “We empower our carrier communities to do more in the cloud by providing secure, direct, flexible network connections to a wide range of local and global cloud service providers.” By using an interconnected network architecture approach, Owens says that Africa Cloud Exchange will improve cloud application performance, reduce latency, scale on demand, lower network costs, and visibly deliver a better cloud experience to end users.

Trisolino is excited about the burgeoning cloud prospects across Africa. Having established itself close to 30 years ago, CMC Networks built and manages the most extensive network across Africa with 80+ Points of Presence servicing 51 African countries and in excess of 108 Points of Presence globally across USA, Europe, UAE, India, Asia, and Australia.

“The cloud era is a very exciting one for us. With our significant Africa network, Cloud Connect will undoubtedly play a vital role in the growth and improvement of cloud adoption across the African continent,” says Trisolino.

Countries that can expect sub 100ms RTD include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

www.cmcnetworks.net

www.teraco.co.za

[Column] Avinash Ramtohul: 5 key considerations for your journey to cloud

CEOs and CIOs on the continent have cloud at the centre of their digital transformation strategies, knowing fully well that without automation they will either be out of business or be steering an organisation towards undesired directions.

According to the IDC’s Kenya Enterprise ICT Market 2019 Outlook, 1,9 million USD is predicted to be spent on ICT in Kenya this year alone. The Kenyan government is prioritising it’s Big Four Agenda; which spans investment and development in manufacturing, food security, healthcare and housing. In order to achieve these objectives, the Government will focus on emerging technologies such as blockchain, IoT, cloud and data analytics.

CEOs and CIOs on the continent have cloud at the centre of their digital transformation strategies, knowing fully well that without automation they will either be out of business or be steering an organisation towards undesired directions. The ability to harvest, store and sort big data is a critical element of business competitiveness. The higher the use of autonomous technologies, the more the competitive edge!

In the process of devising a cloud adoption strategy, most companies realise that they can’t transition all workloads or business processes at once; considerations span Service Level Agreements, Data sensitivity and security, business continuity, cost and legislations/regulations. The challenge, then, is to carve out a transition plan that supports co-existence of on-premise and cloud based applications – hence ensuring minimal disruption when migrating pieces of software to the cloud in a chronological fashion.

There are 5 key considerations to take into account when carving out this transition plan; we explore these below.

Mapping your cloud-ready journey

Understanding how to achieve results that impact, not only the organisation, but the greater economy is crucial. Building a pathway to becoming cloud-ready should be an integrated approach, one driven by cloud strategy, policy and an innovative culture. Planning and preparation with the right cloud strategy are imperative to achieve the desired success

The path forward will vary, depending on where the organisation is starting. Each organisation will take a unique journey, following its own timeline. That said, most organisations could follow one or more of five use cases that describe the requirements they face on their journey:

  1. Streamline and modernise

If your enterprise does not have immediate plans to move to the cloud in a big way but does want to streamline its infrastructure. This kind of enterprise should work towards reducing technological complexity by replacing older servers, storage and backup systems with modern systems that are architecturally compatible with systems powering private and public cloud services.

  1. Accelerate time to value

With the aim of maintaining and growing its competitive edge, most innovative organisations need to do more with less, and faster – a necessary ingredient to live up to the rising expectations of both, the shareholders and customers, alike. In such a situation, an appliance strategy can provide great benefit. Today’s modern appliances come preconfigured to serve different purposes, such as to support a database, a private cloud environment, UNIX, or big-data applications. Because appliances are easy to deploy and operate, requiring less time and fewer specialised skills, IT departments are able to implement and manage them quickly, with a reduced learning curve, avoiding the hassles of testing and integration.

  1. Optimise and extend private cloud

Many organisations first implement private cloud to achieve lower costs and greater agility for generic, non-critical workloads. Most self-assembled generic private clouds take months to build out, resulting in decreased agility and expensive personnel to build, tune and manage. They typically require expensive licenses and support contract to run generic workloads. The recommended way forward therefore, is to adopt platforms that are optimised for cost and/or performance. Generic workloads can run on the Oracle Private Cloud Appliance, optimised to deliver low-cost computing for Linux, Solaris, and Windows applications while more-demanding applications operate better on purpose-built engineered systems. 

This provides an easy path to public or hybrid cloud, with unified management across environments.

  1. Optimise and secure critical applications

Business-critical applications require peak performance and security. However, in many organisations, the infrastructure supporting these applications has been built over time and is lagging in modernisation, and is now inconsistent with currently available mix of platforms. The result is an overly complex environment that does not always deliver the required performance or security.

Enterprises, here, would be better off identifying applications that manage data of low sensitivity to move them to the cloud. Back-ups, learning and test & dev environments would easily fit into Oracle’s IaaS offerings with a reduction in cost (eradicating cost of hardware, cooling, data centre space, labour). For the residual applications, high-end SPARC-based servers will optimise performance while improving efficiency with the highest security, whether implemented on-premises or on the cloud. Moving to a single platform will also bring cost savings and unified and simplified infrastructure management.

  1. Consolidate and protect data with advanced storage solutions

Every company is facing data storage and protection challenges. With the ever-increasing explosion of data volumes, simply adding to an existing storage infrastructure is no longer affordable nor effective. The better approach is to implement modern storage solutions that are built to eliminate data loss and cut recovery times. Voluminous data can be off-loaded to the cloud which offers ample security and ease of access management. Same data can be accessed from any authentic IP source, rendering the data loading and access process more streamlined and less costly.  

Take control of your future

For each of the considerations, Oracle delivers cloud-ready systems that have precise equivalents in Oracle’s own public cloud. In this way, the public cloud appears as a compatible extension of what already runs in your data centre, making it easier to move when you are ready. Even if you have no immediate plans to move to the cloud, it is a nice option to have. In the meantime, you are able to bring many benefits of the public cloud into your on-premises infrastructure and accelerate the process of innovation.

Avinash Ramtohul is the Managing Director, Mauritius and Cloud Architect Leader, Sub-Saharan Africa at Oracle.

[Nigeria] Signal Alliance launches CloudGo, a managed productivity suite for SMEs

Signal Alliance, a system integrator, has launched a new product called CloudGo built on the Microsoft cloud platform and targeted at small and medium scale businesses.

CloudGo comprises of digital workplace tools bundled with managed support. The value delivered by this solution is the power to engage customers, reduced cost on IT infrastructure, enhanced collaboration and improved productivity.

According to Uchechi Nwaukwa, Chief Technology Officer, Signal Alliance, “Huge investment in IT Infrastructure, upgrade challenges, data protection and security, disaster recovery form the core of major challenges faced by SMEs. Hence, an efficient and secure solution that enhances the way employees communicate, collaborate and scale innovate solutions for the business, becomes an inevitable need.”

In addition, CloudGo users can benefit from Microsoft services, tools, methodologies to determine business direction and implement communication, collaboration, and data-based services that can change the way your employees work together.

Cloud migration, adoption and onboarding training, consumption analytics dashboard, managed support and cyber assessment are all managed support services bundled in CloudGo to provide a robust modern digital workplace for businesses.

www.signalalliance.com

Huawei and African Union strengthen cooperation on cloud computing and IoT

Huawei and the African Union have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to consolidate their ICT cooperation.

The main objective is to strengthen their partnership in broadband, internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).

The MoU provides new opportunities for the various African Union departments to share Huawei’s experience in ICT project management and delivery in support of continental ICT development in Africa, including cybersecurity, e-health, e-education and other related applications.

This agreement was signed for a period of three years and builds on an agreement signed in February 2015. Both parties are working together to source local talent to train them for future digital challenges in the technology ecosystem. It also aims to increase employment opportunities for young people by providing them with ICT knowledge and skills.

www.huawei.com

www.au.int