[Column] Stephane Duproz: The rise of data centres in Africa

Data centre market in Africa is poised on the brink of hugely accelerated growth, driven by several factors, including a soaring demand for cloud services.

Now and again, a new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solution sees a combination of factors unite to create a ‘perfect storm’ of demand – one that is exacerbated by the various vendors’ inability to keep pace with it. One such industry is the multi-tenant colocation data centre market in Africa, which is poised on the brink of hugely accelerated growth, driven by several factors, including a soaring demand for cloud services, pressure by regulators to bring African content back to Africa, a surge in media content markets and improved broadband around the continent.

“Data centres are at the heart of economic growth in Africa and without them, developing rich and self-sufficient ICT ecosystems cannot happen,” says Stephane Duproz, the CEO of Africa Data Centres. “These facilities are the lifeblood of every business and the foundation of the internet itself, with thousands of networks and connections meeting there.”

He says the continued and sustained investment in connectivity and broadband in Africa are putting foundations in place for true African digital transformation. “For example 2018 saw mobile penetration reach 44% in Sub-Saharan Africa, which in turn, saw the demand for data for personal and business use reach all-time highs. Add to this the ready availability of affordable smartphones and more reasonable data plans and you’ll see why Africa is hungry for all things digital.”

Building data centres is the one way that Africa can meet the growing requirements for storage and networking that are key to fulfilling Africa’s digital transformation dreams, adds Duproz. “Keep in mind that a slew of new technologies including analytics, IoT, artificial intelligence and cloud are fueling the demand for rapid, high-availability services, and infrastructure that is local, not situated in Europe or the United States.”

Despite the clear need for more data centres, he says Africa remains the greatest untapped market for data centre providers and considering the continent is made up of more than 50 countries and a population of over a billion, this needs to change. “Most of Africa’ citizens are of the age where they want to go online, learn, communicate and consume digital services.”

Durpoz says data centres have to deliver IT services and provide storage and networking to a skyrocketing number of networked devices, users, as well as business processes. “It’s no surprise then that demand for data centre colocation services in Africa has been unprecedented, driven by the factors I mentioned above, as well as the need for digitisation in Africa. Africa wants to go digital and it wants to do it now. The continent needs servers, power, broadband – and as much of it as possible.”

At the moment, Duproz says the demand for co-location data centres in Africa is rising more rapidly than supply. “More modern colocation facilities in Africa will not only help meet the continent’s needs but will help to connect the various regions to the broader global data economy, which in turn will drive economic and social development.”

During the past couple of years, he says several cloud infrastructure and data centres have been built in many growing African markets. “However, this is just a start. The desire for more data centres for Africans is skyrocketing, and concurrently, many global companies are looking to the region for data centre development and support.”

According to him, this is important, because the data centre market on the continent is crucial to the integration of Africa into worldwide networks. Look at the hyper-scale cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Azure, Huawei and Google. They all have global cloud services built upon a wide network of self-built data centres, but the lack of Africa-based data centres is creating latency issues and inhibiting the growth of their hyper-scale offerings on the continent.

Another reason the continent can benefit from interconnected, carrier and cloud-neutral data centre facilities, is because they enable public sector entities in Africa to harness the benefits of information and communication technologies, as well as the economies of scale that the cloud provides.

Ultimately, Duproz says, what the continent needs is a vision of a pan-African network of carrier-neutral data centres, and that is precisely what Africa Data Centres is doing and is currently the largest operator in this space. “I believe this is the way of the future because we can offer services in all the countries in which we are present to any international customer who wants to come to Africa. We have one aim, and one aim only and that is it to digitalise Africa and interconnect our data centres all over the continent to drive true digital transformation.”

Stephane Duproz is the CEO of Africa Data Centres.

[Column] David Bunei: Stay ahead of those data security woes

The very factors that have helped to make Kenya such a motivated and major African player in the Digital Age have also made local organisations in the public and private sector vulnerable to security threats and compliance issues. The good news is that, next-generation cloud infrastructure and applications are mitigating these concerns with their autonomous capabilities, ensuring a higher level of security than ever before.

In 2018, Kenya’s economy lost Sh29.5 billion to cybercrime and related activities, up 40% from the previous year. The Communication Authority of Kenya also reported that in Q4 2018, the number of cybersecurity threats in the country jumped 167% to 10.2 million from 3.8 million in Q3.

Faced with such intimidating figures, many enterprises – especially those in high-risk sectors such as Government and Banking – are investing heavily in cybersecurity measures or carefully exploring digital transformation, the very process that will help them to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively.

At Oracle, we have been integrating security into our solutions and protecting our customers’ sensitive data for decades. Oracle solutions have multi-layered security built-in and integrated, whether talking about Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Autonomous Database, SaaS applications as well as our traditional on-premises infrastructure and applications. Of course, with more customers moving to cloud, we have intensified our focus on security, taking advantage of developments in AI, and related machine learning, to protect customers’ sensitive data and ease their security burden.

Last year at Oracle’s annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, attendees were able to learn more about the role Oracle’s Generation 2 cloud has in underpinning a wide variety of new cloud services such as Oracle’s Autonomous Database.  Autonomous functionality is very important to cybersecurity as a large percentage of system breaches are the result of not being able to respond to events, self-patch or self-tune to mitigate against compromises or outages. Secure by design – in fact, having security architected into every layer– Oracle Generation 2 Cloud is designed to configure, manage and secure systems for the customer, based on their requirements. Human error is removed because processes are no longer manual, and patches are applied automatically in the background while running to avoid downtime. The same applies to data encryption, backup and a general enforcement of security policies.

As an example, Oracle Data Safe was just one of several next-generation cloud security services introduced at OpenWorld this year. Data Safe helps organisations protect their databases more effectively in a way consistent with best practices. Data Safe can identify sensitive data and mask it for use in partner or development environments. It also alerts on risky users and system configurations, and proactively monitors database activity to spotlight and respond to suspicious access attempts. After all, data is at risk from both external threats and those – whether accidental or deliberate – within organisations.

Such cloud-embedded simplification of security tasks for businesses is particularly relevant in Kenya, where there were only 1,700 skilled cybersecurity professionals in the country in 2018. Generation 2 Cloud security measures help to fill a noticeable gap and keep organisations safe.

The narrative around cloud and cybersecurity is also changing worldwide. Security in the cloud is now being recognised as secure, or more secure, than what can be achieved on-premise by 72% of those surveyed in the Oracle and KPMG Cloud Threat Report 2019. Security is now named as the biggest benefit to cloud by 66% of C-level executives, putting it ahead of both cost and scalability.

Data security is also closely linked to compliance in terms of handling personal information. Oracle’s second-generation cloud security solutions are designed to keep sensitive data safe and out of sight on Oracle cloud databases thanks to automatic encryption, advanced access controls, always-on separation of duty, data masking and redaction. It’s one of the reasons, Rakuten Securities, Japan’s largest online financial brokerage company, chose Oracle Database Security to address their strict regulatory requirements, while efficiently managing social security and tax ID numbers for 2 million customer accounts across a complex network of disparate systems.

With financial losses, fines and reputations at stake, it is critical for companies to ensure the security of their data and resiliency of their systems in the face of continually evolving threats and regulations. With Generation 2 Cloud, the burden shifts from enterprises to Oracle, and with Oracle’s embedded AI doing most of the work, customers have the chance to really innovate instead of expending so much time and manpower on patches and staying up to date with defensive measures. Cloud services are a viable option for the most critical enterprise workloads. Fears around data security should never hold an organisation back from exploring this path to greater, immediate business value.

David Bunei is the Managing Director for Oracle Kenya.

41 billion missing IoT devices: The biggest prediction miss in the history of IT?

41 billion IoT connected devices have failed to materialise, potentially representing the biggest missed prediction in the history of IT, Eseye a leader in ubiquitous global IoT connectivity, has uncovered.

In 2010, Ericsson predicted that 50 billion devices would be connected by 2020, a prediction echoed by Cisco in 2011. Yet, despite the enthusiasm for IoT, current estimates identify the true figure to be closer to 9 billion, with many of those being mobile phones. Eseye has subsequently identified six key challenges that IoT must overcome in 2020 to reach its potential.

It’s now clear that successful IoT deployments are much harder than previously thought and substantial complexities have been glossed over. This is borne out by recent research from Cisco Systems which has found that more than 75% of IoT deployments fail. A lot of the damage happens before the devices even go live, however. Microsoft estimates that 30% of IoT projects fail at the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage, while eight out of ten IoT projects fail before they are even launched, says Gartner.

From hardware design and testing to connectivity, data management and global technical support, there are many obstacles to overcome. The six challenges for IoT to overcome in 2020 as identified by Eseye, are:

  1. Hardware needs to become relevant again

In IoT deployments 80% of the data and processing is at the ‘edge’ of the network. This is where the ‘things’ and sensors are and where data is captured. However, to make sense of it all, without the expense of having to back-haul the data into the heart of the network, it needs to be processed on the edge. To deliver successful deployments organisations need a strong understanding of how to optimise IoT hardware from circuit boards to firmware.

  1. Bundled silicon to speed up deployment

The incorporation of secure IoT connectivity into silicon at the point of manufacture will go a long way to streamlining the IoT deployment experience. Bundling IoT capability at the silicon level significantly simplifies the setup and deployment of IoT devices. The real game-changer is that once the device is activated it should automatically connect to any network in the world, providing as close to 100% coverage anywhere in the world, and start provisioning data to either their on-premise solution or any one of the hyperscale cloud providers.

Eseye and Gemalto recently launched Intelligent Cloud Connect, in response to this challenge. The solution enables customers to develop and manufacture a single IoT product SKU for any application, which then connects out-of-the-box to any mobile network in the world, while offering seamless and secure data provisioning to AWS IoT Core.

  1. Localisation of devices to maintain uptime

A key precursor to the widespread adoption of IoT is the ability to quickly and simply connect devices anywhere in the world. Some suggest this exists through global roaming, yet a growing number of MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and regulators are implementing permanent roaming restrictions which could mean that after three months an IoT device could be taken off the network. For IoT customers with fixed devices around the world, this may result in the inability to use some networks beyond the short term unless they use a localised eSIM. As roaming falls out of favour organisations will need to turn to global ‘super’ Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO’s) whose strategy is to localise connectivity wherever possible, in order to effectively deploy IoT devices anywhere in the world.

  1. Overcoming the consumer centricity of eUICC

The Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC) – often referred to as eSIM – was going to negate the need to migrate profiles between SIMs, enable everybody to work together and open a world of opportunities. Unfortunately, it has created a number of implementation challenges for business IoT use cases, as it was designed with the end consumer in mind, rather than industrial users. Profile management and network switching must be driven by service provision rather than the profitability of an MNO. The best way to do this is for the profile management algorithm to be implemented in an abstracted and MNO agnostic switching platform – not by the MNO’s platform. Only by doing this can a single pane of glass management capability, single global invoice and single support service be delivered for an Enterprise’s total global estate of IoT devices.

  1. Utilising Hypercloud

Cloud had its challenges with security. One of the biggest risks in IoT is the edge of the network and the massively expanded threat perimeter. The good news, however, is that several hyperscale cloud providers, such as AWS, are deploying standard security managed services features that audit the configuration of devices, monitor connected devices and detect abnormal behaviour to mitigate these security risks. Eseye predicts that that 2020 will see at least 40% of new large IoT projects deployed in a hyperscale cloud platform.

  1. The need for a ‘Star Alliance’ Federation model for IoT

With MNOs under pressure from complexity busting hardware, and with increased pressure on their commercial models, there is a growing need for them to compete for and deliver global IoT projects. A more commercially favourable and collaborative approach is required, such as a ‘federation of MNOs’, or to put it another way the ‘Star Alliance’ of the airline for IoT to prevent them from becoming a commodity. Much like the Star Alliance where you would buy a single air ticket, travel around the world and pay once, if one MNO sells a global deal in one country, each MNO in the federation needs to then deliver the traffic requirements in their own country.

Nick Earle, CEO of Eseye, comments: “41 billion missing IoT devices is a monumental miscalculation and arguably is one of the biggest misses in the history of IT forecasting! The two questions that must be asked now, however, are why this happened and what can be done to rectify it? In our view, the ‘why’ primarily comes down to organisations underestimating the complexities of IoT deployments. “The intricacies involved in creating specialist IoT device hardware, establishing access to global connectivity and the ability to manage vast amounts of data effectively and efficiently, are just some of those complexities. This was recognised by Gartner when it predicted in 2018 that 75% of IoT projects would take twice as long to deliver. Removing the complexities and barriers to IoT development and deployment will see a greater uptake on a global scale. We predict that 2020 will be the year that global IoT rollouts will take off, provided our six key challenges to IoT success in 2020 are overcome.”

[South Africa] Skynamo receives $30million investment from Five Elms Capital to scale operations

Software investor, Five Elms Capital, is investing $30m in Skynamo, field sales app and management platform provider.

Skynamo will use the investment to accelerate adoption of its field sales mobile app and cloud-based management platform, while scaling up operations to improve service to its rapidly growing customer base in the US, UK and Southern Africa. Skynamo serves its customers from its South African and London offices and has chosen Atlanta as its US headquarters.

Skynamo increases sales rep productivity and effectiveness by digitizing paper-based processes, automating administrative tasks, and enabling easy access to customer and product information in the field. GPS technology provides managers with a real-time view of sales activity and sales rep effectiveness in the field, so they can coach their reps remotely. Field sales teams using Skynamo typically double – and in some cases triple – the number of customers they visit per week and increase revenue by up to 20% in the first year.

Skynamo integrates with ERP and accounting software such as Sage, Acumatica, SAP, Xero and Quickbooks to provide field sales reps with the latest product and customer information and order history while on the road or onsite at a customer. Skynamo’s integration capability streamlines the ordering process and improves order accuracy, order fulfillment and time to invoice for field sales teams on the road.

“We’ve backed Skynamo because we are convinced it has the perfect combination of strong value proposition and a relentless culture of delighting both customers and employees to become the leader in field sales technology,” says Fred Coulson, Managing Partner of Five Elms.

Unlike other CRM and sales automation applications, Skynamo is a mobile-first application designed to provide a better end-user experience for mobile users. Mobile-first design ensures data entry is easier – improving the volume and quality of data collected in the field. Offline capability enables users to continue working on their mobile devices even without internet access.

“Field sales reps have been left out in the cold by the technology industry for far too long,” says Sam Clarke, CEO of Skynamo. “By putting all time-saving functionality and accurate information in the palm of their hands via our mobile app, Skynamo transforms sales teams from order-takers to value-adding consultants to their customers.”

“The field sales industry is in a state of disruption; both businesses and field sales professionals need to adopt new technologies to survive the digital shift,” says Stephanie Brown, Partner at Five Elms. “Skynamo is the best platform to help field sales teams become more knowledgeable by providing quick and accurate answers while onsite with customers.”

www.skynamo.com

[Column] Gomedi Makhongoana: How cloud can help educational institutions

With the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, paired with worrying skills shortages, the pressure is on universities and other tertiary education institutions in South Africa to admit more students.

The key to expanding access is affordable education – as highlighted by the #FeesMustFall movement – but how are institutions supposed to meet this crucial socio-economic need while managing their ever-mounting expenditure, and swelling student numbers?

The adoption of next-generation cloud technology is proving to be an effective cost-cutting strategy for all sectors, and it has a special value for educational institutions in helping to keep tuition costs down.

To clarify, the vast majority of higher learning institutions recognize the need for digital migration as a contemporary operational essential but find themselves sinking a substantial amount of resources into preserving repository legacy systems.

This is because these databases are the only repositories for hard-to-move student data, in line with data retention compliance requirements.

Making things even more challenging is the necessity to do more with less in an environment of uncertainty in otherwise a depressed market, where the government is considering how to realize a promise of free education, and equally collection of fees is not meeting revenue needs.

Next-generation cloud

As much as it may seem beyond universities’ reach, a shift to the cloud will help to alleviate this burden. With Oracle’s new Generation 2 Cloud, it is possible to reach a customer’s desired outcome, and have systems up and running in just three to four months.

Previously, that journey – which requires an understanding of an institution’s priorities, legacy system investment, etc., would take 12 to 18 months. Universities can return quickly to service delivery, and be in an overall better position to market themselves as progressive and competitive education providers in South Africa and the world.

Another advantage of next-generation cloud is that it is truly scalable and elastic, adjusting immediately to accommodate fluctuating workload requirements, and optimizing spend, as customers, only pay for resources used.

This is especially beneficial for educational institutions, which have “seasonal” needs, different over semesters and holiday periods.

At the same time, with greater elasticity and liberation from on-premise requirements, the cloud enables tertiary institutions to meet the educational needs of more students, without the need for more teaching resources. Cloud effortlessly provides e-learning to physically remote, and infrastructure deprived, learners who now simply require an internet connection to access digital class materials and other resources.

Universities are not IT businesses, of course, and precious staff resources should be focused on the high-value task of advancing the university, and its attractiveness, instead of mundane tasks centered around technology. With embedded AI and machine learning capabilities, Gen 2 cloud provides this benefit.

Cloud computing solutions

For example, the University of Adelaide now uses two chatbots – underpinned by cloud computing power – to streamline application queries for thousands of Australian and international students.

Instead of jamming university call centre lines during business hours, and waiting for hours in a queue, students can determine their eligibility 24/7 via a three-minute interaction with a Facebook chatbot and Oracle Digital Assistant, respectively. Those students who do seek out human interaction enjoy longer periods of focused attention.

Closer to home, Stellenbosch University is overhauling its outdated academic and financial systems, adopting new cloud-based solutions that support scalable, reliable and integrated information ecosystems. Students will enjoy greater self-service options when managing their academic curricula.

Meanwhile, university staff can achieve greater efficiency by using functions more closely aligned with contemporary, individual ways of working, combined with access to real-time, multi-dimensional analytics and reporting.

As with every organization, for an educational institution to thrive and grow, employees must be equipped to focus on their areas of expertise and work more efficiently. They should not lose chunks of their workday to mundane tasks, such as security updates in the case of IT staff.

Yet, with the average cost of a data breach in South Africa nearly R50 million, according to the Ponemon Institute, such functions cannot be a shortcut – especially at financially vulnerable universities. Higher education providers are a growing target for cybercriminals, attracted by the comparative ease of accessing the disparate, older systems of these organizations.

In addition to encrypting all data by default, next-generation cloud mitigates this costly concern, thanks to embedded AI and machine learning capabilities. Autonomous cloud essentially runs itself, self-updating, self-securing and removing the ability for human error and system vulnerabilities to be exploited.

It also learns the behaviour of all users so that it can easily recognize and act on anomalies, such as the same user logging in from two places minutes apart.

One final point to make is that the cloud not only helps universities optimize their spend but also fulfils their mandate of producing work-ready young professionals for the Digital Age.

Just launched worldwide, Oracle Cloud Free Tier is a set of always free, non-contractual cloud services including Autonomous Database, which allows students, educators, IT professionals and others to access the same full functionality as Oracle paid services with no time limit.

Potential customers are encouraged to play with the technology, exploring how it can bolster their organization’s performance, while students get hands-experience with contemporary business essentials.

It is true that entering the cloud world comes with substantial cost outlay. However, the journey is a partnership the whole way, and in addition to immediate performance benefits, customers see continually increased savings as they progress.

Further providing a level of cost containment are simplified and flexible purchasing and consumption models, such as the ability to migrate your on-premise license with you to the cloud. There are multiple ways to maximize the value organizations receive from the cloud, and for future-minded educational institutions, the time to embrace the shift is now.

Gomedi Makhongoana is Technology Public Sector Director at Oracle South Africa

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[Column] Gomedi Makhongoana: How cloud can help educational institutions

With the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, paired with worrying skills shortages, the pressure is on universities and other tertiary education institutions in South Africa to admit more students.

The key to expanding access is affordable education – as highlighted by the #FeesMustFall movement – but how are institutions supposed to meet this crucial socio-economic need while managing their ever-mounting expenditure, and swelling student numbers?

The adoption of next-generation cloud technology is proving to be an effective cost-cutting strategy for all sectors, and it has a special value for educational institutions in helping to keep tuition costs down.

To clarify, the vast majority of higher learning institutions recognize the need for digital migration as a contemporary operational essential but find themselves sinking a substantial amount of resources into preserving repository legacy systems.

This is because these databases are the only repositories for hard-to-move student data, in line with data retention compliance requirements.

Making things even more challenging is the necessity to do more with less in an environment of uncertainty in otherwise a depressed market, where the government is considering how to realize a promise of free education, and equally collection of fees is not meeting revenue needs.

Next-generation cloud

As much as it may seem beyond universities’ reach, a shift to the cloud will help to alleviate this burden. With Oracle’s new Generation 2 Cloud, it is possible to reach a customer’s desired outcome, and have systems up and running in just three to four months.

Previously, that journey – which requires an understanding of an institution’s priorities, legacy system investment, etc., would take 12 to 18 months. Universities can return quickly to service delivery, and be in an overall better position to market themselves as progressive and competitive education providers in South Africa and the world.

Another advantage of next-generation cloud is that it is truly scalable and elastic, adjusting immediately to accommodate fluctuating workload requirements, and optimizing spend, as customers, only pay for resources used.

This is especially beneficial for educational institutions, which have “seasonal” needs, different over semesters and holiday periods.

At the same time, with greater elasticity and liberation from on-premise requirements, the cloud enables tertiary institutions to meet the educational needs of more students, without the need for more teaching resources. Cloud effortlessly provides e-learning to physically remote, and infrastructure deprived, learners who now simply require an internet connection to access digital class materials and other resources.

Universities are not IT businesses, of course, and precious staff resources should be focused on the high-value task of advancing the university, and its attractiveness, instead of mundane tasks centered around technology. With embedded AI and machine learning capabilities, Gen 2 cloud provides this benefit.

Cloud computing solutions

For example, the University of Adelaide now uses two chatbots – underpinned by cloud computing power – to streamline application queries for thousands of Australian and international students.

Instead of jamming university call centre lines during business hours, and waiting for hours in a queue, students can determine their eligibility 24/7 via a three-minute interaction with a Facebook chatbot and Oracle Digital Assistant, respectively. Those students who do seek out human interaction enjoy longer periods of focused attention.

Closer to home, Stellenbosch University is overhauling its outdated academic and financial systems, adopting new cloud-based solutions that support scalable, reliable and integrated information ecosystems. Students will enjoy greater self-service options when managing their academic curricula.

Meanwhile, university staff can achieve greater efficiency by using functions more closely aligned with contemporary, individual ways of working, combined with access to real-time, multi-dimensional analytics and reporting.

As with every organization, for an educational institution to thrive and grow, employees must be equipped to focus on their areas of expertise and work more efficiently. They should not lose chunks of their workday to mundane tasks, such as security updates in the case of IT staff.

Yet, with the average cost of a data breach in South Africa nearly R50 million, according to the Ponemon Institute, such functions cannot be a shortcut – especially at financially vulnerable universities. Higher education providers are a growing target for cybercriminals, attracted by the comparative ease of accessing the disparate, older systems of these organizations.

In addition to encrypting all data by default, next-generation cloud mitigates this costly concern, thanks to embedded AI and machine learning capabilities. Autonomous cloud essentially runs itself, self-updating, self-securing and removing the ability for human error and system vulnerabilities to be exploited.

It also learns the behaviour of all users so that it can easily recognize and act on anomalies, such as the same user logging in from two places minutes apart.

One final point to make is that the cloud not only helps universities optimize their spend but also fulfils their mandate of producing work-ready young professionals for the Digital Age.

Just launched worldwide, Oracle Cloud Free Tier is a set of always free, non-contractual cloud services including Autonomous Database, which allows students, educators, IT professionals and others to access the same full functionality as Oracle paid services with no time limit.

Potential customers are encouraged to play with the technology, exploring how it can bolster their organization’s performance, while students get hands-experience with contemporary business essentials.

It is true that entering the cloud world comes with substantial cost outlay. However, the journey is a partnership the whole way, and in addition to immediate performance benefits, customers see continually increased savings as they progress.

Further providing a level of cost containment are simplified and flexible purchasing and consumption models, such as the ability to migrate your on-premise license with you to the cloud. There are multiple ways to maximize the value organizations receive from the cloud, and for future-minded educational institutions, the time to embrace the shift is now.

Gomedi Makhongoana is Technology Public Sector Director at Oracle South Africa

Hybrid cloud future bright with businesses picking it as their ideal IT operating model, report

Nutanix, Inc. a player in enterprise cloud computing, has announced the findings of its second global Enterprise Cloud Index survey and research report, which measures enterprise progress with adopting private, hybrid and public clouds.

The new report found enterprises plan to aggressively shift investment to hybrid cloud architectures, with respondents reporting steady and substantial hybrid deployment plans over the next five years. The vast majority of 2019 survey respondents (85 per cent) selected hybrid cloud as their ideal IT operating model.

For the second consecutive year, Vanson Bourne conducted research on behalf of Nutanix to learn about the state of global enterprise cloud deployments and adoption plans.

The researcher surveyed 2,650 IT decision-makers in 24 countries around the world about where they’re running their business applications today, where they plan to run them in the future, what their cloud challenges are, and how their cloud initiatives stack up against other IT projects and priorities.

 The 2019 respondent base spanned multiple industries, business sizes, and the following geographies: the Americas; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and the Asia-Pacific (APJ) region.

This year’s report illustrated that creating and executing a cloud strategy has become a multidimensional challenge. At one time, a primary value proposition associated with the public cloud was substantial upfront capex savings.

Now, enterprises have discovered that there are other considerations when selecting the best cloud for the business as well, and that one size cloud strategy doesn’t fit all use cases. For example, while applications with unpredictable usage may be best suited to the public clouds offering elastic IT resources, workloads with more predictable characteristics can often run on-premises at a lower cost than public cloud.

Savings are also dependent on businesses’ ability to match each application to the appropriate cloud service and pricing tier, and to remain diligent about regularly reviewing service plans and fees, which change frequently.

In this ever-changing environment, flexibility is essential, and a hybrid cloud provides this choice. Other key findings from the report include:

Apps are migrating away from the public cloud back to on-premises infrastructures. Nearly three-fourths (73 per cent) of respondents reported that they are moving some applications off the public cloud and back on prem, and 22 per cent of those users are moving five or more applications.

 These moves underscore, in part, enterprises’ need for hybrid cloud’s flexibility in allowing them to adapt their infrastructures based on their fluctuating requirements. App mobility is critical, and more than nine in ten (95 per cent) respondents reported that it is essential or desirable to be able to easily move applications between cloud environments.

Security remains the biggest factor impacting enterprises’ future cloud strategies. Well over half of 2019 respondents (60 per cent) said that the state of security among clouds would have the biggest influence on their cloud deployment plans going forward.

Similarly, data security and compliance represented the top variable (26 per cent) in determining where an enterprise runs a given workload.

IT professionals deem the hybrid cloud the most secure of all the IT operating models. More than a quarter of respondents (28 per cent) picked the hybrid model as the most secure — substantially surpassing those who chose a fully private cloud/on-prem model (21 per cent) and more than twice as many as those who chose traditional (non-cloud-enabled) private data centers (13 per cent). One reason for this is perhaps because enterprises can select the right cloud for their security requirements.

Nearly a quarter (23.5 per cent) of respondents currently aren’t leveraging any cloud technology today.

 Many companies still fall behind when it comes to enterprise cloud adoption. However, respondents’ reported plans indicate that in one year’s time, the number of enterprises with no cloud deployments will plummet to 6.5 per cent and in two years’ time will drop by more than half to 3 per cent. Regionally, the Americas reported a slightly lower incidence of non-cloud use (21 per cent) compared to EMEA (25 per cent) and APJ (24 per cent).

Enterprises are striving to integrate cloud computing with their digital transformation goals. Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of 2019 respondents said digital transformation was driving their cloud implementations, and 64 per cent said that digital transformation was the top business priority in their organizations.

“As organizations continue to grapple with complex digital transformation initiatives, flexibility and security are critical components to enable seamless and reliable cloud adoption,” said Wendy M. Pfeiffer, CIO of Nutanix. “The enterprise has progressed in its understanding and adoption of hybrid cloud, but there is still work to do when it comes to reaping all of its benefits. In the next few years, we’ll see businesses rethinking how to best utilize hybrid cloud, including hiring for hybrid computing skills and reskilling IT teams to keep up with emerging technologies.”

“Cloud computing has become an integral part of business strategy, but it has introduced several challenges along with it,” said Ashish Nadkarni, group vice president of infrastructure systems, platforms and technologies at IDC. “These include security and application performance concerns and high cost. As the 2019 Enterprise Cloud Index report demonstrates, hybrid cloud will continue to be the best option for enterprises, enabling them to securely meet modernization and agility requirements for workloads.”

www.nutanix.com

[South Africa] Teraco welcomes VMware cloud

Teraco has announced that VMware Cloud is now available via VMWare Cloud Verified service providers in the Cape Town (CT1) and Johannesburg (JB1) data centre facilities. VMware Cloud provides the fastest and easiest way to migrate existing enterprise application workloads to the cloud. When you see the VMware Cloud Verified logo, you’ll know you can easily access the full set of capabilities of VMware’s Cloud Infrastructure.

Jan Hnizdo, CEO, Teraco, says that this collaboration will further expand business opportunities for clients already present within Teraco’s data centre facilities as they adopt a cloud-first approach for their existing and next-generation applications.

“With VMware Cloud now available within Teraco, enterprises can take advantage of private and secure multi-cloud connectivity, and quickly deploy hybrid cloud infrastructures. The premise of Teraco’s vendor neutral data centre offering is to serve local and global markets at the digital edge and through channels critical to the connected world we live in. VMware, as one of the world’s leading cloud providers, assists us in making our offering richer.”

Hnizdo says that through the Teraco cloud services ecosystem, the addition of VMware Cloud will further enhance the ability of service providers to deliver more innovative cloud strategies, ultimately delivering better business value and experience to clients. 

“The choice of Teraco’s digital infrastructure platform is critical for the enterprise when transforming and embracing digitalisation. It must enable scale, performance and security and assist in building digital architecture that provides resilient data centre services,” explains Hnizdo.

Together with Teraco, VMware’s expanded portfolio will enable service providers to deliver new cloud services for differentiation and, in turn, potential revenue growth, and create clouds that are developer ready and support modern applications.

Dave Funnell, Senior Manager Cloud Business at VMware, sub-Saharan Africa, says that VMWare is now being viewed as the ‘Switzerland of Cloud’ as it partners with the six major hyper-scalers as well as over 4,000 local cloud providers: “VMware’s goal is to continue being a strategic partner to our clients as they transform their business via accelerated application delivery. It encompasses providing the fastest and easiest way to migrate to the cloud, along with a platform for the management of the hybrid-multi cloud world that provides for both existing application environments, built on virtual machines, as well as the next generation built on containers. We provide freedom and choice to our clients as they adopt cloud, with the VMware Cloud Verified status providing confidence in the cloud provider they engage with.”

VMware Cloud within Teraco’s vendor neutral data centre facilities further supports the ambition to reach and assist the enterprise sector in developing and implementing successful cloud strategies: “We are excited to form part of the Teraco cloud ecosystem as we assist our clients in implementing their cloud journey” says Funnell.

www.teraco.co.za

CMC Networks and Neutrona Networks to provide cloud network services in Africa, Middle East and Latin America

Two of the most innovative carriers in the Southern Hemisphere, CMC Networks and Neutrona Networks, have reached an exclusive agreement to bring the benefits of additional scale and capabilities for customers doing business in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

“CMC and Neutrona have very similar operating models, offering world class solutions in historically difficult territories,” says Marisa Trisolino, CEO of CMC Networks. “This partnership reinforces CMC’s commitment to provide a one-stop approach servicing our customers’ needs on a global scale, while offering ‘second to none’ solutions that embrace next generation technology.”

“I’m excited by the opportunity to increase our ability to serve the world’s fastest growing digital marketplaces with the latest in ‘smart’ technologies designed to expand seamless connectivity for our global customers in these regions,” says Luciano Salata, president and co-founder of Neutrona Networks. “We have always viewed Neutrona as a ‘bridge’ into the Americas, and now that bridge just got a lot longer.”

Under the agreement, CMC will extend its footprint by adding more than 30 points of presence (PoPs) in Latin America. In return, Neutrona expands its reach with access to more than 100 PoPs throughout Africa and the Middle East. With the support of established “network to network interconnections” (NNIs) in Brazil and USA, both companies offer lower latency by providing a direct alternative to existing North American routes.

 They will also take advantage of cable systems that directly connect the Americas with Africa.

Each carrier’s respective SDN platforms, CMC’s C-RAN and Neutrona’s SHIFT, use complementary technologies enhanced by artificial intelligence to ensure applications are routed to meet required Service Level Agreements efficiently and without jitter, latency, and packet loss.

 The combined networks also allow real-time provisioning and activation for a seamless customer experience across three continents.

The new agreement promises to offer the world’s first intercontinental network connection across the Southern Hemisphere with the ability to scale to over 140 points of presence in 80 countries. It also brings together two companies who share similar philosophies.

“The ethos of both CMC and Neutrona is built around customer experience, digital transformation and innovation,” says Trisolino. “Each company is a regional leader in providing SD-WAN and access to Cloud services, so we are in an excellent position to drive collaboration and innovation in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.”

www.cmcnetworks.net

www.neutrona.com

Kaspersky named as Strong Performer in evaluation of cloud security solutions

Kaspersky has been named as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Cloud Workload Security (CWS), Q4 2019. The company’s solution, Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security, received the status after achieving the highest scores possible in 13 criteria, including hypervisor protection, the scalability of hypervisor protection and the strategy around hypervisor protection.

The Forrester Wave is a guide for businesses that are considering their purchase options in a technology marketplace. By evaluating vendors and their products against a clear set of criteria, Forrester objectively ranks technology solutions to demonstrate the performance of their offering, strategy and market presence. Prospective customers can then compare different vendors independently, across a variety of metrics.

According to the Forrester report, ‘Kaspersky offers a versatile and technologically competent CWS solution. The solution provides comprehensive user management capabilities, has strong guest OS level support and has an effective remediation policy set against hardening standards’. The report also noted that the solution provides ‘one of the strongest memory protection and file integrity monitoring capabilities across vendors in this Wave’.

 “We are delighted to be named as a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave CWS evaluation. Receiving this recognition validates that our efforts are going in the right direction. Forrester Wave also recognised Kaspersky’s plans to develop API control for IaaS and PaaS with the highest possible score, which aligns with our priority to continue product development to meet the needs of our customers and partners. For instance, in the next product update, we plan to expand protection functions for Linux, as well as bring more management capabilities for data centers and managed service providers,” comments Sergey Martsynkyan, Head of B2B Product Marketing, Kaspersky.

Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security was launched in 2018 to provide customers with a combination of protection technologies and visibility for virtualization, private and public cloud environments. The solution offers multiple layers of protection including behaviour detection, exploit prevention and anti-ransomware, as well as various security controls – to ensure safety of data and workloads in the cloud. No less important is the seamless orchestration through the single console, to manage security of the entire cloud environment.

www.kaspersky.co.za

[Column] Nick Durrant: New app trends that will help businesses succeed in 2020

Mobile apps are reshaping all industries and business leaders need to quickly adopt the latest mobile app trends in order to succeed in 2020. It is also critical for businesses to integrate the latest mobile app development technologies in order to reach a wider target audience and more importantly, to gain growth.

The innovations in mobile app development will impact all the online digital business products globally. According to Gartner, by 2023 more than 25% of the mobile apps, progressive web apps and conversational apps at large enterprises will be built or run through a multi-experience development platform.

Bluegrass Digital CEO Nick Durrant says by merely implementing the right strategy will not necessarily ensure a higher success rate because the mobile app industry is changing rapidly. “So, to keep abreast with the ever-increasing customer demands, it is crucial for businesses to incorporate the latest mobile app trends.”

He says new technologies are gaining popularity making it more efficient to build and maintain apps such as the growing popularity of Facebook’s React Native and Google’s Flutter.

Here is a list of some key mobile app development trends to consider:

Application Performance Management (APM)

APM helps boost the overall app performance and has become a preferred tool of quality assurance testers for the app testing process.

Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM)

EMM helps streamline the mobile computing business processes, it’s a platform that enables businesses to securely authorise mobile devices that are being used by employees on the company network. It not only strengthens the security structure but also helps staff to be more productive by enabling the exchange of applications and data over mobile devices.

Beacon technology

Beacon technology is one of the biggest mobile app trends, it is being embraced by many industries for its location technology and proximity marketing functionality. Beacons are wireless transmitters that make use of Bluetooth technology to send signals.

5G technology

With speeds nearly 100 times faster than 4G, 5G technology will most likely be one of the top trends in mobile app development in 2020. Mobile companies like Samsung and Verizon are already launching their dedicated 5G-capable chips and LG is also planning to fuse 5G services into its devices. With such an array 5G services, mobile app developers need to design apps to take advantage of faster network speeds with enhanced performance.

Wearable devices

Wearable devices such as smartwatches, fitness bands and trackers have been around for some time already. They are changing the way people interact with smart devices. In a report by Statista, it claims a staggering revenue of $33 billion generated by wearable devices by 2019. Surprisingly, many apps still don’t integrate with wearable devices.

Mobile app developers must keep an option to integrate apps with wearable devices. They require a set platform to run e.g. Apple Watch requires WatchOS and Android smartwatches sync with WearOS. Wearable devices will also be less dependent on the smartphone, currently, it still needs to be kept close to the smartphone to function.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI has seen a significant breakthrough in new technology in mobile application development. AI has not only made the mobile apps smarter, but it saves the mobile app development company a huge amount of time, effort and money. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the AI market will experience revenue growth of more than $47 billion by 2020.

Internet of Things (IoT)

By the end of 2019, global Internet of Things (IoT) sales were expected to reach $1.71 trillion and by 2020, the total number of IoT devices should reach 20 billion. This convenience has already become a mobile app requirement, developers need to make apps IoT friendly.

Augmented reality (AR)

In 2020, AR integration will be an essential step for the mobile app development industry. Google and Apple used AR platforms for adding AR capabilities to their apps. There are many apps like Ikea that are already using the technology to enhance the user experience. Snapchat and Instagram have already been using AR for some time already, the stickers and animations are only possible through the AR technology.

Blockchain technology

Blockchain technology is already been used by many payment apps for providing trustable and uncompromised safety during transactions. Blockchain has surprisingly entered the mobile payment market and is offering a more secured money transaction option for mobile users. Online banking and eCommerce has evolved enormously, but with the advent of Apple Pay and Google Wallet, customers are gradually shifting to m-commerce.

Payment gateways

Businesses need to integrate a payment gateway into their apps. Mobile giants like Samsung are working on enhanced scan and pay techniques to make mobile payments more convenient. Apple is also working on a peer-to-peer money payment system called Apple Pay.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Developed by Google in collaboration with Twitter, AMP is a lean version of HTML to accelerate the speed of mobile pages. AMP enables mobile app developers to create complex websites with fast loading speeds and high performance across all mobile devices.

Google has integrated AMP listings into its mobile search results, it has helped developers reduce web page loading time. With a good AMP score, businesses can now achieve a better conversion rate, reduce the bounce rate and increase user retention. It will also boost the user experience. Google will also soon be providing a mobile search box that will help users find mobile-friendly websites.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a key aspect of all mobile app developments and will continue to dominate this space. Business leaders should explore deception technologies to catch the staff that have defiled the company’s network. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has also increased the risk of mobile apps being attacked. It means mobile app developers need to work on the app security from the beginning and use a different approach.

Also, with more apps including a payment or money transaction feature, means a more robust security infrastructure. Developers now need to embed code encryptions, secure backend and API, and also include trusted payment gateways to ensure user safety over the app.

Chatbots

With nearly 5 million apps available, there are very few that have incorporated chatbots to facilitate better user experience. Businesses need to integrate this trend in their apps to ensure future growth, chatbots are crucial and welcomed by the users. Mobile apps that offer online shopping and food delivery services are integrating chatbots to help consumers get common queries answered without having to contact customer support.

According to Gartner, chatbots will be saving $8 billion for companies between 2018 and 2020. Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant are already much smarter and have many new features that help simplify people’s lives by assisting them in their day to day tasks.

Cloud technologies

To make the app function seamlessly across multiple platforms, businesses need to ensure that their apps integrate cloud technology in their app development strategy. Cloud technology will also ensure streamlined operations, reduced hosting and equipment costs and enhanced storage capacity.

Cloud computing integration also helps mobile apps store large amounts of data more efficiently to carry out complex tasks. Cloud storage platforms like AWS, Dropbox and SlideRocket have made it possible to run an app directly in the cloud, they help in increasing the reliability, speed, processing power and security of the apps and enable apps to deal with large amounts of data.

Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics can be used to make future predictions by analysing existing data, it uses techniques from data mining, machine learning, AI, statistics and modelling. Tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook have already enhanced the customer experience by integrating AI to use predictive analytics.

“The mobile app industry will continue to expand at a rapid pace and the competition will grow exponentially, especially amongst mobile app developers. It is therefore critical to understand the trends before developing a new app. One also needs to understand the benefits and limitations of every new technology in mobile app development,” he concludes.

Nick Durrant is the CEO of Bluegrass Digital, South Africa.