[Column] Brandon Rochat: Extending XDR to the Cloud

Can you rely on the big providers for detection and response in a cloud-first world? Looking back, organisations once relied on internal networks with internal applications. But as companies began to invest in their cloud journeys, moving applications and data online, the need for extended detection and response – or XDR – became apparent.

The evolution of detection and response has gone from signature-based anti-virus solutions (AVs) to intelligence-based or next-generation AVs at the EPP layer. The DR layer has become increasingly complex using technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analysis, automation and security threat feeds in the background to stay ahead of threat actors.

Detection and response has gained a lot more intelligence over the years because our adversaries have gained more intelligence. Companies need to be just as many steps closer to cybercriminals – or beyond them – when it comes to detecting and responding.

But it is not cloud which is changing detection and response: The concept of detection and response doesn’t change whether you’re on-cloud or on-network, it’s where the customers are moving to that matters most. What many businesses fail to realise is that being in the cloud isn’t more secure or cheaper.

As companies shift their core applications, data and workloads to the cloud, they will still need to invest in detection and response solutions, solutions that reduce the time it takes to investigate and recover from enterprise-wide cyberattacks. 

Most big cloud providers have a shared responsibility model. What this means is that your security team still maintains some level of responsibility. The cloud provider will physically secure your technology and equipment but not necessarily your data. If you don’t read the Ts and Cs, you may be caught out.

What is the responsibility of the cloud provider and what responsibility lies with the end user, your security team, your CISO?

While the cloud is secure, detection and response remains critical, especially when it comes to compliance (be it GDPR or even the POPI Act). Data needs to be protected in accordance with laws and industry standards and extending detection and response to the cloud in today’s security landscape requires XDR – being able to succinctly analyse different threat feeds as quickly as possible in order to deliver the right information to security analysts.

We call it a malicious operation. It doesn’t make a difference where the data is coming from – firewalls, a cloud application, an internet of things device – it’s how you deal with it. When you partner with the right people, detection and response is not a difficult part of the cloud journey. When business operations move to the cloud, it’s important to question how security operations will become affected. What will your security landscape look like?

As cybercriminals become smarter, the security landscape becomes more complicated. Defending an organisation against threat actors is increasingly complex when the perimeter keeps shifting. While the coronavirus created a perimeter shift with so many people working from home, cloud started the concept.

The perimeter is getting further and further away from traditional security. Firewalls are no longer the most important security piece in your network. The endpoints are becoming a bigger problem – they’re evolving and no longer sit inside a traditional network. It’s creating complexity, not necessary for the security industry but for companies who have taken their data to the cloud.

Ultimately, XDR is not just for the cloud. It is for anywhere that there is an endpoint connected that could be a threat because the endpoint is anywhere the user is. This is also why companies like Google, are collaborating with and investing in external security vendors to improve their detect and response capabilities.

It is complex, especially if you’ve been working with legacy security solutions that can’t walk that cloud journey with you. But it is important to remember that the cloud is just a journey that corporates and customers are moving towards. Detection and response needs to follow.

Brandon Rochat is the sales director for Africa at Cybereason.

Trends shaping the public cloud market in South Africa are setting the scene for business growth, says IDC

The IDC South African Public Cloud Market study 2021-2025 found that one word defined the future – momentum. Cloud deployments underwent rapid growth in 2020 as enterprises raced to connect geographically dispersed workforces and build digitally robust business processes so they could survive the unexpected uncertainty. For most decision-makers, the past 18 months have been defined by transformed digital roadmaps, reprioritisation of budgets, and cutting CAPEX to embed agility and ensure sustainability. According to Jon Tullett, Senior Research Manager at IDC Sub-Saharan Africa, the next five years will see more workloads move to the public and private clouds as momentum builds towards further adoption, and that this presents opportunities for organisations and service providers alike.

“Service providers need to position themselves to catch customers as they pivot and accelerate, to ensure that they are in a place to take advantage of this momentum,” he adds. “Those that can offer solutions and approaches that fully leverage existing business investment and that allow for companies to better adapt to the short- and long-term changes brought by the pandemic are those that are likely to get the best seats in the house.”

The most stand-out trend shaping the public cloud market today is the extremely rapid adoption of public cloud services thanks to the pandemic. Over the next 6 to 12 months, this is likely to introduce greater complexity such as the widespread adoption of multiple platforms within organisations and the need to mature these platforms and investments to squeeze out their full value. Speed of adoption is unlikely to slow down thanks to the tidal effect – more applications will migrate to the cloud and, as they move, IT will likely move other parts of the ecosystem along with them – and neither will the organisation’s drive to cut costs and get more value for money.

“This movement towards the public cloud is not new, it has been around for years, but the pressure of the past year drove increased speeds to adoption for obvious reasons,” says Tullett. “Companies had to make sudden and sweeping changes to business practices and their infrastructure to ensure they could manage operations effectively in the remote workplace.”

Accelerating public cloud service adoption was an effective way of achieving productivity and collaboration in a shut-down world, and it allowed for the improved management of costs thanks to the usage-based models provided by public cloud services. A win-win. But one that cannot be left to rest on its proverbial laurels. Organisations need to start thinking about their infrastructure in terms of the cloud, regardless of location, and how they can get more from it.

“Instead of asking how the cloud will complement on-premise infrastructure, corporate conversations are now turning to how legacy infrastructure can be aligned with cloud-era applications,” says Tullett. “This isn’t restricted to private or public cloud but is more about adopting a different approach to deployment, scaling, integration, costing, and all the operational considerations that come with managing enterprise applications.”

However, despite the pressures put on companies by the pandemic and the evolving workforce that has emerged from the ashes of this complexity, many companies are still resistant to this change. There are still there are concerns that linger around data governance and compliance, which are security and skills, and the complexities that go hand-in-hand with migrating applications to the cloud.

“It can be daunting for some companies to step into this cloud infrastructure and leave their trusted and traditional systems behind,” says Tullett. “This is once again where service providers can translate the challenges into opportunities. If they collaborate with companies to assuage their concerns, then they can create new ways of working together, such as in delivering hybrid cloud management solutions, or providing security as a managed service.”

For those companies still sitting on that fence, as uncomfortable as that may be in the digital-first world right now, it’s important to unpack the benefits that come with the move to the public cloud. For the service provider, it’s a chance to build new frameworks, deliver new services, and meet customers on the very edge of the digital battlefield. For the business, there is the proven value of agility that comes with cloud – it’s got the flex the enterprise needs to shift strategy in the face of the unexpected or uncertainty.  The ability to make immediate and relevant adjustments to IT and business strategies on demand was underscored over 2020 and 2021, and the cloud was the cornerstone in helping companies to adapt.

“As organisations move out of the pandemic and look to take advantage of new opportunities, their focus will shift from a defensive posture to an expansive one and IT will be expected to support this shift with new capabilities such as automation, analytics, and agile deployment,” concludes Tullett. “And cloud will be an inevitable part of those capabilities.”

www.idc.co.za

Cloud and Data Centre Provider Digital Realty To acquire Medallion Data Centres in Nigeria

Digital Realty has announced plans to acquire Medallion Data Centres, Nigeria’s leading colocation and interconnection provider.

The global provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral data center, colocation, and interconnection solutions will aquire Medallion through a joint venture with Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund. Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund is a joint initiative established by Remgro, Phuthuma Nhleko and the investment team, based in Johannesburg.

Medallion operates two data centers, one in Lagos, the most populous urban metropolitan area in Africa with approximately 15 million people, and one in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.  Medallion’s Lagos data center is the leading connectivity hub in Western Africa with over 70 carriers and internet service providers, over 80% of the public peering traffic on the Nigerian Internet Exchange, and a peering point for all subsea cables currently operating in Nigeria with plans to serve as a peering point for the nine new subsea cables scheduled to be in operation in Lagos by 2023.

As part of the transaction, the joint venture is also acquiring a land parcel adjacent to the Lagos data center to provide near-term expansion capacity.  Medallion’s management team, led by CEO and co-founder Ike Nnamani, will continue to lead the business.

Separately, Digital Realty and Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund have successfully partnered with Kenyan data center operator iColo since 2019, and iColo announced today that it will enter Mozambique through the development of its first data center in the country, located in the capital and port city of Maputo.

“Over the next decade, there will be huge opportunity for global businesses to tap into Africa’s expanding internet economy – with predictions that it could reach 5.2% of the continent’s GDP by 2025, contributing nearly $180 billion to its economy (up from $115 billion in 2020).  By 2050, the internet economy has the potential to contribute $712 billion1.  Through major investment in the continent’s internet infrastructure, Digital Realty aims to be a core enabler of these economic and quality of life gains. ” William Stein, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Realty said.

“There is a huge opportunity to both meet growing customer demand for connectivity in Africa and improve the internet infrastructure that serves over one billion people2 who don’t yet have proper access to the benefits of internet.  The expansion of our platform announced today is a leap forward but it’s just the start of our $500 million commitment to investment in the continent over the next decade.  We see a huge opportunity to underpin Africa’s expanding internet economy and play a central role in its growth.” he added.

The iColo campus in Mombasa was recently expanded to deliver an additional 1.6 megawatts of power and 12,900 square feet of capacity for new and existing customers, along with the new subsea cable landing equipment.  In addition, iColo has expanded its Nairobi campus with the acquisition of an additional 215,000 square feet of land that will support 14 megawatts of future data center capacity.

Africa is evolving into a major interconnection hub for data-driven businesses that require a scalable, future-proof platform to facilitate global hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure.  The deployment of PlatformDIGITAL®, Digital Realty’s market-leading global data center platform, across Africa will enable multinational and local businesses to rapidly scale their digital transformations by deploying critical infrastructure with a leading global data center provider at the heart of a growing connected data community in the region.

www.medallion.ng

www.digitalrealty.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is transforming healthcare in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that many healthcare organizations do not have the necessary agility and business continuity programs or technologies to support them during crises. It is forcing businesses to act on cloud and digital transformation strategies that they had been delaying until now.

In healthcare, cloud computing is applied to overcome two major industry challenges: increasing cost-effectiveness and building a self-sufficient health ecosystem.

Cloud computing, along with increasingly ubiquitous digital tools for collection, aggregation, and analysis of health data, according to Christopher A. LeGrand, CEO, BroadReach Group, offers substantial potential to help the African continent leapfrog many more mature systems in transforming healthcare and improving health outcomes. 

Findings from a study on Leveraging cloud computing for improved health service delivery conducted in Kisumu County in Kenya revealed that cloud computing had been adopted by 42 (53%) while Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service implementations were at 100%, 0% and 5% among adopters, respectively.

‘’Overall, those who had adopted cloud computing realized a significantly higher number of benefits to health service delivery compared to those who had not’’ the study notes.

Cloud computing has enabled the development of various e-healthcare platforms. The best examples, Kevin Rombosia, a healthcare leader and geospatial epidemiologist, says in an article published on Business Daily are the development of applications that enable a patient using a smartphone to access clinic consultation, laboratory services, diagnostics, and pharmacy services from the comfort of their homes. ‘’These platforms enable the storage of patient’s medical records such as past medical histories in the cloud and can be retrieved on demand. This is critical for the continuity of clinical care.’’ He says.

The continent has one of the greatest healthcare challenges in the world. Integrating cloud technology in current health care strategies, therefore, provides new ways of healthcare in Africa. This facilitates and engages the system, the health care professionals, and the patients.

According to a recent report by market research solution Reportlinker, the revenue of the global healthcare cloud computing market is expected to reach $52.30 billion by 2026 up from $11.59 billion in 2020, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28.5 percent during the period. The main growth factors till 2026 the report says include increased adoption of Software as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud service, with a market share of 63.7% in 2020, owing to the increasing number of providers and payors migrating toward more SaaS healthcare computing services to manage the growth inpatient data.

The bottom line, the cloud is more critical than ever in helping healthcare providers respond to the pandemic and prepare for future disruptions.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa

[Column] James Bayhack: How mobile service cloud can transform customer experience

Service, service, service. That’s been the call for businesses that want to keep their clients happy and turn one-time customers into lifelong fans. Now, however, the focus has moved to brilliant customer experience. But what does this mean? And why are we seeing the shift?  

Think about how you do business today compared to just a few years ago. Customer service was measured by metrics like how many rings there were before your service department answered. In addition, were your retail staff smiling and pleasant, and did your team respond to a customer email timeously? While customer service is still crucial, there’s a lot more to it in today’s multilayered, omnichannel world of business. 

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company or brand.  

From navigating the website to contacting customer service and receiving the product that they ordered, customer experience is the sum of every interaction the customer has with your company. It impacts their feelings and emotions, encompassing their entire customer journey. It also determines whether or not they come back. 

A recent report by integrated customer experience company Ajua found that 81% of Kenyan companies with strong capabilities for delivering customer experience are outperforming their competition. By contrast, 91% of customers will not do business with a company a second time if their first experience is negative.

Findings also suggested that certain industries have upped their CX game and are experiencing growth even in a pandemic. These include banking, insurance, retail, and food and beverage. In the Telco space, Safaricom ranked top in terms of customer experience.

So, some companies are getting it right. Now, the question is, how can you do the same? With such a broad range of expectations, how can you narrow down the most critical factors and eliminate friction where it matters most? You’ll be thrilled to know we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and the easiest solution lies in mobile service cloud.

Here’s how this smart technology helps to solve the most common customer issues.

Creating bulletproof CX in 6 key steps

Omnichannel Inbox

In a single, convenient inbox, you can manage conversations from all channels. This solves the issue of long wait times when customers have a problem or question as it places all communication in one place for easy reference and super-fast response.

It’s common for many customers to conduct research before purchasing something from your company, and checking different platforms is one way of doing this. Whether they trust you or not depends on the quality of information they find and your responses along the way. 

An omnichannel inbox allows you to deliver a brilliant customer experience on all channels. Don’t you agree that it looks unprofessional if you respond quickly via live chat but not at all via Facebook? When customers receive excellent service, they will tell their colleagues and friends about it.

Communication Stream

It’s important to communicate with customers wherever they feel comfortable and wherever they are likely to be. 

Remember, CX is built on the somewhat fickle foundation of customer perception. What makes one person irate may not bother another, so it makes sense to cover all bases. Communication can make or break your CX. Lengthy delays, inefficient processes, or insufficient access to information will have your customers rolling their eyes in frustration. 

Customer experience is about strengthening relationships with customers and building bonds through the use of technology.

Chatbots

It used to be considered bad form to chat with a customer via text or any automated platform, but today it’s the norm. In fact, it’s expected. 

Streamline repetitive tasks by automating them. Our system allows you to create your own chatbot to automate conversations and implement quick replies. Your team can serve customers better and more efficiently if you make service easier and faster for them, without weighing them down with unnecessary and unproductive conversations.

Chatbots can reflect the personality of your brand, answer FAQs, and direct customers to where they need to be. Fast. A super-efficient addition to your customer service team, they don’t require sleep so they’re even more perfect for those after-hours shoppers. Your customers will benefit from swift response times for quick questions or enjoy assistance from stress-free and focused staff.

Team Collaboration

The problem of disjointed communication between internal and external teams ends here, as do many customer frustrations.

Remote employees, global time differences, and communication with external parties can get messy and negatively impact your SLAs. And really, your internal communication choices shouldn’t impact your customer’s experience, should they?

Mobile service cloud alleviates this problem by bringing all players together in one place, allowing conversations to be automatically assigned based on skills, or snoozing conversations as needed. It’s like putting everyone in the same room at the same time, relegating forgotten messages or misplaced communication to a thing of the past.

Customer Profile

Develop customer profiles based on data from your CRM or Customer Data Platform. The integration of systems enables you to provide customers with a quicker, more personal service experience.

Data can be displayed right next to the customer’s questions, so there’s no need to search across multiple systems. Improve customer profiles by including all available data and getting more insights about customer impact.

This key area grants your team the information they need to assist a customer, no matter what platform they come from. All data is immediately available to all employees no matter where they are, which, let’s face it, makes you look good!

Statistics

Customers are the lifeblood of a business. This is why corporations are concentrating on how to develop new business and, importantly, retain existing customers. However, if you don’t know where a problem lies, you won’t know how to fix it. 

Identifying and addressing customer issues can be prevented by using reporting tools that uncover metrics that directly impact your business. Other vital statistics such as ‘response time’ or ‘availability’ highlight how your team is coping with their responsibilities and where improvements can be made. The data in these reports is invaluable to improving customer experience and deep-diving into customer experience metrics.

As effective as your management team may be, they can’t be omnipresent. But having real-time access to your channels, your team, business partners, and any other stakeholders you care to track gives you information worth its weight in gold. 

Boost customer service today!

Businesses that adopt a customer experience strategy enjoy success in key areas: their churn rates are reduced, they increase brand loyalty, and revenues are increased. Surely those advantages are worth exploring?

Ultimately, good customer experiences are the most effective form of marketing with the highest ROI. Successful businesses are simply those with happy customers.

ames Bayhack is the Director of sub-Saharan Africa at CM.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Data centres are a growing investment opportunity in Africa

Last week, Global software giant Oracle announced that it has chosen Johannesburg as the site of its first African data centre. Joburg will be among the 14 locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America that the company says it plans to open cloud regions to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services.

This announcement came at a time when the demand for data centers in Africa continues to rise.  According to Gartner, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) data centre market, which includes cloud services, will see spending reach US$5.4 billion in 2022, driven by Digital Transformation initiatives across the region as well as growth in Internet penetration. In addition, industry leaders. believe that projected investment growth in data centre projects is influenced by a growing demand for higher-performance networks, increased management efficiency and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, as we have highlighted in a previous column,  Africa is suited to jump to the cloud more than its peersCloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes.

BitTitan, a provider of cloud migrations and managed services automation solutions, has also noted that there is a massive migration to the cloud by organisations in the Middle East and Africa.

“We have seen a growing trend in mergers and divestments as a result of the changing business dynamics brought about by the pandemic. Our data on migration project types in Americas and Europe have shown that this leads to increased activity and the trend is only growing. This will be a regular scenario soon in the Middle East as migrations do not stop after clients have been moved to the cloud,” said Antti Ålander, Channel Manager – EMEA, BitTitan said in an article published by Intelligent CIO.

Last week, US group Vantage Data Centres also announced that it is investing more than 15 billion rand ($1 billion) in its first African campus in Johannesburg.  Vantage’s carrier‐neutral 80 megawatts-capacity facility will include 60,000 square metres of data space across three facilities in Johannesburg once fully developed, making it the largest in Africa, the company said in a statement.

Teraco Data Environments Proprietary Limited, Africa’s vendor-neutral data centre and interconnection services provider, recently also announced the completion of Phase 1 of CT2, its new hyperscale data centre in Brackenfell, Cape Town – the largest data centre in the Western Cape.

These increased investments in data centers in Africa is a clear indication that cloud adoption in the region has reached new heights.  In 2020, IT spending was hit hard by the pandemic and declined by 4.9% in the META region, according to IDC. The crisis caused by the pandemic, though, appears to have accelerated plans for digital transformation and related projects such as migration to cloud technology.

According to Knight Frank, Africa currently boasts just 140,000 sq m of data centre space, the same as Switzerland. However, rapid digitisation and the roll-out of 4G and 5G infrastructure across the continent means this is set to grow by 50% over the next five years.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[South Africa] Oracle To Build Its First African Data Centre In Joburg

Global software giant Oracle has announced that it has chosen Johannesburg as the site of its first African data centre.

Joburg will be among the 14 locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America that the company says it plans to open cloud regions to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services.

Upcoming cloud regions include Milan (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Marseille (France), Spain, Singapore (Singapore), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jerusalem (Israel), Mexico, and Colombia. Additional second regions will open in Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, and Chile.  Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider. 

Oracle provides a broad and consistent set of cloud services across 30 commercial and government cloud regions in 14 countries on five continents to serve its growing global customer base.  OCI currently operates 23 commercial regions and seven government regions, in addition to multiple dedicated and national security regions.

“Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has seen stellar growth over the past year,” said Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. 

“We’ve introduced several hundred new cloud services and features and are continuing to see organizations from around the world increasingly turn to OCI to run their most mission-critical workloads in the cloud.  With the additional Cloud regions, even more organizations will be able to use our cloud services to support their growth and overall success.”

To help customers build true business continuity and disaster protection, while helping them address their in-country data residence requirements, Oracle plans to establish at least two cloud regions in almost every country where it operates.  The U.S., Canada, U.K., South Korea, Japan, Brazil, India, and Australia already have two cloud regions.

Oracle says its strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling customers to keep data and services where they need it.  Customers can deploy Oracle Cloud completely within their own data centers with Dedicated Region and Exadata Cloud@Customer, deploy cloud services locally with public cloud-based management, or deploy cloud services remotely on the edge with Roving Edge Infrastructure.

www.oracle.com

[South Africa] Google Cloud and Cybereason Join Forces to Drive XDR Innovation

Cybereason, a leader in operation-centric cyber attack protection, and Google Cloud have announced a joint collaboration between the two companies to create and bring to market unprecedented Extended Detection and Response (XDR) across endpoints, networks, cloud and workspaces at record-setting speed.
 
Cybereason delivers the most comprehensive protection available on the market today, analysing more than 23 trillion security-related events per week — five times the volume of any other solution in the market. Using its patented Malicious Operations (MalOps™) engine, Cybereason reveals the full attack story across every device, user identity, application and cloud deployment.
 
Meanwhile Google Cloud’s cybersecurity analytics platform Chronicle ingests, normalises, and analyses petabytes of data from the complete IT environment on planetary-scale infrastructure.
 
The combination of these capabilities delivers a cloud-native XDR solution, Cybereason XDR powered by Chronicle, that automates prevention for common attacks, guides analysts through security operations and incident response, and enables threat hunting with precision at a pace never before achieved.
 
“Google Cloud’s ability to hunt through petabytes of data at the speed of search, combined with Cybereason’s revolutionary correlation capabilities and behavior-based detections delivers unparalleled speed and accuracy in the prevention, detection, and response of advanced attacks,” said Cybereason CEO and co-founder Lior Div.
 
“We founded Cybereason with a mission to reverse the attacker’s advantage and return the high ground to the defender, and we are excited to have Google Cloud partner with us in furthering the success of this mission.”
 
Cybereason has succeeded in protecting customers and experienced impressive growth over the last year, being recognised as a leading innovator by respected third-party organisations.

Where many solutions failed, Cybereason protected customers from headline-making attacks like SolarWinds, the Microsoft Exchange Server attacks, and crippling ransomware attacks from DarkSide, REvil and other ransomware gangs.
 
That level of protection is why Cybereason was recognised on the CNBC 2021 Disruptor 50 list, and received top scores across every aspect of testing in the MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK Evaluations.
 
“Google Cloud is dedicated to delivering the industry’s most trusted cloud to accelerate customers’ digital transformation efforts with security products that meet them wherever they are. Cybereason continues to disrupt the market and deliver on their vision for a future-ready extended detection and response defense platform,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud.
 
“We’re excited to partner with Cybereason to help customers quickly secure their hybrid and cloud environments with the combined capabilities of Google Cloud and Cybereason’s XDR services.”

www.cybereason.com

Oracle expands global cloud footprint to meet continued triple-digit growth

Oracle has announced plans to expand its cloud region footprint to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services worldwide.

Over the next year, Oracle will open 14 cloud regions with new locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Upcoming cloud regions include Milan (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Marseille (France), Spain, Singapore (Singapore), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jerusalem (Israel), Mexico, and Colombia.

 Additional second regions will open in Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, and Chile. Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider.

Oracle provides a broad and consistent set of cloud services across 30 commercial and government cloud regions in 14 countries on five continents to serve its growing global customer base. OCI currently operates 23 commercial regions and seven government regions, in addition to multiple dedicated and national security regions.

“Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has seen stellar growth over the past year,” said Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “We’ve introduced several hundred new cloud services and features and are continuing to see organizations from around the world increasingly turn to OCI to run their most mission-critical workloads in the cloud. With the additional Cloud regions, even more organizations will be able to use our cloud services to support their growth and overall success.”

To help customers build true business continuity and disaster protection, while helping them address their in-country data residence requirements, Oracle plans to establish at least two cloud regions in almost every country where it operates. The U.S., Canada, U.K., South Korea, Japan, Brazil, India, and Australia already have two cloud regions.

Oracle’s strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling customers to keep data and services where they need it. Customers can deploy Oracle Cloud completely within their own data centers with Dedicated Region and Exadata Cloud@Customer, deploy cloud services locally with public cloud-based management, or deploy cloud services remotely on the edge with Roving Edge Infrastructure.

High Availability, Disaster Protection, and Dual Region Cloud Strategy

OCI’s next-generation architecture provides a high-performing, resilient foundation for cloud services, while its physical and virtual network design maximizes performance and security. For example, each Oracle Cloud region contains at least three fault domains, which are groupings of hardware that form logical data centers for high availability and resilience to hardware and network failures. Some regions (Ashburn, Phoenix, Frankfurt, and London) provide further resilience to entire data centers through multiple availability domains (ADs), which each contain three fault domains.

For business continuity and compliance requirements, Oracle’s unique dual-region cloud strategy enables customers to deploy resilient applications in multiple geographically separated locations—without having sensitive data leave the country. To help customers plan data center deployments to meet application requirements and optimize their cloud infrastructure, OCI’s provides a no cost inter-region latency dashboard that provides insights into real-time and historical latency for Oracle Cloud regions around the globe.

Sustainability

Oracle is committed to sustainability and has pledged to power all Oracle Cloud regions worldwide with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Several Oracle Cloud regions, including regions in North America, South America, and Europe are already powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and all Oracle Cloud regions use state-of-the-art energy management and cooling technologies to minimize their impact on the environment.

As part of its renewable energy clean Cloud initiative, Oracle reused or recycled 99.6 percent of its retired hardware in FY21 while strictly adhering to Oracle’s data privacy and security practices.

Cloud Regions Deliver All Cloud Services and Multicloud

Oracle Cloud regions support every Oracle service and feature and are available to customers anywhere in the world. This includes Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, Oracle Cloud VMware solution, and Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications.

OCI’s extensive network of more than 70 FastConnect global and regional partners offer customers dedicated connectivity to Oracle Cloud regions and OCI services—providing customers with the best options anywhere in the world. FastConnect provides an easy, elastic, and economical way to create a dedicated and private network connection with higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more consistent performance versus public Internet-based connections.

In addition, OCI and Microsoft Azure have a strategic partnership that enables joint customers to run workloads across the two clouds. This partnership provides a low latency, cross-cloud interconnect between OCI and Azure in eight regions (Ashburn, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, San Jose, Vinhedo and Frankfurt), federated identity for joint customers to deploy applications across both clouds, and a collaborative support model. Customers can run full stack applications in a multi-cloud configuration, while maintaining high-performance connectivity without requiring re-architecture.

They can also migrate existing applications or develop cloud native applications that use a mix of OCI and Azure services.

www.oracle.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is transforming the education sector in Africa

In our last Africa cloud review column, we highlighted how cloud can help power smart cities in Africa. Cloud provides the digital infrastructure for smart cities: in other words, a city’s cloud will function as a storage and analysis system for the data used in everything.  

Other than smart cities, the education sector in Africa is also poised to benefit from cloud. 

In an interview with IT News Africa back in 2019, head of E-Learning at the University of Pretoria, Dolf Jordaan noted that the cloud is transforming teaching and learning as we know it, while fast-tracking education improvement from primary school to university. ‘’It allows educators the ability to collaborate on content, share information, and even asses projects,’’ he says.

Cloud computing helps students, teachers, and administrators alike. It allows students access to homework wherever there’s an internet connection, teachers to instantly upload learning materials, and administrators to easily collaborate with one another and save money on data storage. 

When the pandemic most African schools decided to take their learning online. Virtual learning finally became a reality. In Kenya, the government introduced a new digital learning model to 24,000 public schools so that virtual learning in Kenya is accessible to all children. Using cloud, schools were able to save money on licenses, hardware, power, and support. Additionally, schools were able to access online editions of textbooks which saved money and ensured students are learning from the most recent books.

The benefits of cloud in education are massive. The safety, stability, and ease of use of cloud computing in education in Africa is resulting in widespread adoption in educational institutions of all sizes and types.

From 3-4 November 202, Google cloud will also be hosting a government and education summit. You can read all about this online event and how to register here

In the news

Oracle announced that it has selected Johannesburg for its first African Cloud region. Microsoft added Availability Zones to Cloud regions in South Africa and South Korea, while seemingly de-listed a second region in South Africa. Maher Al-Khaiyat, the regional business applications director for Microsoft MEA in a column published on Kenya’s Business Daily also highlighted how cloud-based IT solutions can help firms manage change

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.