[Kenya] Zalego Academy Joins the Amazon Web Services Training Partner Program

Zalego Academy, a subsidiary of StepWise Inc. that focuses on ICT training and enhancing the employability of youth and people from underserved communities has joined the Amazon Web Service Training partner program. 

Zalego Academy will now work with AWS to deliver training and certification for cloud skills to learners in Kenya and will concentrate on social impact initiatives. This training will not only enable cloud fluency for unemployed youth and graduates to leverage the power of cloud but will also create a new pathway of economic opportunity for young people to partake in cloud computing jobs. 

This Training Partner Program is designed for organizations like Zalego Academy, that meet or exceed rigorous criteria for delivering and or offering high-quality technical training.  

“Organizations need individuals with cloud skills to help transform their business, and there is a growing demand for IT professionals with cloud skills. AWS Training and Certification, along with our Training Partners like Zalego Academy, aims to equip the builders of today and tomorrow with the knowledge they need to leverage the power of cloud. AWS Training, designed by experts, teaches in-demand cloud skills and best practices, helping learners prepare for AWS Certification exams so they can advance their careers and transform their organizations,” said Maureen Lonergan Vice President, AWS Training and Certification.

“We strongly believe that with the support of AWS, Zalego Academy can build innovative programs that have a lasting impact, particularly to the underserved and underrepresented in Africa,” said Chris Harrison, CEO StepWise.  “Delivering AWS Training and Certification is perfectly aligned with StepWise’s purpose of preparing an inclusive talent pipeline and creating sustainable employment for a technology-driven world.”

As a Training Partner, Zalego Academy plans to deliver authorized AWS Training and work with partner organizations to develop future-focused strategies, to enhance the employability of youth and people from underserved communities. It will also deliver trainings intentionally built for non-traditional learners of all abilities to engage in, (i.e., in-person, sign language interpreters, video captioning and wheelchair accessible space).

The training is developed and maintained by cloud experts, ensuring the content reflects current best practices. AWS Classroom Training gives learners the opportunity to engage live and get questions answered by an expert instructor. Many courses also include hands-on labs, allowing learners to practice real-world scenarios in a sandbox environment. Training also helps prepare learners for the cloud service provider’s certification exams, which validate technical skills and expertise with an industry-recognized credential.

“AWS Courses will not only enable the underserved communities in tech to acquire the skills needed to earn a living-wage job upon graduation, but will also enable them to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families,” said Peres Were-Ogaga, Executive Director, StepWise Foundation.

StepWise is focused particularly on enhancing economic inclusion in Africa through the creation of digital jobs for people from disadvantaged communities, women, the chronically unemployed, and individuals with disabilities. Through the Foundation’s Scholarship Program, Zalego Academy provides individuals with disabilities and underserved youth in East Africa, with career-ready technology skills through programs that are aligned with the current and future job market. These demands are driven by advancements in technology.

[Column] Marilyn Moodley: Moving to the cloud – what are you waiting for?

Are you on the cloud yet? This is an organisation’s equivalent of a young person’s ‘when are you getting married?’ which moves swiftly to ‘why aren’t you married yet?’ And the reasons for not making the jump in both cases are often the same: resistance to change; wariness of taking a risk; caution about compliance to a new situation; and aversion to the initial investment, which can be high.

While these are all valid concerns about cloud migration, it is still unwise to ignore the many benefits of doing so. The COVID-19 pandemic showed businesses that contingency plans are a non-negotiable in the face of potentially catastrophic events. Organisations that deploy to the cloud are very much on the front foot when it comes to being agile, flexible, and able to move quickly when adverse situations do arise.

According to research conducted by the Cloud Industry Forum on the state of cloud adoption, 91 percent of businesses said that shifting to the cloud has been vital in coping with the effects of the pandemic, as going digital enabled them to respond more readily to changing circumstances. In addition, 77 percent feel that the cloud has simplified their IT challenge. 50 percent of IT infrastructure is now cloud based, the first time it has ever topped this milestone in the 12 years since the Cloud Industry Forum started doing research.

Clearly, the cloud is the place to be, and businesses today are becoming more aware of the benefits of using the cloud to save on costs, enable scalability, innovate at pace, speed up operating systems, and increase flexibility and resilience.

However, making the move to the cloud isn’t always straightforward. One of the main worries expressed by organisations is that they lack the skills to do it. What’s more, over the years, as data centres have grown and evolved, servers added, acquisitions taken place and software installed, it is difficult to know what applications an organisation even has, much less knowing what to migrate and what to leave behind. Gordon Davey, Global Head of Azure Cloud Services at SoftwareONE, refers to this mass of technology as the ‘nachos effect’. Everything is interconnected, like a plate of nachos – when you pick up one nacho, hoping it won’t disturb the rest, strands of cheese bring three or four other nachos with it. So, too, with cloud migration, with so many interconnected parts. 

This is where selecting a trusted partner, like SoftwareONE, is so important. An organisation’s journey to the cloud can be a smooth transition, backed by a clear strategy that takes an organisation’s unique environment and workloads into account.  Experts can assist in establishing a consolidated and rationalised view of the current IT landscape, prioritise and recommend workloads to run in the cloud and define and execute the next steps in the cloud migration. Essentially, they can identify which nachos can be taken alone, and which are inextricably connected to others and need to have a migration plan to address this. Partners can also help organisations understand the licensing and cost ramifications of moving workloads to the cloud, how to optimise spend and ongoing cloud management to ensure value is realised.

The past few years have seen a significant increase in the use of the cloud and 69 percent of companies interviewed as part of the Cloud Industry Forum’s research are speeding up digital transformation plans. By 2025, research company Gartner estimates that 85 percent of enterprises will have a cloud-first strategy. It is undoubtedly the engine of transformation and companies need to keep up with the pace of change or risk being left behind.

Marilyn Moodley is the South African Country Leader for SoftwareONE.

Orchestrating multicloud: Implementing a strategy that works

VMWare Principal Partner and Africa’s only neutral cloud infrastructure business, Routed, says implementing a workable multicloud strategy hinges on a business properly assessing applications within its current infrastructure environment to decide which cloud is ideal for each of its applications.

“This should be balanced against the ability to provide fault tolerance for each application across cloud operators, as well as the integration between applications which might affect decisions to deploy applications together on the same cloud platform, or across multiple cloud platforms,” says Andrew Cruise, Managing Director, Routed.

Another equally important consideration is ensuring internal resilience when migrating or developing applications on any cloud platform. “It’s much better to first mitigate risk and avoid downtime caused by relatively minor issues, and only then design fault tolerance or failover between cloud operators in the event of a major downtime incident on one of your cloud operators,” he says.

An organisation’s choice of providers should be dictated by their ability to deliver a secure, performant and highly available hosting experience, combined with the required features and functions for all business applications. “Your provider’s credibility and reliability track record should be investigated and their expertise to run your business-critical applications queried,” notes Cruise.

He adds that a multicloud approach does not have to include all cloud operators or indeed any of the hyperscale cloud operators. “Risk mitigation dictates that multiple cloud operators should be chosen, but it should also be feasible for these to use one consistent platform, which is what VMware Cloud has been designed to do.”

The benefits of multicloud typically fall into two groups; the first being the value features of each individual cloud and the second group centred on risk mitigation, it’s important to remember that these two groups are inherently in conflict. “By definition, unique platforms, software and functions offered by a specific cloud provider are not offered by the others and therefore it is nearly impossible to load balance or provide cross-cloud resilience for applications that are developed with these toolsets across multiple cloud platforms,” explains Cruise.

Achieving resilience requires a lowest common denominator approach, which means using tools, functions and software available across all the cloud platforms in use. “Notably, the exception to this conflict is the VMware Cloud ecosystem: whether hosted in AWS, Azure, GCP, or any of the global hyperscale clouds, or on a local VMware cloud operator, or on VMware Cloud Foundation on dedicated internally managed infrastructure, a common toolset and software stack facilitates a consistent experience for hosted applications,” he says.

While multicloud and its place in digital transformation continues to evolve, Cruise cautions that it may not be suitable for every organisation, and those that do embark on the journey should expect proper implementation to take time.

“Cloud hype has progressed from the urgent ‘move to cloud!’ call of a decade ago, to ‘hybrid cloud rules’ five years ago, to the ‘multicloud or bust!’ message of today. Of course, each of these blanket statements has merit but there is no magic silver bullet for a businesses’ infrastructure requirements. Although the predicted move to cloud has been slower than the experts predicted, I believe that the multicloud story will be slightly more common than niche,” says Cruise.