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

Retailers look to hybrid cloud as they search for flexibility

Nutanix, a provider of enterprise cloud computing, has announced the retail industry findings of its second Enterprise Cloud Index Report, measuring retailers’ plans for adopting private, hybrid and public clouds.

The report found the vast majority of retailers, 88 per cent, identified hybrid cloud as the ideal IT operating model. It also showed many retailers, at 72 percent, are planning to move some public cloud applications back on-premises.

Retailers recognize that seamless customer experience is no longer a “nice-to-have” — it’s a critical factor in winning new customers and retaining existing ones — and flexible cloud infrastructure is critical to delivering it.

A recent IDC report noted worldwide spending on customer experience technologies will reach $641 billion in 2022, demonstrating it’s at the forefront of business leaders’ strategy. In line with broader IT industry trends, many retailers also recognize the full, long-term costs of the public cloud.

Additional findings of this year’s report include:

Retailers focus most on agility

Unlike in the broader IT industry, where cost is the top driver, retailers ranked the ability to accelerate IT deployments as the top factor in deciding the best cloud environment for each application. In order to adapt quickly to customer trends in an age of multichannel selling across many platforms, retailers are leading the pack in maximizing the flexibility of IT infrastructure to keep pace.

Security is top of mind

Data showed that security heavily shapes retail cloud deployment plans. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said security has significant influence on their future cloud deployments, with hybrid cloud specifically identified as the most secure.

As data privacy regulations continue to tighten and expand, retailers are at the forefront of looking for ways to efficiently manage customer data securely. Hybrid cloud operating models offer the security and flexibility retailers need to stay ahead of policy changes.

Retail leads in digital apps and IoT cloud deployments

Always innovating to keep pace with customers’ demands, retailers outpace averages in using the public cloud to run digital applications and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. They also run their business applications more often in the public cloud than other industries, with about 11 per cent current penetration of multiple public clouds and about 19 per cent penetration of a single public cloud.

“Staying relevant to today’s customers means having the necessary cloud infrastructure in place to embrace omnichannel retail experiences,” said Greg Smith, VP of Product Marketing, Nutanix. “Retailers use data to connect the e-commerce and in-store shopping experiences, and the only way they can do this accurately and efficiently is through flexible, scalable technology. The rise of selling on social media platforms also means integrating payment into the user experience, bringing security and protection of customers’ data to the forefront of retailers’ minds. Hybrid cloud provides the portability and control needed to bring retailers into the new era of customer experience.”

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.

www.nutanix.com

Netskope extends its NewEdge infrastructure in South Africa

Netskope, a player in cloud security, has announced the opening of a dedicated data centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The new point of presence (PoP) is part of the company’s ongoing strategy to ensure its real time security solutions for cloud and web are delivered universally and consistently around the globe.

Netskope’s South African PoP further extends the company’s NewEdge infrastructure. NewEdge is the global security network that enables Netskope’s security cloud to deliver real-time, cloud-native security without the traditional performance vs security trade-off. It is one of the world’s largest and fastest security networks, ensuring that security is always on, always present, and never a roadblock.

This announcement signals significant growth for the company in the region. Netskope’s revenues in South Africa have doubled year-on-year, and the organisation is continuing to demonstrate commitment to the region through dedicated hiring of industry experts and partnership programmes. Today’s news follows the appointment of Tinus Janse van Rensburg as Regional Sales Manager, who joins Netskope from Cisco where he managed the organisation’s African cybersecurity business.

Andre Stewart, Vice President for EMEA and LATAM for Netskope commented, “With ever increasing data moving to the cloud, security needs to follow that trend. Netskope is committed to best of breed granular, contextual Cloud Security, and the only way to ensure low latency – below 45m/s – worldwide, is to own your infrastructure. NewEdge is about giving the end user the best security without compromise. Our Jo’burg POP means that our South African customers can take advantage of all our security portfolio and benefit from the best end user experience possible.

Netskope has long term plans for the region which is why we are happy to invest in the best infrastructure but also the best people. I am delighted to have Tinus join our team and the plan is to hire great talent to best serve our customers in the region.”

Grant Reynolds, Regional Sales Manager for Africa continued, “This is great news for our customers and partners in Africa, who are already benefiting from our Next Generation Secure Web Gateway which decodes the latest cloud services and web traffic to deliver comprehensive visibility, prevent advanced threats, protect data, and simplify security operations. We are ready for fast growth both in the region and worldwide. This is an exciting time both for Netskope and for the broader security industry.”

Netskope’s Security Platform uniquely ensures that customers have all of their data and policy enforcement occur in Netskope owned / leased high end, highly secure, data centres. The Netskope Security Cloud always maintains SOC-3 Type II, SOC-2 Type II, and SSAE-16 Type II certifications and is the longest-standing security cloud to do so in the market.

www.netskope.com

[South Africa] Swipe iX announces shift to cloud based digital solutions

South Africa software development company Swipe iX has announced that is shifting its focus towards cloud-based digital solutions.

With successful implementations for key clients such as Shoprite, Old Mutual and M-Net to name a few, Swipe iX’s CEO; Hendri Lategan along with the founding partners Deon Heunis (CTO) and Leo Redelinghuys (MD), elaborates on why the digital solutions agency is delving deeper into cloud computing and how these new categories of applications are transforming the playing field.

Lategan explains that they’ve fixed their gaze on cloud innovation and are focused on utilising cloud computing combined with emerging technologies such as machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Lategan adds “Swipe iX is not so much focussing on the physical migrations to the cloud, but more on the potential one may have for implementing and leveraging the power of cloud-based applications once there.”

He continues “While there is an absolute imperative for transferring key business functions and workloads to cloud-based infrastructures, where the real opportunity lies in the reinvention and innovation of these functions with the immensely powerful toolkit that will be made available to you.”

Deon Heunis, Swipe iX’s CTO and co-founder remarks, “Serverless architecture is evolving into a necessity rather than an amenity for key industry players, and that future competitiveness is dependant on the rate at which companies adopt and implement cloud computing.”

Due to the buzz surrounding cloud solutions, Heunis predicts that an influx of South African companies will shift towards cloud computing in an effort to streamline productivity, maximise efficiency, and gain a competitive edge.

Leo Redelinghuys explains why Swipe is zeroing in on cloud innovation and why it is uniquely positioned to leverage cloud services to accelerate business innovations for its core clients and beyond.

“Swipe iX has been culturally focussed on embracing emerging technologies since its inception and one of the key focus areas has been strengthening platform architectures through serverless infrastructure and continuous integration for improved scalability and security for our existing platforms.”

She continued, “Since the very early days of AWS making an appearance on the scene we have been keen on understanding how to best use these features and make the most of them. This has provided us with key learnings and experience along the way that has poised us to take our service offering to the next level.”

Cloud computing is the buzz topic in the IT industry, but at this point, the usefulness of this technology is by no means assumed simply by its implementation. It is in understanding and actively working towards the successful optimisation and implementation of these platforms that will bring its true potential to bear on solving real-world business challenges. Swipe iX offers its expertise to help businesses know where to start on their journey to the cloud.

www.swipeix.com

[Kenya] KCB picks Actifio to provide data backup and application development support

Actifio, the pioneer of multi-cloud copy data management software, has been chosen to provide comprehensive data backup and application development support for KCB Group, East Africa’s largest commercial bank.

The bank has placed the Actifio platform at the center of its DevOps and data management initiatives to assure stability and continuing business growth.

KCB Group Plc was established in Kenya in 1896. The bank has since expanded into Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia (Rep). The KCB Group Plc network includes 330 branches, 1,076 ATMs and more than 18,818 merchants and agents offering 24×7 services, including mobile and Internet banking.

Gabriel Kimanzi, KCB’s IT Risk and Security Officer, said, “We identified Actifio as our best data backup and recovery solution through a competitive process. Not only did Actifio closely match our primary criteria, but it also provides creative support for application development using application-aware data mounts. That is very powerful for us; a great benefit.”

Complex information technology is central to the operation of KCB’s banking business. Its technology needs to operate responsively and reliably to support bank business in seven countries while protecting the bank’s production and backup data centers. The bank needed to replace its complex and time-consuming tape-based process to eliminate unacceptable time delays and data recovery failures.

“The success rate of our old data backup system was horrible,” said Kimanzi. “We wasted too much staff time dealing with failures. It had become a major pain point and a real danger to the bank’s business.”

The KCB team recognized Actifio’s unique value in saving application developers’ time by using data virtualization to create database copies as needed without adding storage system capacity. “Actifio is a powerful tool for data protection and application development. Backup speed, simplicity of management, and excellent support were all factors in our decision,” said Christopher Tiren, KCB’s Chief Procurement Officer.

The Actifio benefits to KCB start with a powerful and affordable backup, test and development platform. The business has also gained simple, reliable, and consistent performance for data backup and recovery with unique value in time savings and self-service for application developers.

www.kcbgroup.com

www.actifio.com

[Column] Garsen Naidu: Scaling collaboration cloud service in the workplace

When it comes to scaling a cloud service (and more specifically) a collaboration cloud service – what must-haves comes to mind?

For me, it’s a vendor and service that has experience with millions of users, millions of calls and meetings, billions of messages, 99.999% reliability, and a whole lot of geek talk. These are crucial factors if you are choosing a collaboration cloud service for your business. But there are a few more facets you need to think about.

Enabling your teams and employees to make the best of any and every workspace in today’s ‘work-anywhere, work-anytime’ era is a big one and can be a competitive advantage. And this is why a collaboration experience that scales to different workspaces and devices is so important.

Collaboration is about of getting things done, together. It’s important to think about where the work gets done, what tools your teams use to get work done and how time, context, and continuity affect their work. The collaboration experience needs to transcend the physical workspaces we occupy, the gadgets and devices we use, and how work gets done over time. It’s enabling fluidity in form factors and workflows.

When your experience does not scale…
Here’s an all-too-common scenario: You’re sitting at your desk working on your laptop, getting ready to join a meeting. Three other people, sitting just a few feet away from you, also need to join the same meeting. So why not just go into a conference room? Easier said than done these days.

So now, you are all walking around the office, carrying your laptops, looking for an empty room or available space. While you all search the floor trying to decipher which rooms are reserved, you finally, settle on a huddle space, put your laptops next to each other and get the dreaded, “meeting join” echo.

And as with almost every meeting and collaboration situation, someone grabs a dry-erase pen and starts whiteboarding on a wall-board while another person provides audio commentary of what’s being written to the remote participants.

As you get closer to the end of the meeting, someone else gets the bright idea to point one of the laptop cameras at the board itself and then someone says, “Let’s take a picture of this board and email or post it in shared space.”

Why do we do this to ourselves?
Of course, you have ways to get around these; you can set up a “stitched together” video conferencing room – with iPads, USB-connected cams, and stuff from seven different vendors. You can have someone send help, spend an entire day stitching it together and then leave sticky notes and printouts on the wall with instructions. This is what you get when you don’t have a solution that can scale your workspaces and the way we meet today.

Now, imagine what it’s like when your collaboration cloud experience scales…
Actually, you don’t have to imagine what it’s like – it’s already possible with Webex. In fact, many of our customers have already started the workplace transformation journey with Webex and are seeing the benefits of cloud collaboration that actually scales. A poll conducted on Businesstech and Wystalk revealed that 14% of South African employees’ organisations use collaboration tools like a channel of communication.

Imagine a collaboration cloud service that scales

On a PC, iPad, or mobile device, simply click the green Webex “Join” button to start a live meeting. You realise four other colleagues sitting in the same area need to join, too, so you all simply move over to an adjacent huddle space.

In the room, the Webex video device, which supports video, audio and screen share, immediately recognises everyone in the meeting. The meeting is connected and displayed on the 55-inch screen with a single swipe of a finger. No dongles, no cables, no echo, and (even better) no one else needs to click anything. Everyone is automatically in the meeting, with laptops connected, ready to collaborate.

What if one of your colleagues needs to take the rest of the meeting in her car? Easy. She just swipes the meeting back to her mobile phone (with no disruption to anyone else) and walks to her car. Once inside and the engine has started, her Webex meeting automatically shifts into “driving mode” like any phone call.

And what’s a brainstorming meeting without some whiteboarding?

Simply walk to the Webex Board in the room and start ideating with everyone in the meeting – including remote participants. At the end of the meeting, you now have a digital copy of the whiteboarding session saved to the cloud, which you can later access on your phone or PC to resume where you left off – from any meeting space or even a different city altogether.

And, yes, the person who took the meeting from her car also has the whiteboard available by the time she logs back on as well. Webex provides a truly connected experience for everyone in the room and gives remote people easy instant access to the same material.

Scaling the experience means making the most of the workspace – including the screens and phones – to effectively participate, collaborate, and contribute with zero disruption, wherever you are and wherever you are going; being able to pick where you left off and always in the most natural way.

Garsen Naidu is the General Manager of Cisco South Africa

[Kenya] CloudHop inks deal with Nasdaq Governance Solutions to provide clients with solution that enhances corporate governance

Cloud solutions provider in Kenya, CloudHop, has partnered with Nasdaq Governance Solutions, a business of Nasdaq Inc. to provide its clients in Eastern Africa with access to Nasdaq Boardvantage®, a board portal and collaboration software solution.

Nasdaq Boardvantage allows boards and leadership teams to work together more efficiently, productively, and strategically.

For the corporate secretary, general counsel and meeting administrators, the platform offers an exceptionally flexible, secure and user-friendly interface to help increase productivity during and in between meetings.

For board directors and senior executives, the solution helps manage critical tasks inside and outside the boardroom with biometric ID sign-on, intuitive notification, and collaboration tools.

Nasdaq built the platform with industry-standard encryption and multi-factor authentication to protect a user’s most sensitive information.

“We pride ourselves in helping our customers put smart to work with the best of breed applications. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with Nasdaq on this groundbreaking solution that will without doubt transform how corporates manage their corporate governance function,” said Mr Keval Shah, Co-CEO, Cloudhop.

“We are encouraged by the demand across East Africa for our board portal and collaboration technology and are pleased to partner with CloudHop to engage with governance professionals in the region who are seeking new ways to enhance their corporate governance practices,” said Mr Mike Bartels, President, Nasdaq Governance Solutions.

Nasdaq Boardvantage is recognized as a 2019 American Business Awards Bronze Stevie Winner for Sales & Customer Service; 2018 American Business Awards Gold Stevie Award Winner for Best New Product of the Year, Bronze Stevie Award Winner for Software Customer Service Department of the Year, and Bronze Stevie Award Winner for Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year; 2018 RiskTech 100 Category Winner for Operational Risk & GRC; and 2018 6th Annual Best in Biz Awards International Winner.

www.cloudhop.it

www.nasdaq.com

Companies worldwide struggle to manage and protect multi-cloud compute infrastructures, survey

A vast majority of enterprises worldwide have adopted multi-cloud strategies to keep pace with the need for digital transformation and IT efficiency, but they face significant challenges in managing the complexities and added requirements of these new application and data delivery infrastructures, according to a global survey conducted by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network, in partnership with A10 Networks.

The new study, entitled “Mapping The Multi-Cloud Enterprise,” finds that improved security, including centralized security and performance management, multi-cloud visibility of threats and attacks, and security automation, is the number one IT challenge facing companies in these new compute environments.

“Multi-cloud is the de facto new standard for today’s software- and data-driven enterprise,” said Dave Murray, head of thought leadership and research for the BPI Network. “However, our study makes clear that IT and business leaders are struggling with how to reassert the same levels of management, security, visibility and control that existed in past IT models. Particularly in security, our respondents are currently assessing and mapping the platforms, solutions and policies they will need to realize the benefits and reduce the risks associated of their multi-cloud environments.” 

“The BPI Network survey underscores a critical desire and requirement for companies to reevaluate their security platforms and architectures in light of multi-cloud proliferation,” said Gunter Reiss, vice president of worldwide marketing at A10 Networks. “The rise of 5G-enabled edge clouds is expected to be another driver for multi-cloud adoption. A10 Networks believes enterprises must begin to deploy robust Polynimbus security and application delivery models that advance centralized visibility and management and deliver greater security automation across clouds, networks, applications and data.”

The study finds that some 40 percent of companies have or will reassess their current relationships with security and load balancer suppliers in light of multi-cloud, with most others still undecided about whether a change in vendors is needed.

www.bpinetwork.org

Huawei Cloud launches Elastic Cloud Server services across Africa

Huawei Cloud has released Kunpeng ECS (Elastic Cloud Server) cloud services and Partner Program 2.0. The Kunpeng-powered cloud services will be made available to African customers by the end of December 2019 and aim to offer 15% faster multi-core computing power and a 30% higher performance/price ratio than the industry average.

Speaking at the Huawei Cloud, AI Forum, Rui Houwei, President of Huawei Cloud Africa, noted the significance of recent technological breakthroughs. “The computing industry has gone through the mainframe computer, minicomputer, and x86 server stages and will move to the multi-architecture computing stage,” he said.

“The computing power previously available only in the x86 architecture, is now available in different architectures, allowing for the use of appropriate computing power for each specific application. “

“This January, Huawei launched Kunpeng 920, the industry’s highest-performing 7nm server processor in the Kunpeng architecture. The Huawei Cloud ECS is powered by the Kunpeng servers and supports multi-architecture computing. ”

Rui also expressed optimism at Kunpeng’s capabilities for the local market, “Huawei can innovate across the entire stack ranging from chips and servers to cloud platforms. In-depth collaboration between chips, hardware, and software enable Kunpeng cloud services to deliver unparalleled performance. We are deeply committed to providing diversified cloud services and solutions, to help public institutions and private companies take intelligence and mobility to even greater heights. ”

At the forum, Huawei also outlined its Partner Program 2.0 initiative, which offers crucial support for partners, about online and onsite training, market expansion, marketing activities, and technical understanding.

In Africa alone, Huawei Cloud has already established partnerships with over 65 partners spanning diverse industries, including telecom, finance, manufacturing, education, retail, and logistics, as well as the public sector. “Such wide-ranging collaboration is likely to result in unique, and broadly-shared benefits across the ecosystem,” said Rui.

According to an IDC report, South Africa’s spending in public cloud services will reach R11.5 billion in 2022, a three-fold increase from 2017. This expansion is projected to create 112,000 jobs. By 2020, cloud services will account for 67% of enterprises’ total spending in IT infrastructure and software.

More than 85% of enterprises are expected to use the hybrid-cloud or multi-cloud architecture.

Huawei has been operating in Africa for over 20 years and has developed an in-depth understanding of the requirements, opportunities, and challenges faced by African customers. Its local teams are fully equipped to provide premium services for customers spanning 54 different African countries.

Huawei Cloud services were officially launched in South Africa this February, making it the first cloud service provider to utilize local data centres in that country. Over the past eight months, Huawei Cloud has experienced rapid growth in Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia.

intl.huaweicloud.com

[Kenya] KETRACTO digitizes procurement processes with SAP Ariba Cloud

In a bid to improve its operations and in compliance with presidential directive and government requirements, Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited, KETRACO, has digitized its procurement processes via an e-procurement platform powered by SAP Ariba Cloud. 

This second phase of an end-to-end automation of tendering, supplier management and contracts process will see tenders and quotations submitted and processed online for efficiency, accountability and transparency. This process is 100% Paperless.

Open and secret tenders, Request for Proposals (RFP) and Request for Quotations (RFQ) will be advertised through the government portals, KETRACO websites and in newspapers. All interested Bidders/ Suppliers will be required to submit their documentation online. The tenders will then be received, evaluated and awarded online.

In the first phase of the implementation that went live in April this year, the company automated ‘procure to pay’ operations by on boarding suppliers to the SAP Ariba network to start transacting electronically. Purchase Requests, Local Purchase Orders, invoices and payment of goods/ services were processed online in the ‘procure to pay’ operation.

Speaking during the go live event, KETRACO’s Managing Director FCPA Fernandes Barasa noted that over 260 suppliers have registered on the Ariba network and continue to transact with KETRACO in a paperless environment for Purchase order and invoice submission and processing and are ready to move the entire tendering process.

‘’Supplier registration and qualification has now been made available online. The youth and the special groups will be submitting their registration applications online and will be on boarded immediately. ‘’ He noted.

This automation has been made possible by SAP Ariba, a leading global provider of collaborative business commerce solutions which allows suppliers to easily extend their back-end systems and processes to benefit from electronic transactions.

Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director for SAP Central Africa adds, “Two years ago Kenya’s leading electricity transmission company implemented SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System and shortly after, won Gold at the SAP Quality Awards. Today, we are thrilled to yet again be a part of Ketraco’s continued digital transformation journey with the adoption of our Ariba e-procurement software solutions.  By streamlining business operations and connecting to Ariba’s +4.2 million companies, Ketraco has established a solid foundation for tomorrow’s Intelligent Enterprise, pointing to a bright and innovative future for the organisation, its staff and customers.”

www.ketraco.co.ke

www.sap.com