[Column] Shanon Ramdaw: Nine reasons to move asset management to the cloud

Moving Asset Management processes to the cloud has become an ever-increasing necessary step. However, many organisations seem to struggle with the idea of moving away from their known systems, however outdated and ineffective these systems may be. In exploring the benefits of moving Asset Management systems to the cloud Shanon Ramdaw, Business Development Manager at iOCO, within iOCO Software Distribution, the local Infor Master Reseller, outlined Infor’s nine essential reasons for moving to the cloud.  

The first reason as indicated by Ramdaw is that moving to the cloud allows organisations to dedicate their time and energy into their area of speciality. Utilising on-site EAM solutions means time and money spent on updating and managing this system. With a cloud-based system this management time is practically erased, allowing for more time to focus on pivotal business processes that generate revenue for the organisation. 

Secondly, adopting a modern software as a service (SaaS) solution means that payments are based on a monthly or annual fee based on consumption. This means that unlike capital investments in software

licenses, hardware, and IT support, payments are not done upfront with SaaS. This contractually agreed predictability allows organisations to better manage and maintain their budgets and make effective investments in business growth. 

The third benefit is that businesses can exponentially increase their ability for agility. This is due to cloud-based EAM services offering the option to instantly offer new services such as opening new plants, expanding into new areas, adding additional application functionality, and onboarding new enterprise assets.  “Additionally, Cloud vendors allow for the ability to automatically give subscribers monthly and quarterly updates. These updates include releases of new capabilities, allowing clients access to these features as soon as they are released.” Continues Ramdaw.  

Fourthly, Utilising the most up-to-date Cloud-based EAM solution is imperative as organisations often have difficulties when utilising transactional relational database management (RDBMS) systems as EAM services, as they are unable to store all the necessary data. Whereas, advanced cloud-based EAM solutions allow for the storage of large amounts of data from various streams of input. This allows organisations instant access to their entire ecosystem. This accessibility and increased manageability enable businesses to capture and deliver big data to power their analytics and machine-learning strategies.

The fifth benefit indicated is the ability to leverage greater scalability. Businesses have the opportunity to scale their capacity up or down depending on the current need.  Storage is a scalable element with cloud-based EAM as well, enabling for the capacity to store large amounts of data collected from equipment sensors and IoT applications, and this data capacity can be increased at any time. 

The sixth benefit is that cloud-based EAM solutions offer organisations enhanced reliability, availability, and disaster recovery.  In comparison to on-site EAM solutions, organisations utilising cloud-based solutions do not need to worry about the effectiveness of their back systems should an error occur after hours. Ramdaw advises “The best EAM solution must function in a multi-tenant cloud environment and must be advanced enough to ensure business continuity This means that it must offer copies of critical applications and that all data are backed up and mirrored globally. Further, disaster recovery must be effective and efficient should the primary system go down.” These cloud-based solutions should also offer upgrades that have zero downtime so organisations do not have to deal with unscheduled time loss. 

The seventh benefit indicated by Ramdaw is that cloud-based EAM solutions assist in keeping organisations secure. This is achieved through availability to greater resources for a higher level of security, as well as taking on the various security-related tasks that are demanded by various regulations. 

The eighth benefit is the wider range of accessibility provided to organisations through cloud-based solutions. Managers and technicians are able to better function in their roles through being afforded continuous access to EAM data. Cloud-based EAM also allows for data to be easily exchanged between EAM and other enterprise applications. 

Finally, Cloud-based EAM allows businesses to easily adapt and comply with regulatory demands and data sovereignty requirements. Cloud-based EAM solutions are updated on a monthly or quarterly basis to accommodate the continuous regulatory changes for FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11 for life sciences, the Joint Commission for healthcare, State of Good Repair for transportation, and others. Further, these solutions allow organisations to stay up to date with the sovereignty requirements. 

Utilising advanced and state-of-the-art Cloud-based EAM solutions allows organisations the opportunity to move their businesses to the next level. Procedures and processes are easily accessible, reliable and efficient. This allows for better organisational asset management, which means better functionality, potential for increased performance and thus revenue. 

Shanon Ramdaw is the Business Development Manager – Infor Services at iOCO, Infor’s Gold Partner in Africa.

Elaraby leverages cloud to deliver efficiency across businesses in Egypt, Africa and Middle East

Riverbed has announced that Elaraby Group, an Egyptian manufacturer and retailer of home electronics, has maximized the value of its Microsoft Office 365 investment by deploying Riverbed® SaaS Accelerator.

 In an effort to enhance user experience and employee collaboration as it advances its cloud-first strategy throughout its vast geographic operations, Elaraby has enabled a faster, more responsive Office 365 experience for its employees by reducing network latency and empowered its teams to be more productive and better equipped to serve customers by deploying Riverbed SaaS Accelerator.

Elaraby has also invested in Riverbed® Cloud Accelerator to speed migration and access to workloads on Microsoft Azure. As a long-standing customer of Riverbed® SteelHead™, the market-leading WAN optimization solution worldwide, Elaraby is now accelerating applications from on-prem to cloud to the client and end-user.

Elaraby is a player in developing and manufacturing consumer electronics and home appliances in Egypt, the Middle East and Africa and the company’s products are widely accepted in more than 60 countries.

The Elaraby business has more than 40,000 employees, 16 commercial and industrial enterprises, over 3,000 sales partners, 17 trade stores across Egypt and approximately 600 after-sales service centers.

Elaraby is leveraging the cloud to deliver the efficiency, agility, and scalability its business demands. To ensure all locations and all employees are seamlessly connected, the company has migrated to Office 365. “Our use of the cloud is significantly growing,” said Medhat ElAraby, Vice President of Elaraby Group. “We have already migrated one of our data centers to Azure, and we are leveraging both PaaS and SaaS.”

While the company had successfully implemented Office 365, issues with network latency, congestion, and last-mile delays were restricting Elaraby ‘s ability to realize the full potential of its investment. As latency could potentially impact many aspects of the business – from direct sales and production, to store management and marketing – Elaraby turned to Riverbed to reduce data transfer costs and optimize speed across the enterprise, compressing data before sending it between sites.

With the support and expertise of Riverbed’s local partner, Global Brands Group, a leading provider of Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing services, the IT team recently extended its Riverbed SteelHead solution with the addition of six new appliances and one software instance in Azure.

 In addition, the company has deployed 3,500 licenses of Riverbed SaaS Accelerator, which accelerates popular SaaS apps up to 10x, as well as Riverbed Cloud Accelerator. In total, 6,000 users at Elaraby now have access to Office 365 and the improved performance across email, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service and Field Service, and SAP, and it has had a direct and very positive impact on retail and production.

“We could immediately see with Riverbed how we could address network latency,” explained Medhat ElAraby. “Since the deployment, Elaraby has reduced data transmission between sites by 60% with, on average, 900GB less data per day. We are now far more efficient in the way data is consumed which is delivering significant cost savings and improving connectivity and collaboration between sites and teams. Riverbed has also helped us improve our data management. The encryption of data is very important to us because all the data transferred in our organization has value, whether it’s sales figures, product designs, or customer insights. Securing our data has helped us maintain our competitive advantage.”

“With its workforce spread across such a vast geography, and its focus on having a cloud-first IT strategy, Elaraby has benefited greatly from the joint value proposition of the Microsoft Office 365 suite and the Riverbed acceleration solutions,” said Mirna Arif, Country General Manager, Microsoft Egypt. “Microsoft and Riverbed have a long-standing partnership globally, and at a regional level this has meant a strong collaboration between our local sales and technical teams. This has ultimately translated to a robust solution that enables Elaraby to offer its employees a consistent and impressive user experience across their collaboration and productivity applications.”

“Cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools such as those in the Office 365 suite are becoming increasingly fundamental to the modern business. The effectiveness of these solutions and their adoption by the workforce ultimately depends on end-user experience which can be easily impacted by poor performance,” said Mena Migally, Regional Vice President, META at Riverbed. “Elaraby ‘s success with Riverbed underpins the value that our solutions bring to the new breed of cloud-first organizations who are looking to enjoy the flexibility and scalability that cloud offers, while ensuring performance remains unaffected by the network latency, irrespective of where applications are hosted and how they are accessed. Elaraby is an innovative enterprise that continuously adopts and implements the latest technologies to accelerate and maintain their leadership regionally. As one of our first customers in Egypt, with a strong decade-long relationship, we are proud to continue to partner and support them on their digital journey.”

www.elarabygroup.com

Fieldcloud SAS joins the Smart Africa Alliance

French-based technology firm, Fieldcloud has joined the Smart Africa Alliance

Smart Africa is an alliance of 31 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with Africa’s digital agenda. The alliance is empowered by a bold and innovative commitment by African Heads of State to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent and usher Africa into the knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and use of ICTs.

“An essential part of how we work is that we seek to put the private sector first. We believe that our partnerships with companies like Fieldcloud are essential in ensuring that we deliver cutting edge technologies in Africa and move toward creating a single digital market. ”, said Mr Lacina Koné, Smart Africa’s Director General / CEO.

Founded in 2009, Fieldcloud is an edge computing, network connectivity and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure solutions specialist systems integrator focused on energy, resources and telecom market sectors. Fieldcloud SAS works with enterprises to deal with the challenges of moving data between the field, legacy devices, factory floor and the cloud.

Today, fieldcloud’s activities are in IoT hardware design, systems integration, legacy systems digitization, embedded software applications, connectivity solutions, strategic business advisory and consulting. Fieldcloud continues to develop competencies in cutting edge technologies in global satellite IoT communications, IoT systems integration and LPWAN solutions to support projects in energy, telecommunications and resources sectors.

“Multistakeholder collaboration is essential to enable Africa’s single digital market, sustainably. The Smart Africa Alliance fosters a powerful and growing ecosystem of public and private members and fieldcloud is delighted to be of service as we partner together to build capacity, connect people and digitize industry.”, said Mr Matthew D. Smith, CEO fieldcloud SAS.  

With a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030, the Smart Africa Alliance brings together Heads of State who seek to accelerate the digitalization of the continent and create a common market. Launched in 2013 by seven (7) African Heads of State, the Alliance now has 30 member countries, representing over 750 million people and over 40 Private Sector members committed to the vision and the advancement of Africa.

Other private sector members of the Smart Africa Alliance include Facebook, Intel, Orange, Ericsson, Econet, Microsoft, Inmarsat and Huawei among others.

www.fieldcloud.com

www.smartafrica.org

Box appoints former Google Cloud Executive Sebastien Marotte as President of Box EMEA

Box, Inc., the Content Cloud, has announced that Sebastien Marotte will be joining the Box Executive team as President of Box Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), effective June 7, 2021.

The appointment underscores Box’s continued commitment to the region where the Company recently announced a new office opening in Warsaw, Poland, and its recent acquisition of SignRequest, a European electronic signature company.

“Sebastien is joining at an exciting time for Box, as we’re continuing to grow our international presence and amplify the power of the Content Cloud,” said Stephanie Carullo, COO of Box. “Sebastien has comprehensive knowledge of the EMEA business landscape, and extensive experience leading in multiple markets. We’re thrilled to welcome him to lead our EMEA operations.”

Over a 30+ year career, Sebastien has held executive roles at some of the world’s highest-profile software companies including Google, Hyperion, and Oracle. He most recently led Google Cloud’s EMEA Channels as Vice President, having previously served as Vice President of Google Cloud EMEA for eight years. As an early leader at Google Cloud, Sebastien was responsible for much of the foundational growth and development across EMEA, including the launch of G Suite (now Google Workspace).

“The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change for just about every company on the planet, and the move to the cloud has never been more urgent,” said Sebastien Marotte, incoming President of Box EMEA. “As more companies realize that their businesses run on content, the demand for a secure platform for managing all of that content in the cloud will continue to grow. I strongly believe that Box has the strategy and team in place to capture this amazing opportunity, and I’m incredibly excited to join at this important part of the journey.”

Sebastien holds a Master’s degree in Finance and Business from ESLSCA Business School Paris. He also serves as a board member at Temporall.

www.box.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud computing is shaping Africa’s technological infrastructure growth

Cloud computing remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure.

Given the current covid-19  pandemic internet use and technology in Africa is unsurprisingly on the rise as we have mentioned in previous cloud review articles we have published. With this, the demand for cloud services is also set to go up

Cloud computing involves the management of an extensive network of resources such as data storage, servers, applications, and processing power. More importantly, it provides on-demand access to this network of pooled resources.

In countries like South Africa, integrated cloud platform provider Routed notes that the cloud market is showing good signs of growth and development as enterprise customers begin to take serious notice of multicloud and its benefits. As a result, it is imperative to develop and maintain a robust mutlicloud strategy that meets continuously evolving business demands. Moving to a multi-cloud environment is undoubtedly the future.

Of course this is a conversation we can’t have without mentioning data centers. Recently, IXAfrica, the new-entrant data centre operator in Kenya, announced an ambitious plan to build a world-leading and sustainable campus at a prime location in Nairobi. Data centers are rising across Africa – and cloud companies are taking charge of creating them.  A recent report from The African Data Centres Association (ADCA) and Xalam Analytics revealed that Africa needs 1000MW and 700 facilities to meet growing demand and bring the rest of the continent onto level terms

A new IBM study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC), also revealed that 84% of South African C-Suite are either pursuing or planning hybrid cloud strategies

According to the study, C-Suite executives in South Africa are prioritising the implementation of hybrid cloud strategies to benefit from flexibility, cost savings, testing and development, as well as Disaster Recovery. The IDC study showed the stages of the adoption journey that these executives are at with 32% of these executives currently pursuing hybrid cloud strategies, whilst over 60% were in the planning phase.

‘’However, some organizations are struggling with harnessing the full capabilities of their cloud environments’’ the study says.

As this happens, Incentro Africa, an IT service provider delivering custom build software solutions for the European and African market announced that it has achieved the Google Cloud Partner “Work Transformation” Specialization, in the Google Cloud Partner Specialization ProgramThe Google Enterprise Work Transformation Specialization is the highest level of technical achievement for a Google Workspace Partner.   The specialization indicates success deploying Google Workspace to Enterprise organizations, which includes providing services for establishing governance, technical implementation, training people, processes, and support.

A recent report from Synergy Research Group also notes that enterprises have been moving to the cloud as more increasingly rely on it other than on-premise data centres. While the trend continues to grow day by day, it is not until last year that spending on cloud infrastructure surpassed on-premise data centres — and by a large margin

As enterprise demands shift, how cloud is deployed will adapt in tandem and as Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, says, the future is likely to be a pragmatic cloud or dirty cloud. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.



www.incentro.com/en-ke

Incentro Africa becomes first company in Africa to achieve Google Cloud Partner Work Transformation Specialization

Incentro Africa, an IT service provider delivering custom build software solutions for the European and African market, is leveraging its novel cloud solutions to enhance the capacity and efficiency of businesses. This, as it migrates thousands of employees into integrated suite of applications as they adapt to the new normal in the wake of disruptions occasioned by COVID 19.

As demand for solutions that embrace remote operations burgeons, Incentro Africa has been working with banks, government institutions and businesses by deploying cloud-based solutions like Google Workspace and Chromebooks and Cloud infrastructure that have bolstered security and enabled companies to cut operational costs.

To showcase its expertise, Incentro is proud to announce that it has  achieved the Google Cloud Partner “Work Transformation” Specialization, a development that gives any organisation looking to deploy collaboration solutions, the confidence that  with Incentro, they are in experienced hands and best placed to provide  services across all project work streams – such as technical implementation, change management, training and ongoing premium support.

The Google Enterprise Work Transformation Specialization is the highest level of technical achievement for a Google Workspace Partner.   The specialization indicates success deploying Google Workspace to Enterprise organizations, which includes providing services for establishing governance, technical implementation, training people, processes, and support.

Dennis de Weerd, CEO, Incentro Africa: “Being a Google Premier Partner is great, because it shows top level expertise on Google Cloud. Having a Specialization is even better, since it really proves our domain knowledge. While Google Cloud is very broad, this specialization emphasizes our expertise in guiding enterprises to a cloud-native workplace, so customers know they are catered for fully according to Google Cloud’s high standards. It embodies the investments and dedication from an experienced team.”

Customer success

At the height of the pandemic, Incentro Africa, working with the Africa Google Cloud Distributor Digicloud Africa, partnered with The Central Bank of West Africa States to roll out Google Workplace in seven days for the 1300 employees located across eight countries without interrupting service or productivity. This resulted in increasing customer and employee satisfaction with a more connected but remote workforce.

Tiéguélé A. Coulibaly,Chief Information Officer, Central Bank of West Africa States: “Google has given Central Bank of West African States employees a different way to work. Remote workers now have expanded and highly efficient ways of accessing and collaborating on the go. We’ve saved 40% on total per-user cost, reduced IT hours spent maintaining our environment, have had 60% fewer email related tickets, complied with our Industry’s data protection regulations, and on top of that we’ve had no downtime in the last 6 months.”

Kenya’s Kilifi County was among the first to record cases of COVID-19. To tame further spread the county government encouraged its staff and the public to work from home.

Partnering with Incentro Africa, the County  government introduced Google collaboration solution that enabled its workforce to collaborate efficiently irrespective of where they were working from. To ensure that the governor was in constant communication with his staff and updating the county on the steps the government were taking to manage the virus, he seamlessly leveraged the power of Google hangouts to hold virtual meetings with his cabinet, with impressive results.

Hon. Amason Kingi, Governor, County Government of Kilifi: “This enabled us to quickly make decisions and resolutions on where to set up the Isolation Centres for COVID-19 victims, brief the publicH on our Corona preparedness, and how we can join hands to curb the spread of the virus.”

African financial services provider SBM Bank Group upon its entry in Kenya in 2017 and acquiring Fidelity Bank and Chase Bank explored ways of consolidating domains into one. Collaborating with Incentro, the bank moved 950 users from Chase Bank and 160 from Fidelity Bank to SBN Bank in less than a week.

Sahil Arya, VP and Head of IT, SBM Bank of Kenya:“The G Suite experience is seamless, the ease with which the products are integrated gives our employees the power to achieve anything they needed.” .

As more companies embrace cloud computing due to its proven record in fostering business continuity during a time of crisis, Incentro Africa is looking to work with partners in addressing the future of work needs.

Gregory MacLennanCEO, Digicloud Africa: “Cloud computing is pivotal in empowering many organizations to continue operating through an unprecedented crisis that could have easily brought many to their knees. Overnight, companies had to adapt to a completely different way of working.  For many organizations, cloud technology has been vital in facilitating the shift to remote working. Without the cloud affording employees the ability to securely connect business continuity would simply not have been possible.  Cloud computing enabled companies across Africa to survive, and is now a catalyst for those same companies to thrive and innovate.”

www.incentro.com

[South Africa] Building a successful multicloud strategy unlocks IT business value, Routed

South Africa’s cloud market is showing good signs of growth and development as enterprise customers begin to take serious notice of multicloud and its benefits. As a result, it is imperative to develop and maintain a robust mutlicloud strategy that meets continuously evolving business demands.

Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, a neutral cloud infrastructure provider, notes there are clear business benefits of pursuing a multicloud approach, including having a choice of best-in-class platforms to match a variety of business requirements and the ability to efficiently allocate scarce capital by utilising the operating cost model of cloud consumption. “However, some other no less important advantages of mutlicloud involve its potential to drive innovation, flexibility, and scalability of new apps in hyperscale public clouds. Multicloud can also ameliorate risks of failure and vendor lock-in by load balancing across multiple cloud platforms. In addition, multicloud really enables IT to meet business needs by freeing up time to focus on where value is added.”

Considering the sheer number of options available, the task of building a successful strategy should inevitably begin with a clear decision on where an enterprise’s efforts and resources should be focused. “In other words, where does IT bring business value? Use cloud infrastructure to free up internal resources and scarce capital to facilitate investment in these areas,” he adds.

Cruise says it is also advisable to build out from familiar areas of expertise incrementally. “A ‘big bang’ re-platforming approach, especially involving multiple unfamiliar hyperscale environments, is fraught with risk. Instead, base digital transformation strategy on current expertise, use industry-standard virtualisation platforms like VMware both on-premise and in local clouds for core business critical foundational workloads, and then add cloud native apps in global hyperscalers in stages.”

Successfully managing a multicloud environment is another understandable area of concern for enterprises, especially where security and regularity compliance are non-negotiable. “A proper assessment of peopleprocesses and control can provide a bird’s eye view of all IT and from there what is required to apply policies and procedures coherently together with a security strategy across all platforms,” says Cruise.

As digital transformation and cloud migration are now fully understood as business imperatives, choosing the right provider should be a carefully considered decision. Cruise explains that it’s vital to understand that no two cloud providers are the same, and that each market and sell on what they do differently. “Each provider has their own unique set of services and tools, which paradoxically, is where their value lies, but the drawback is that it also creates a barrier to multi-cloud due to incompatibilities. Enterprises should be circumspect in targeting these specific USPs in each provider as they will enforce a level of vendor lock-in and base their multicloud strategy on which providers will give them a consistent user experience across all platforms.”

As enterprise demands shift, how cloud is deployed will adapt in tandem. Cruise believes the future is likely to be a pragmatic cloud or dirty cloud. “This is the path of least resistance as it leads to what works most easily. This is mixture of onsite; private-style cloud like local VMware VPC; and public cloud from global hyperscalers.”

www.routed.co.za

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud adoption is the future of African SMEs

In our previous Africa Cloud Review report, we highlighted how cloud adoption is no longer merely an option but a necessity that promises tremendous rewards across entire organizations.

Africa is currently witnessing a revolution in new cloud and data centre capacity, with a growth forecast of 80 per cent and 50 per cent. In fact, Xalam Analytics has previously noted that African data centres are the hottest growth area in the African ICT market. 

The emergence of cloud in Africa as the Cloud Over Africa report by Research ICT Africa report notes is viewed as a natural extension of the deployment of advanced IT technologies by high-end users in both the consumer and enterprise services markets.

‘’Much of the hype around cloud computing in Africa is as a result of the adoption of high-end technology and software industries such as financial services, oil and gas; and of advanced next-generation networks by the telecommunications operators.’’ the report says.

This is of course something we have mentioned in the previous cloud review article we have published here. From fintech companies that are changing the way Africans send and receive money, to Agriculture, cloud technology has the power to transform how we work in emerging markets. 

SMEs and public services stand to gain the most from the adoption of cloud services, which provides immediate access to the infrastructure and services previously only available to big enterprises able to invest heavily in IT. 

As Soromfe Uzomah, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative notes Cloud computing gives businesses the ability to scale, cost-effectively, to new markets. This is particularly beneficial for SMEs, who often lacked the resources or infrastructure to expand before.

Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director, Central Africa at SAP, also notes that investments into new technologies like cloud will greatly assist SMEs in the region as they adapt to a very different operating environment.

 “As one of the most important drivers for job creation and economic growth, the SME sector is vital to the region’s economic recovery. Technology will continue to play a determining role in how well the sector recovers from this year’s events, while also digitally-tooling organisations to out-perform their competitors in this new economy and enabling them to execute the business, operate, and thrive in the market,” he says.

Currently, most of these SMEs are struggling to survive in an ongoing global recession. Cloud offers many opportunities and could help companies to improve their business and use technology more efficiently. 

The Cloud Computing: Adoption Issues for Sub-Saharan African SMEs report envisages that as cloud computing evolves, more SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa will adopt it as an IT Strategy. This could positively contribute to the successes of these SMEs and consequently, contribute to the economic growth desired by these developing countries.

Bottomline, cloud platforms are the future of African SMEs. This Digital transformation is imperative for these SMEs, as it enables them to streamline back-office operations and free up time and resources to focus on their core business.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa

www.incentro.com/en-ke

Nokia and Google Cloud partner to develop new, cloud-based 5G radio solutions

Nokia has today announced a partnership with Google Cloud to develop new, cloud-based 5G radio solutions. The two companies will collaborate on joint solutions combining Nokia’s Radio Access Network (RAN), Open RAN, Cloud RAN (vRAN) and edge cloud technologies, with Google’s edge computing platform and applications ecosystem. The collaboration will lead to the development of solutions and use cases to solve key 5G scenarios for businesses worldwide.

The initial collaboration, which is already underway at Nokia’s Espoo headquarters, will pursue a number of different workstreams. The first, which will focus on Cloud RAN, will integrate Nokia’s 5G vDU (virtualized distributed unit) and 5G vCU (virtualized centralized unit) with Google’s edge computing platform, running on Anthos. Nokia’s 5G standalone network with vCU and 5G core will also be tested on Google Cloud Anthos platform as a cloud-native deployment.

Today, global CSPs can unlock new monetization opportunities by driving 5G connectivity and advanced services to enterprise customers at the network edge, to deliver new, digital experiences for consumers. By leveraging its Open RAN and Cloud RAN leadership and combining it with best-in-class public cloud infrastructure from Google Cloud, Nokia is expanding its ecosystem of partners and helping CSPs lower deployment and operational costs, which is essential for monetizing 5G deployments. Both Nokia and Google Cloud will continue to develop the scope of these initial collaborations by exploring new technologies and solutions that will enhance their joint 5G Cloud RAN and edge cloud solutions.

Recognizing the performance demands of a 5G network, Nokia will also work to certify its Nokia AirFrame Open Edge hardware with Anthos. Nokia AirFrame Open Edge distributes computing capacity into the edge of the network and drives the implementation of Cloud RAN, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), as well as 5G.

“In the 5G era, we’re committed to delivering solutions underpinned by world-class engineering that support our customers’ requirements and help them to take advantage of 5G.” George Nazi, Global VP, Telco, Media & Entertainment Industry Solutions at Google Cloud, said. 

Bikash Koley, VP, Google Global Network and Head of Technology for Telecom Products at Google Cloud, said “This partnership with Nokia will combine both of our decades of mobile communications expertise to deliver new solutions that help CSPs enable business transformation at the network edge.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said they were are excited to develop new 5G solutions at the network edge with Google Cloud. ”Our service provider customers will benefit greatly from this collaboration with more choice and flexibility to efficiently deploy and orchestrate 5G networks. This will ultimately help our customers deliver 5G services on the network edge providing multiple options of cloud-based solutions paving the way forward.” he said. 

www.nokia.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud adoption is now a necessity

As we have previously highlighted, businesses in Africa are increasingly turning to cloud to improve operational efficiency and COVID-19 is accelerating this adoption. 

In light of the immense challenges that have been brought about by the pandemic especially in 2020, cloud adoption is no longer merely an option; indeed, it is a necessity that promises tremendous rewards across entire organizations. 

As IDC notes,  ‘’the region’s enterprises dramatically accelerate their digital transformation journeys, they need to embrace the power of cloud computing and its holy grail – frictionless, hybrid multi-cloud that provides infrastructure-agnostic views and unified management capabilities across all clouds and even legacy data centres’’

IDC has highlighted cloud as the key technology in its five stages of enterprise recovery.  It is the fastest path and natural choice to enable a resilient digital infrastructure. CIOs across the region are aggressively investing in increasing their cloud leverage, and the effectiveness of their cloud strategies will be a critical factor in shaping their competitiveness and growth post-recovery.

African startups are also massively investing in cloud services such as Amazon AWS or Google Cloud, a clear indication of how critical cloud is. 

This rise has gone beyond basic office applications. From banks looking to accelerate the rollout of new applications among other things, cloud services are transforming Africa’s productive capacity and emerging as one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s digital transformation.

Data centres

As the demand for cloud services also continues to grow, the demand for data centres also keeps growing.  In fact, Xalam Analytics has previously noted that African data centres are the hottest growth area in the African ICT market. 

South Africa is already Africa’s largest data centre market, accounting for ~60% of the continent’s available MTDC power supply. That colocation gap, however, is set to widen according to Xalam Analytics.  ‘’We anticipate that South Africa will add ten times more colocation power capacity over the next two years than all other African markets combined.’’ the company says. 

A new report from The African Data Centres Association (ADCA) and Xalam Analytics also revealed that Africa needs 1000MW and 700 facilities to meet growing demand and bring the rest of the continent onto level terms.

Compared with other Data Centre markets around the world, Africa is unique in the sense it has a population of over 1.3 billion people and with a total landmass of 30,365,000 km and has the potential to create huge demand for Data Centres and the digital services provided by Data Centre facilities.  This is according to data from the “The Cloud and Data Centre Revolution in Africa” report. 

To-date only a small portion of the potential demand for African Data Centre space has been met with Africa having a low Data Centre penetration rate compared with other regions.

Early this month, The Raxio Group, a premier pan-African data centre developer and operator, announced that it is establishing and investing in ‘Raxio Kinshasa’, the first in a series of state-of-the-art, privately owned, carrier-neutral, data centres in the DRC. Africa Data Centres, also recently had its Tier III certification renewed by the Uptime Institute for its Nairobi-based data centre.

Data Centres are entering new markets including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zambia. A trend as ResearchAndMarkets.com notes includes facilities being created as PFMs (Pre-Fabricated Modules), as smaller self-contained Data Centres to be used for network, cloud, wholesale and colocation, suitable for local environments.

As the report from The African Data Centres Association (ADCA) and Xalam Analytics noted “Expanding the breadth of Africa’s data centre capacity is fundamental to reducing latency, optimizing intra-African traffic flows, and slashing operating costs in the broader African economic supply chain,”

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa



www.incentro.com/en-ke