[Column] Pedro Guerreiro: Cloud as a tool to create certainty

The speed with which Africa’s business sector has changed over the past year has been nothing short of astonishing.

Business leaders across the continent have had their hands full, from enabling remote work on a previously unprecedented scale to adapting to disruptions in the global supply chain, enabling e-learning for millions of youth – not to mention ensuring business continuity in the midst of a once-in-a-generation crisis.

Some changes in behaviour – such as the growing adoption of online shopping, telemedicine and digital channels for engaging with service providers – are likely to outlive the pandemic. Other behaviours – such as in-person teaching and working from the office at least some of the time – are likely to return once it’s safe.

Organisations need the flexibility to adapt to these multi-faceted changes while also improving the accuracy of the decisions they make regarding which route to take.

Speed or certainty?

McKinsey believes speed has been a fundamental aspect of the pandemic and will continue to play a leading role in guiding how businesses should adapt to ongoing uncertainty. The argument is that, by prioritising speed, organisations could make rapid decisions, act on emerging opportunities more quickly, and so improve their chances at overcoming the immense challenges created by the twin forces of digital disruption and the global pandemic.

Speed is certainly important, but there is no competitive advantage in making poor decisions quickly. The prevailing disruption and continued volatility requires that business leaders make decisions with certainty.

To make good decisions, business leaders need accurate sources of data, and the tools to turn that data into insights that can guide decision-making in real time. The modern business environment is simply too complex and volatile to rely entirely on so-called intuitive decision-making. Good quality, accurate and complete data integrated to an intelligent suite of business applications gives decision-makers greater scope for decisions that shift the needle of the business.

For example, responding well to changing customer demands is nearly impossible without knowing what those demands are. Having access to customer experience management tools that can track customer expectations in real time and guide how the business responds to those expectations removes much of the trial and error of manual decision-making. Integrating the customer experience management tool with an automation layer further increases both the speed and accuracy of that response.

Hybrid work models raise the stakes

The impact of the pandemic means most organisations are operating on a fragmented basis. Teams are working from home, making in-person methods of employee engagement and performance management almost totally obsolete, at least for the moment.

Without new employee engagement tools that can effectively mobilise and support teams around common business objectives, organisations could see falling productivity and negative effects on aspects such as product development or customer experience.

New management tools can provide measurable insights into the employee experience, which can assist managers and leaders with making better decisions over the types of support they need to provide to their teams.

Advances in data and analytics also bring data-driven insights into the boardroom, with technology solutions that connect the top floor with the shop floor to give C-level executives granular insight into the total performance of the business.

To harness data and technology for greater certainty in decision-making, organisations need to put certain building blocks in place.

Tools to create certainty in decision-making

In order to achieve a single accurate view over the organisation and empower decision-makers with actionable insights, organisations need to build intelligent enterprise capabilities.

In simple terms, this means using the latest technologies to turn insight into action across every aspect of the business, in real time. Integrated business applications – such as enterprise resource planning and human capital management solutions – powered by next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence help transform end-to-end business processes.

Experience management solutions give insight to the sentiment of customers, partners and employees, while business process intelligence and automation enable organisations to immediately act on insights and opportunities.

At the foundation of the intelligent enterprise is cloud, which gives organisations the ability to simplify and scale their systems landscape without sacrificing performance.

Cloud empowers businesses with the certainty of a quicker time-to-value, without the upfront capital outlays required of on-premise deployments.

With cloud-enabled intelligent enterprise capabilities, organisations can achieve the speed needed to stay ahead of competitors and other disruptors while maintaining the certainty of measured, data-driven decision-making.

And with new tools such as RISE with SAP, organisations can start building intelligent enterprise capabilities no matter what stage of their digital transformation journeys they find themselves.

Pedro Guerreiro is the Managing Director Central Africa at SAP Africa

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Global spending on cloud Services surpasses $300 billion, report

Cloud Services have become an integral part of business operations for many large companies and in 2020 the industry earned an estimated revenue of over $300 billion globally.

According to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, global public IT cloud services market revenue for 2020 was at $312.4B – a 34% Increase from 2019.

In 2016, global spending on public IT cloud services was just under $100B. In 2021 that figure has ballooned to a healthy $312.4B after experiencing a 34% increase from 2019’s $233.4B revenue. In the 4 year period from 2016-2020 revenue from spending on cloud services grew at an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.31%.

Of the three main types of cloud services, Software as a Service (SaaS) still accounts for the largest share of total revenue with a 63% share. In 2020 SaaS revenue amounted to $197.6B which is a 33% increase from 2019’s $148.5. S From 2016-2020 SaaS revenue grew at a CAGR of 34.1%

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) held the second-largest share of the revenue accounting for 21.5% of total revenue. IaaS experienced the largest growth among the three main types of cloud services with a 37% increase in revenue from $49B in 2019 to $67.2B in 2020. From 2016-2020 IaaS had a staggering CAGR of almost 40%.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) revenue accounts for just 15% of total revenue and experienced a 32.6% increase from $35.9B in 2019 to $47.6B in 2020. PaaS experienced a CAGR of 42.42% from 2016-2020, the highest out of the three main types of cloud services despite experiencing the lowest YoY growth.

Rex Pascual, editor at Trading Platforms, commented: “The cloud services industry was already gathering strong momentum prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Lockdowns across the world resulted in many businesses rapidly shifting to cloud-based services giving the industry its highest YoY growth to date. Expect the industry to sustain this growth as many more businesses see the value in the adaptability of cloud services even in a post-pandemic world.”

www.tradingplatforms.com

[Column] Setumo Mohapi: Finding the right cloud strategy for your business

2021 will be the year defined by business’ attempt to recover, build better resilience and restructure their operations following a tumultuous year of change as a result of the global pandemic.

The ability to adapt to the new world of work and the additional challenges that now lie ahead in 2021 will be the defining factor for those who will maintain business success – and those who won’t.

Although companies had previously set long term goals for their digital transformation, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital solutions to ensure business continuity and sustainability.

Hybrid cloud has provided enterprises with a trusted and capable foundation to adapt to changing market needs.

In a hybrid cloud landscape, there are five key reasons that amplify the case for adoption:

Hybrid cloud brings agility, business resilience and continuity to the fore

Agility has always been a crucial outcome for most if not all enterprises. The ability to innovate and respond to changing market conditions is vital. Yet the speed, scale, and intensity of the impacts of Covid-19 has exposed certain deficiencies that may not have been considered. In our experience, it is often the case that the infrastructure and services requirements for transformation of the end-to-end network are understated when planning deployments of cloud solutions. The hybrid network that supports hybrid cloud deployments and services must not be the single point of weakness for organisations that require the full-stack capabilities to support agile, yet resilient businesses. The hybrid network must be programmable, flexible and allow for methods of consumption and billing that are standard in the cloud world. 

Hybrid cloud brings security and compliance complexities

As distributed workloads become the standard, and the security attack surface expands and potentially becomes as dynamic as the dynamic hybrid intelligent infrastructurte in the network and across the hybrid cloud environment, the overall response to the new security challenges must be equally up to the task. From conceptualisation and design of IT interventions, integration of OEM solutions, and finally, full-stack operations within the enterprise, organisations have to adopt the mantra  of secure by design, covering cloud, infrastructure, access, application and data security enabling business continuity seamlessly.  In this respect, embedded security moves from being a cost centre to being the critical transformation enabler under shared organisational responsibility.

Hybrid cloud is a driver for cost efficiency                                    

A more efficient total cost of IT operations is the biggest driver of hybrid cloud adoption, and it’s easy to see why. The shift to a distributed workforce model has meant people require access to both data and applications in new, different, and often complex ways – and organisations want to enable that in not only a cost-efficient manner but in a high-performance environment too. SD-WAN has emerged as a more cost-effective way of connecting to the cloud but it’s critical to note that optimising traffic flows across multiple connectivity options requires proper architecture and ongoing analysis and management.

Hybrid cloud simplifies internal operations through automation

It is complex to implement, but hybrid cloud ultimately simplifies internal operations through automation and streamlines the management of IT resources. This increases overall efficiency by reducing the time spent by IT teams on managing supporting infrastructures. To take advantage of hybrid cloud, understanding exactly what works in any given scenario, as well as how and where it can fulfil the needs of a particular business model is crucial. Mixing public and private cloud leverages the best of both worlds, each for different reasons and of course, different workload priorities.

Hybrid cloud offers business and IT leaders the chance to meet changing business demands head- on. While continuity and business resilience are fundamental, improving customer experiences and growing revenues still features highly on the list of business objectives.

You don’t have to go it alone

The role of partners also brings to light not only how much organisations rely on their partners’ skills and expertise, but how they drive greater efficiencies through the provision of integrated and flexible intelligent platforms and automation, led by cloud solutions. With more and more enterprises shifting a majority of their IT infrastructure to various third parties, customers can now fully benefit from the guidance and strategic counsel offered by vendors that are specialising across the OEM ecosystem.

“We believe that no two clouds are the same, and as such that no two implementations or approaches should be identical. Each cloud offering must be developed to serve a specific need and to answer a specific question.”

Setumo Mohapi is the Chief Go-to-Market Officer for Dimension Data 

[Column] Anthony Njoroge: The importance of flash storage for the cloud

As cynicism about the benefits of the cloud give way to rapidly embracing digital transformation, companies are finding themselves in a position where they must optimise their infrastructure.

While the modern cloud environment delivers improved performance and more responsive use of resources, it must be configured properly with the relevant hardware in place. This is where flash storage becomes an enabler to help unlock the business benefits arising from effective digital transformation.

There is no arguing about the speed advantage flash provides over more traditional storage options. But perhaps, more importantly, it results in improved productivity and responsiveness within the organisation. Because of the higher input/output operations per second of flash, it can deliver faster response times for those IT services that support the business. It makes it possible for insights to be extracted in real-time from the data warehouse further aiding the decision-making process.

The resultant enhancements in efficiencies that come from flash storage means companies will use fewer CPU cores and cloud cycles. Given how most cloud providers work on a pay-per-use model, there will be a significant cost savings that can be reinvested in other parts of the business.

According to the rule of thumb, flash storage can deliver approximately 10 times the performance of traditional storage arrays with just one tenth of the power consumption. It is therefore not difficult to understand why companies are increasingly adopting flash in their cloud architecture.

Storage flexibility

IT departments have also been exploring using NVMe to reduce response time and storage latency. For its part, NetApp was the first enterprise storage vendor to deliver NVMe/FC on all midrange and high-end all-flash A-series storage. This innovation allows customers using a 32Gb fibre channel to immediately see latencies drop to under half a millisecond.

All-flash arrays also enable storage tiering capabilities. After all, one of the ways to reduce cloud costs is to tier infrequently used data to less-expensive storage formats. However, the public cloud providers only offer data tiering between classes of their object storage offerings. This means that as storage requirements become more dynamic, companies require options in matching the fastest storage with the most critical applications.

By moving this less critical data to more affordable alternatives using a cloud-agnostic solution, such as the NetApp AFF, companies can tier data more strategically to meet both cost and access requirements.

Modernisation

Combining flash performance and application integration, while leveraging the power of the hybrid cloud, organisations can extend the capabilities of their data centres. These combine to make up part of the data fabric that help users unless the full potential of the data at their disposal.

Consider how consistent and integrated data management services and applications facilitate data visibility and insights, data access and control, and data protection and security. Together, these technologies will accelerate digital transformation and allow the business to address its highest imperatives.

All-flash storage has become a vital component in the cloud migration journey. It is something that companies must consider if they are to be effective in their digital transitions and leverage the agility that come from the high performance computing capabilities delivered through the cloud.

Anthony Njoroge is the Product Manager for NetApp at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

[South Africa] Nedbank enables business continuity and employee remote work with Nutanix

Nutanix, a player in private cloud, hybrid and multicloud computing, has announced that Nedbank, one of Africa’s largest financial institutions, is leveraging the Nutanix cloud platform to improve and facilitate the rapid delivery of its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling employees to work from home.

To ensure that the banking industry was able to provide its services and meet customer needs, Nedbank had to find a way for employees to work safely and productively from home.

When the initial COVID-19 lockdown stages were introduced, South African companies were forced to mobilize quickly with only a one-week period for preparation before a complete country lockdown. With approximately 30,000 employees serving more than 10 million clients, Nedbank needed to quickly scale its end-user computing systems to continue serving customers. With Nutanix already implemented, the IT team was able to seamlessly and rapidly extend its VDI solution.

“During the sudden switch to a work-from-home requirement because of the pandemic, we did not have to increase our infrastructure but rather optimize the way VDI is delivered to new users on the same platform,” said Johan van Tonder, End User Computing Senior Innovation Manager at Nedbank. “Using Nutanix, we can now maintain and upgrade mission-critical infrastructure during business hours without impacting any of our operations as well as enable employees to work from anywhere.”

Prior to deploying the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)-powered Nutanix cloud platform, Nedbank had a three-tier infrastructure that was siloed and required dedicated IT teams to solve specific problems when they arose. It would take a significant amount of time to fix or restore functional problems, which resulted in a large amount of downtime that negatively affected their customers’ experience. Nedbank knew it needed an environment that would increase performance speed and simplify infrastructure management.

In the past, the IT team would have to schedule overtime on the weekend when no users would be accessing the system to complete updates. Now, the IT team can perform firmware updates during peak office hours with minimal disruptions, if any, to the VDI environment or client systems. Additionally, Nedbank was able to simplify the management of its different clusters across separate physical locations, all from a single management console.

With more than 8,500 virtual desktops in its 160-node environment, it is crucial that Nedbank has an infrastructure in place that can enable employees to continue to work even during a pandemic.

“The method and speed at which Nedbank approached these challenges is a testament to the team’s understanding of the power of a hyperconverged infrastructure software and the downstream operational impact it can have on a business,” said Dom Poloniecki, General Manager, Sales, Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa at Nutanix. “Today’s clients don’t want their technology partners to approach their problems with a basket full of new technologies. They want to leverage their existing investments to find incremental value and leverage they are looking for. By leveraging its Nutanix solution, Nedbank is doing just that, stretching and truly deriving value from an existing investment.”

www.nedbank.co.za

www.nutanix.com

Hyperscaler, Neutral Carrier, Cloud Player, the 2021 Datacentre Trends, IDC

Datacentres will undergo significant change in 2021. There has been a revolution in behaviours and approaches that is shifting investment and innovation, and how datacentres provide services and provision for data and compliance.

According to Sabelo Dlamini, Senior Research and Consulting Manager, IDC Sub-Saharan Africa, some of the trends include the growth of the hyperscaler, continued reliance on the carrier-neutral datacentre, and a focus on performance and quality as data becomes increasingly invaluable.

“In addition to the introduction and expansion of hyperscalers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, there will also be growth in the carrier-neutral datacentre for cross-connect services, meet-me rooms, and internet exchange points,” he adds. “This is because we are expecting a growth in traffic volumes due to changes in enterprise processes and consumer behaviour because of COVID-19.”

The carrier-neutral datacentre is likely to become key in developing fair playing fields, particularly for smaller internet service providers (ISPs), to have access to different interconnection points and internet exchange points. As emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and robot process automation (RPA) continue to cement their scope and capability, demand for datacentres will increase, as will the volumes of data generated by the enterprise.  Cloud computing demand will continue to rise, as will the adoption of AI and IoT services that are hosted in the cloud, and this will put a heavy reliance on datacentre capability and ubiquity.

“Mostly everyone will be moving to the cloud so it is critical for every organisation, especially larger enterprises, to see how these changes can impact their business process in the near future, and start to prepare for it,” says Dlamini. “Even if your business is not planning to move, or you think your organisation won’t be affected, your key clients might be moving, and they may expect your processes to be cloud-ready. This is the right time to develop a cloud-ready or digital strategy that ensures the company can survive this transition.”

Everybody is transforming. Competitors, clients, and governments. It is time to ensure that the organisation has the right tools in place to fully leverage the potential of cloud, technologies such as AI or RPA.  This trend towards cloud-ready, digital-native organisation reliant on robust datacentre capabilities, will be further influenced by an increased demand for improved performance and quality of service that will push the datacentre further into the spotlight, and into the critical heart of the organisation.

“There will be a growing need for distributed content delivery networks, and these need to be hosted in regional or local datacentres that are closer to end-users,” says Dlamini. “Additionally, we will see an increased expansion of existing datacentres locally to cater for the growing legal requirements for data to exist within the country.”

On the hyperscaler frontier, the growth and expansion of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft is likely to remain a key driver impacting all these trends. These giants of cloud will continue to evolve their services and reach, allowing for the organisation to reach deeper into its cloud investment and squeeze out every last virtual drop of potential.

“The datacentre trends of 2021 are driven by the need to ensure that organisations have systems and processes in place that are cloud-ready, that can cover both on-prem and off-prem cloud investment, and that can fully support the hybrid cloud model that many sectors require,” concludes Dlamini. “These factors will shape how the datacentre evolves over the next 12 months and it is very likely that continued innovation and investment will further shift the capabilities of the datacentre and how the organisation can benefit from them.”

www.idc.com

Cloud security solutions provider Algress Inc expands into South Africa

Allgress, Inc., a global provider of automated next-generation integrated Cloud Security, Compliance and Risk Management Solutions has announced its opening of a new office in Bedfordview, Gauteng, South Africa headed by Country Manager Neeren Ramharakh.

This international expansion will make Allgress’ industry-solutions more widely available in those regions of the world with more geographically located sales and support.

Ramharakh says “Allgress solutions will allow enterprises to achieve risk and compliance maturity at an expedited rate compared to how enterprises are currently deploying via manual process or outdated technology. Allgress is committed to the GRC environment and our investment into South Africa is the first of many global expansion plans we have going into the future. The South African office will support customers within the Middle East Africa region with emphasis on establishing local partnerships.”  The new office will help raise awareness of GRC in the MEA market and aims to collaborate with partners in highly regulated industry sectors, such as financial services, telecom, utilities and healthcare.

Jeff Bennett, Allgress COO believes South African and Middle Eastern enterprises are keen to adopt advanced certification and risk management capabilities, and says “We are excited to offer our solutions to strengthen their risk and compliance postures, we believe that enterprises will achieve substantial cost and time savings as they deploy our solutions.

“The South African market response has been very good since we entered the country. We see a lot of older, established enterprises working to transform themselves and move away from manual processes. Customers today have high expectations of how they should be served, and big firms are stepping up to transform them as quickly as possible.”

www.allgress.com

Blue Prism accelerates intelligent automation for cloud users on Microsoft Azure

Blue Prism has announced a new offering of Blue Prism intelligent automation software on Microsoft’s AppSource and Azure Marketplaces.

The move enhances access for both Blue Prism and Microsoft customers, and underwrites Blue Prism’s position as the intelligent automation and robotic process automation (RPA) leader in the cloud.

Blue Prism customers already have access to a scalable, enterprise-ready platform that combines robotic automation and smart workflows with technologies like machine learning, advanced analytics, natural language processing, process mining, and cognitive capabilities and this offering allows Blue Prism robots greater access to Microsoft Azure Apps too, with access to over 175 accelerators for Microsoft products within Blue Prism’s Digital Exchange.

The new Bring Your Own License (BYOL) offering for Azure Marketplace and AppSource is pre-loaded with select Azure Cognitive Services – including Azure Text Analytics, Azure Form Recognizer and Azure Computer Vision – all of which customers can license directly through Microsoft. This combines with Blue Prism Digital Exchange where users can access more than 175 accelerators for Microsoft products to further enhance their enterprise automations.

“This combination of Blue Prism and Azure Cognitive Services gives our customers a greater choice with AI-enabled, self-service experience that is provisioned via Microsoft Azure,” says Chief Partner Strategy Officer at Blue Prism, Linda Dotts. “Advanced intelligent automation in the cloud provides multiple advantages for our customers, most notably the ability to instantly scale to meet enterprise demands.”

Blue Prism accelerators now exists for Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft’s Power Automate gallery, Microsoft’s Healthcare Cloud; with Form Recognizer, Text Analytics and Azure Computer Vision.

It also adds to the company’s growing portfolio of cloud offerings, which include its Blue Prism Cloud SaaS platform, and expands a cloud strategy that not only centres on making intelligent automation more accessible, but that also aligns with customer desires for interoperability, expanded automation solutions, consumable and extensible artificial intelligence, and a seamless intelligent automation journey.

“Customers can embrace the transformative potential of intelligent automation and drive impactful change within their organisations, and this is now fully supported by Microsoft,” says CEO and Executive Chairman of Blue Prism, Jason Kingdon, “We are offering customers more flexible cloud deployment options delivering on Blue Prism’s vision of giving customers end-to-end automation solutions that cover the broadest range of IT environments, including on-premises, hybrid, public cloud, and SaaS.

www.blueprism.com

azure.microsoft.com

Shift to remote work is accelerating digital adoption, Cisco Duo Security Report

A new report published from Duo Security at Cisco, the multi-factor authentication (MFA) and secure access provider, reveals the unprecedented IT change organizations underwent this year amid a massive shift to remote work, accelerating adoption of cloud technology.

The security implications of this transition will reverberate for years to come, as the hybrid workplace demands the workforce to be secure, connected and productive from anywhere.

The 2020 Duo Trusted Access Report details how organizations, with a mandate to rapidly transition their entire workforce to remote, turned to remote access technologies such as virtual private networks (VPN) and remote desktop protocol (RDP), among numerous other efforts.

As a result, authentication activity to these technologies swelled 60%, helping propel Duo’s monthly authentications from 600 million to 900 million per month. A complementary Cisco survey recently found that 96% of organizations made cybersecurity policy changes during the pandemic, with more than half implementing MFA.

Cloud adoption also accelerated. Daily authentications to cloud applications surged 40% during the first few months of the pandemic, the bulk of which came from enterprise and mid-sized organizations looking to ensure secure access to various cloud services.

As organizations scrambled to acquire the requisite equipment to support remote work, employees relied on personal or unmanaged devices in the interim. Consequently, blocked access attempts due to out-of-date devices skyrocketed 90% in March. That figure fell precipitously in April, indicating healthier devices and decreased risk of breach due to malware.

“As the pandemic began, the priority for many organizations was keeping the lights on and accepting risk in order to accomplish this end,” said Dave Lewis, Global Advisory CISO, Duo Security at Cisco. “Attention has now turned towards lessening risk by implementing a more mature and modern security approach that accounts for a traditional corporate perimeter that has been completely upended.”

Report findings also include:

So Long, SMS – The prevalence of SIM-swapping attacks has driven organizations to strengthen their authentication schemes. Year-over-year, the percentage of organizations that enforce a policy to disallow SMS authentication nearly doubled from 8.7% to 16.1%.

Biometrics Booming – Biometrics are nearly ubiquitous across enterprise users, paving the way for a passwordless future. Eighty percent of mobile devices used for work have biometrics configured, up 12% the past five years.

Cloud Apps on Pace to Pass On-Premises Apps – Use of cloud apps are on pace to surpass use of on-premises apps by next year, accelerated by the shift to remote work. Cloud applications make up 13.2% of total Duo authentications, a 5.4% increase year-over-year, while on-premises applications encompass 18.5% of total authentications, down 1.5% since last year.

Apple Devices 3.5 times More Likely to Update Quickly vs. Android – Ecosystem differences have security consequences. On June 1, Apple iOS and Android both issued software updates to patch critical vulnerabilities in their respective operating systems. iOS devices were 3.5 times more likely to be updated within 30 days of a security update or patch, compared to Android.

Windows 7 Lingers in Healthcare Despite Security Risks – More than 30% of Windows devices in healthcare organizations still run Windows 7, despite end-of-life status, compared with 10% of organizations across Duo’s customer base. Healthcare providers are often unable to update deprecated operating systems due to compliance requirements and restrictive terms and conditions of third-party software vendors.

Windows Devices, Chrome Browser Dominate Business IT – Windows continues its dominance in the enterprise, accounting for 59% of devices used to access protected applications, followed by Mac OS X at 23%. Overall, mobile devices account for 15% of corporate access (iOS: 11.4%, Android: 3.7%). On the browser side, Chrome is king with 44% of total browser authentications, resulting in stronger security hygiene overall for organizations.

UK and EU Trail US in Securing Cloud – United Kingdom and European Union-based organizations trail US-based enterprises in user authentications to cloud applications, signalling less cloud use overall or a larger share of applications not protected by MFA.

The full report can be accessed here

www.duo.com

Telekom Networks Malawi selects Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack to modernize its telecommunication infrastructure

Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, has announced that its Charmed OpenStack, an open source private cloud solution that allows businesses to control large pools of computer, storage and networking in a datacentre, has been selected by Telekom Networks Malawi Plc (TNM), to modernise and virtualise its entire telecommunications infrastructure.

 TNM is Malawi’s telecoms provider and aims to create faster time to market across its product range through the move.

TNM has been a pioneer of mobile and data solutions in Malawi, having been the first mobile operator to launch 4G broadband services, while its network is the fastest in the country, covering all cities and major towns. Charmed Openstack will enable TNM to separate network hardware and software, turning legacy components into software based network services . This means they can be updated quicker with continuous integration and development, while ensuring the network is robust and scalable.

The move towards Charmed OpenStack has been driven by TNM’s existing use and advocacy of open source software. The deployment, including two private clouds, will happen immediately and give TNM access to virtual network functions (VNFs), which will open up access to a wide range of network services to build on top of the initial deployment.

Adopting a cloud-based architecture with Charmed OpenStack will accelerate TNM’s ability to develop new technologies and services while benefiting from reduced CAPEX investment. TNM will also adopt Canonical’s Managed OpenStack service, which allows TNM to have a fully managed private cloud on its own servers. The managed service allows TNM to take advantage of Canonical’s open source expertise and allows them to focus on adding business value elsewhere.

Michiel Buitelaar, Chief Executive Officer at TNM, said: “This is a big step in an ongoing programme for us to evolve our infrastructure and deliver the best possible solutions for customers. Utilising Canonical’s expertise via OpenStack was an obvious choice, and by increasing our open source footprint we now have access to a wider range of services, optimising how we will deliver future technologies.”

Nicholas Dimotakis, VP of Field Engineering, Datacentre at Canonical, said: “TNM is joining a wave of telco companies moving to OpenStack, to modernise their infrastructure to software based network services, and it’s fantastic for us to be part of this migration. TNM understands what can be delivered through an open infrastructure and is now able to take advantage of open source technology more broadly, collaborating with the community to improve its offering.”

TNM’s decision represents a bigger trend within the telecoms industry, while in Africa specifically, companies are turning to OpenStack to modernise their network and future proof for the adoption of new technologies such as 5G. Through a long-term investment in the technology, TNM will now have more agility to innovate at scale and consistently meet customer demands.

TNM’s cloud will be built on Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack, and utilise Canonical’s open source tools to automate the deployment and operations of their infrastructure. TNM has adopted Juju – Operator Lifecycle Manager to manage and operate a set of software applications for a model-driven architecture to onboard virtual network functions (VNFs) applications, while MAAS is used as the cloud-provisioning tool. The company will also benefit from Canonical’s Managed OpenStack offering for the ongoing maintenance and support of operations.

www.canonical.com

www.tnm.co.mw