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

[Kenya] Internet Solutions partners with icolo.io to enhance its Data Centre Services Offering

Converged ICT Services Provider Internet Solutions has signed a partnership with IT infrastructure company, icolo.io, to boost its data centre and cloud services offering to their clients.

The partnership will see Internet Solutions provide colocation and cloud services within iColo’s Nairobi and Mombasa data centres in addition to its existing Nairobi Chancery facility. iColo.io designs builds and operates state of the art carrier-neutral data centers to serve a broad spectrum of clients.

Speaking during the signing, Internet Solutions’ Executive Head of Cloud and Business Consulting Richard Muthua said in this era of a data driven economy, it is important that businesses keep their data safe, secure and readily available when needed.

“It is with this knowledge that Internet Solutions continues to provide, amongst other solutions, data management and colocation through our network of data centers across Africa and globally. With this agreement, our clients stand to benefit from a fully managed colocation service, in a vendor agnostic, Tier 3 / PCI DSS/ISO 27001 certified data centre, leading to enhanced operational resiliency” he said. 

Muthua noted that Internet Solutions will also provide the option of fortifying client’s environment with the firm’s world class monitoring as a service that include Security monitoring and incident response, managed security services, Voice, Cloud PBX, managed data backup solutions, Business continuity and disaster recovery services, private, Hybrid and public cloud solutions.

Commenting on the partnership, iColo.io Chief Executive Officer Ranjith Cherickel said: “We are proud to be IS’s infrastructure partner in building world class connectivity products to serve enterprise consumers in Kenya. Our role is to provide services to a variety of new and existing customers.  In addition, we help create an environment for IS to interact with content delivery networks, enterprise customers and global connectivity partners. This agreement between IS and iColo.io is a step further, in providing a world class client-centric enterprise experience.”

With Internet Solutions and iColo working together, clients can now benefit from lower costs and improved resilience by securely housing their information systems and networking equipment in the facilities which are operated to global best practices by the two organisations.

www.is.co.ke

www.icolo.io

[Column] Kurt Goodall: Extending security to the cloud

Business leaders now have a choice whether they want to continue using their trusted firewall or move to a next-generation firewall delivered by appliances or as cloud services to protect the outer perimeter security in branch offices.

Troye technical director Kurt Goodall says Citrix offers various choices, from the long-established multi-site to the advanced multi-layered approach, both of which can protect users and data at the branches, data centre, and clouds from multi-vector cyber threats.

“Citrix SD-WAN Integrated Firewall complements your trusted firewall investment and strengthens overall security infrastructure. Citrix provides an integrated perimeter firewall that masks users and infrastructure from cyber surveillance,” he explains.

This integrated firewall has global policy control, supports zone-based policies so that you can implement granular micro-segmentation of traffic and enforce uniform policy consistently. Citrix SD-WAN can also intelligently track the fast-changing open ports from SaaS and IaaS apps as trusted traffic and directly breakout the traffic to the internet, enhancing application performance.

It marks all other traffic, such as web browsing, as untrusted and forwards it to the full security stack, typically located at the HQ or a private data centre. Citrix SD-WAN also takes extra precautions by encrypting all branch-to-branch egress traffic, even when it is transported over a private MPLS line

Goodall says Citrix SD-WAN automates connectivity to cloud security. “With most enterprises embarking on some form of cloud transformation, Citrix recommends extending perimeter security to the cloud, where apps and workloads reside.”

Citrix has partnered with industry leaders like Palo Alto Networks, Zscaler, and Symantec to deliver joint solutions that enable our SD-WAN to be a transparent gateway for Secure Web Gateway (SWG) service. Cloud-based SWG is a popular option for branch offices due to its simple and yet effective multi-layer protection.

Citrix SD-WAN management platform is the key component in this joint solution, providing on-boarding automation and a direct subscription link to Palo Alto Global Protect (aka Prisma) and Zscaler Secure Internet Gateway services. Through API automation, Citrix SD-WAN also secures the connectivity (via IPsec) from the branch to the Palo Alto, Zscaler and Symantec clouds.

The benefits of automation become more significant as more branch sites are involved, directly translating into time savings and reduction in configuration errors. Last but not least, Citrix provides this automated on-boarding capability free of charge.

In addition, cloud-based security also enables a new service-consumption model. It provides an option to shift to opex spending, which can be easily aligned with your business growth. There is no need to deploy security appliances at every branch. It also removes the need to build an in-house resource to manage the security infrastructure.

Kurt Goodall is the technical director at Troye Technical Solutions in South Africa.

[South Africa] Local partner role is critical to cloud success in Africa

While cloud technology presents a significant opportunity for enterprises to innovate as if they were potentially start-ups, the time and approach some are taking to make this decision could ultimately cost them. This is according to Guy Zibi, principal analyst, Xalam Analytics, who was a keynote speaker at Hype, vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed’s recent event series.

In his sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg, Zibi says that there is no doubt that the African cloud is here: “While customers are going digital at an alarming rate, competition is increasingly amorphous and more agile. There are also thousands of start-ups looking to disrupt. Traditional rivals are becoming more agile and are leveraging new technologies, making the African cloud complex and varied,” says Zibi.

He says that this has led to many enterprises playing a defensive strategy, now looking at how to leverage technology to grow revenue: “This is predominant in consumer-facing businesses and has led to growth of mobile applications and a rise in the use of analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).”

This, he says, is while data volumes grow, budgets get tighter, economies slow down, and unpredictable power supply, cyber-attacks and a heavier regulatory burden all make the landscape more challenging.

How organisations approach the cloud largely hinges on what and where they are, according to Zibi. Is the market cloud-ready? How important is technology in the production chain? What is the quality and cost of connectivity?

“In Africa we are seeing selective cloud usage, which includes a mix of basic and critical workloads onsite and a mix of full-blown migration. The latter includes lift and shift; re-platform; replace/rebuild and rearchitect,” says Zibi. Interestingly, he says that the financial services sector is the most progressive in Africa, having moved to a combination of off premise and public cloud.”

Migration patterns in cloud-ready markets have been amplified by the arrival of hyperscalers, which is evident in the acceleration of the financial services sector. While rebuild/replace is not seen as a viable option, lift and shift together with rearchitecting seem to be dominating cloud migration.

“Rehosting is growing within financial services as well as in retail, however the public sector and industry are slower. It is this reluctance to consider viable alternatives that could impact the outcome and success of cloud migration across several industries,” says Zibi. 

He says that there is room for locally-attuned platforms in Africa: “While it is good to see global market leading cloud platforms in Africa, it is highly likely that several markets and sectors will be highly-dependent on local providers. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) will play an important role in cloud migration but they must evolve.”

Dave Funnell, VMware Senior Manager: Cloud Provider Business, Sub-Saharan Africa says that the growth of applications is driving Cloud adoption, with a different destination depending upon the lifecycle status of the application. This is leading to a hybrid multi-cloud world, with the requirement for cloud services not just from the hyperscalers, but also hosted private clouds. Having recently presented Routed with Africa’s first VMware Cloud Verified accreditation, he says that these Cloud platforms provide customers with a valuable proposition: the easiest and lowest risk pathway for migration to the cloud.

“The reality is that it’s a hybrid cloud future with multiple cloud providers. The majority of applications being migrated to the cloud are ‘lift and shift’, so why expend the time, cost and energy to migrate over months and years to a hyperscaler, often with unpredictable results. Rather perform a rapid and confident migration to a private cloud, whether delivered by a hyperscaler or a localised provider, such as Routed. This is why all six major hyperscalers, including AWS and Azure, have partnered with VMware and explains the growth of localised cloud provider partners, who deliver services tailored to their client’s requirements. As more enterprises adopt a cloud first strategy, I expect the private cloud market to grow in lockstep with the native hyperscale requirement, making the role of companies like Routed and other MSPs, critical,” says Funnell.

www.routed.co.za

www.xalamanalytics.com

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

Workonline launches Remote Cloud Connect services in Africa

Global network service provider, Workonline Communications, has launched Remote Cloud Connect, facilitating access to cloud services for Workonline customers over a dedicated Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) service. This low latency cloud solution enables customers to connect to leading cloud services such as AWS Direct Connect, Microsoft Azure Express Route, Google Cloud, Oracle and IBM cloud platforms more securely and transparently from any country where Workonline has a presence.

Benjamin Deveaux, Head of Business Development at Workonline Communications, says that the aim is to empower customers by enabling them to connect to the cloud through their use of the high performance Workonline backbone: “As a wholesale provider of IP transit services across Africa, we are continuously innovating to provide our ISP clients with more stable and reliable Internet services in Africa. By leveraging global cloud exchange platforms like Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange we can offer our ISP customers a more secure remote connection to a cloud provider of their choice. Through Remote Cloud Connect, clients will benefit from a low cost, high performance connection with excellent local support.”

In line with the predicted growth of cloud across the continent, Xalam Analytics recently published its report ‘The rise of the African cloud’, and says that for African markets, cloud, virtualisation and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technology developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution. Few other segments in the African ICT space are as likely to generate an incremental $2bn in top line revenue over the next five years, and at least as much in adjacent enabling ecosystem revenue.

Deveaux says that Workonline sees immense potential across East and West Africa within the remote connectivity to cloud services space in particular: “Initially our efforts will focus on Kenya and Ghana, where remote connectivity to cloud services is growing fast.”

Through Remote Cloud Connect, Workonline will deliver far more predictable latency connections by taking the shortest route from Kenya or Ghana back to its South African or European Points of Presence where the Cloud provider in question is present. Workonline will also provide secondary failover links for protection when possible, with transparency in terms of the paths which the traffic will take in various failure scenarios. These services can be provided at 1Mbps to multiples of 10Gbps.

Andrew Owens, Teraco peering and interconnection specialist, says that cloud growth is a reality across the continent and the ability for established networks to provide an on-ramp to cloud is essential: “The Africa Cloud Exchange not only enables networks to provide this connection, but also encourages the growth and development of cloud-based solutions. By providing a direct and secure connection, the platform provides a better cloud experience for end users and as a result, empowers the growth and success of African cloud providers.”

www.workonline.africa

Westcon-Comstor unveils CloudCall to boost business operations

Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa has announced the availability of CloudCall, which integrates the communication and collaboration features of Microsoft Teams with the advanced voice processing of AudioCodes.

 It has been developed in partnership with South African cloud development specialists Argantic. CloudCall removes the need to buy and maintain expensive hardware and software and protects existing investments by integrating with PBX systems.

CloudCall is suitable for companies of any size as it can easily scale according to the number and type of users in the organisation. Partners who sell the service can offer value-added features such as tailored reports with usage, session and device information.

CloudCall can also be deployed as a fully functional IP calling system. It combines the meeting functionality, video recording and conferencing features inherent in Microsoft Teams for improved collaboration in a cloud environment.

www.westconcomstor.com

African cloud market takes off bouyed by demand from public and private sectors, report

The African cloud has arrived. While the cloud services sector is in its early stages of development, the impact of cloud services is already far-reaching according to a new report by Research and Markets.

 African banks are making investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to improve the customer experience and credit risk; new “digital banks” are emerging, that are, at least in part, cloud-based.

Governments are using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance public service delivery. Large retail firms are using compute capabilities and AWS databases to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base.

 And scores of African cloud-native startups are leveraging the cloud to disrupt entire industry sectors.

The African cloud may be small, but it is already here indeed, and it is growing fast. For African markets, cloud, virtualization and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technology developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution.

 Few other segments in the African ICT space are as likely to generate an incremental $2bn in top line revenue over the next five years, and at least as much in adjacent enabling ecosystem revenue.

The report highlights the near term economic, commercial and investor value opportunity offered by the rise of the African cloud.

Building on the author’s established analysis of African enterprise and digital infrastructure markets, 18 months of research and 100+ interviews and conversations, The Rise of the African Cloud explores the readiness of African markets for thriving private and public cloud services; it analyzes cloud demand and use case patterns, at segment level, from financial services to the public sector and startups; it estimates and projects cloud services market size; it details the competitive strengths of global hyperscale cloud providers and how their battle is translating in the African context; it outlines the impact of cloud services on Africa’s managed service provider ecosystem and telcos’ evolving enterprise businesses; and it breaks down the investment case within the African cloud value chain, from enterprise connectivity to data centers and SaaS.

www.researchandmarkets.com

Increased digitization, investment in cloud-based services drive growth of Africa data center market, report

The Africa data center market is likely to grow at a CAGR of around 14 per cent during the period 2018 – 2024 according to a recent report by Research and Markets.

icolo.io, MainOne (MDXi), Cloud Exchange Datacenter, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Medallion Communications are the prominent investors in the Africa data center market. Digitization is considered an important avenue for the African economy. It is transforming African economies through retail payments systems, financial inclusion, sustainable business models, and revenue administration.

Governments in the region are taking several initiatives to replace legacy systems and migrate to cloud-based services as part of smart city initiatives. IaaS is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40%, followed by SaaS at 30% with enterprises increasingly shifting to the public cloud platform. There has been a surge in colocation data center investment in markets such as Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, and Senegal in the past two years. Governments are taking initiatives to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity generation.

Increased digitization in African countries, the adoption of cloud-based services, migration from server rooms to managed, colocation, and hybrid infrastructure services are driving the investment in the Africa data center market. The report provides an in-depth market and segmental analysis of the Africa data center market by electrical infrastructure, mechanical infrastructure, tier standards, general construction, and countries.

www.researchandmarkets.com