Sunlight.io, the edge infrastructure company, has announced its partnership with North Africa’s leading Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider, Safozi. Together they’re bringing high-performance and private cloud services, with local support, to Tunisia and other countries across North Africa.
Sunlight is working with Safozi to deploy high density servers with high core count CPUs, fast SSD and SAS storage and fast networking. This means they can offer their customers, including key Tunisian news outlets and financial services firms, a no-compromise cloud service that combines the ease of cloud with the performance of bare metal infrastructure.
With Sunlight, Safozi’s enterprise customers can benefit from a superior cloud solution that is locally hosted in Tunisia. Safozi can offer a higher performance and lower cost alternative to AWS or OVH. In addition, customers have the flexibility to take advantage of their virtual data center service – allowing CIOs to subscribe to a guaranteed set of CPU, memory and storage resources, which can be sliced into virtual machines that precisely meet their workloads’ needs.
“With Sunlight, we can offer our enterprise customers a superior cloud solution that’s hosted locally in Tunisia, with local support and at a low cost,” said Zied Ouled Ali, Safozi’s Founder & General Manager. “The Sunlight team has been on hand to help get our new cloud capability up and running quickly. My customers are excited to experience the high performance they can now get from the Sunlight infrastructure.”
Sunlight Founder and CEO, Julian Chesterfield, said, “It has been a pleasure working with Safozi to bring affordable, high performance cloud services to Tunisia and the North African region. Applications running on Safozi’s cloud will now be able to deliver a far higher level of responsiveness to their users which translates to better customer satisfaction.”
Under the partnership, Safozi will also act as a value-added reseller for Sunlight in the region.
South Africa’s cloud provider Routed, has launched its channel partner portal to provide curated resources for partners, managed services providers, and ISPs selling, marketing, and operating as resellers of VMware Cloud through Routed.
Routed became the first VMware Cloud Verified partner in Africa in 2019 and has gone on to become a VMware Principal Partner, too. Andrew Cruise, managing director for Routed, says that Routed has built a resilient and robust channel to assist its partners in delivering the best solutions that their end-customers have come to expect from VMware.
“VMware has a discerning customer base with specific requirements of their cloud technologies. Building our Partner Platform has allowed us to curate and focus our efforts on providing our partners with the right tools, material, and support for VMware Cloud presence in Africa through Routed,” says Cruise.
Sumeeth Singh, Cloud Provider Business Head at VMware South Africa, added that “Cloud computing solutions are driving the current wave of digital innovation. Through partners like Routed and their channel, we see the acceleration we look forward to, in an age where organisations big and small can benefit from a secure, efficient, and scalable VMware Cloud service delivery platform.”
According to Gartner, spending on the public cloud is forecast to grow over 18% in 2021, with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) expected to gain the most. Managed Service Providers, ISPs, even ISVs and distribution partners will do well to capitalise on this as organisations’ needs evolve. The market has already shifted from supply-driven to demand-driven, and it’s become essential for all organisations to consider how the cloud fits into their infrastructure plans.
On-premises infrastructure will always have its place in organisations, especially when more control is required, but it is asset-heavy and slow to adapt to change and growth. For the right use-cases migrating infrastructure to the cloud provides end-customers with agility and cost savings.
Routed depends on partners who can manage the implementation of its solutions, some of the most complete VMware Cloud-based infrastructure deployments available locally. “The opportunity exists for our partners who, with the right resources, knowledge and support from Routed and VMware, can confidently engage with their end-customers to provide the world-class solutions that VMware is renowned for with the level of support and service that they come to expect,” adds Cruise.
Over the past five years, Routed has established itself as the leading provider of VMware Cloud on the continent. Its success has followed from its relentless focus on providing an integrated cloud platform that addresses enterprise cloud, recovery, and modern application development requirements, which are taken to market through trusted partners.
“The Routed Partner Portal is the start of an exciting journey for cloud and specifically VMware Cloud in South Africa. End-user enterprises deserve a reliable, highly available and secure cloud infrastructure. Now the channel has the resources to grow their skills and access some of the best support materials available to develop this customer base.” Cruise says.
With its Principal Partner status as a Cloud Provider – the highest tiered recognition within the VMware Partner Connect programme – Routed’s partners now benefit from the same level of resources and support that a Principal Partner will enjoy but facilitated by Routed.
“We are changing the cloud landscape, and this is just the start because, at Routed, we want the industry to develop because when the end-customers realise the benefits, we all win,” adds Cruise.
New partner applications to the Routed Partner Portal will commence in 2022 by engaging with the Routed team.
According to industry analysts Gartner, Cloud spending rose 37% to $29 billion during the first quarter of 2020. This trend Gartner says is likely to persist, as the exodus to virtual work underscores the urgency for scalable, secure, reliable, cost-effective off-premises technology services. In fact, despite the inevitable economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic, cloud spending is estimated to rise 19% for the full year, even as IT spending as a whole is forecast to fall 8%.
‘’First, the cloud is here to stay. It may seem obvious now, but not so long ago, we all hotly debated the nature and impact of the cloud. That is all history now. Adoption rates have increased, and we can look at 2022 as the post cloud adoption year. Now, organisations are planning for the even longer-term future with cloud at the core as they digitalise their operations and prioritise innovation’’ Craig says.
Forrester, for example, predicts that the general-purpose cloud has had its time, and that in 2022 we can expect to see the growth of specialised industry clouds, with solutions tailored for each sector.
IBM and MuleSoft have announced a global relationship. MuleSoft plans to extend its Anypoint Runtime Fabric, a container service for multi-cloud and hybrid deployments, to run on Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s enterprise Kubernetes platform.
IBM and MuleSoft plan to deliver increased integrations and solutions around the IBM Z product family to support financial services and other mutual customers. In addition, IBM plans to significantly expand its overall investment in integration software and industry expertise, including increasing the number of MuleSoft-certified professionals in its consulting services organization.
According to the latest State of Salesforce report from IBM and Oxford Economics, nearly 30% of innovation activities and ecosystem, workforce, and customer engagement will be virtualized by 2023.
The shift to digital-first customer and employee experiences has created more data from more systems than ever before – and delivering these connected digital experiences will require seamless integration of data, potentially across multiple siloed systems.
Empowering companies to deliver seamless digital experiences, faster
IBM and MuleSoft plan to make it easier to securely connect, compose, and automate business processes and modernize applications at scale:
In collaboration with Red Hat, MuleSoft will extend Anypoint Runtime Fabric to Red Hat OpenShift as a certified OpenShift application, unlocking increased flexibility for companies to deploy APIs, integrations, and automations across public and private clouds.
Today, 85 of the world’s top 100 banks run on IBM Z. MuleSoft supports IBM Z Digital Integration Hub, making it easier for joint financial services customers to integrate core business applications and share real-time, industry relevant information with MuleSoft.
IBM Z Digital Integration Hub creates flexible, efficient real-time information flow multiple systems of record on z/OS and cloud environments while also optimizing costs.
MuleSoft complements IBM Z Digital Integration Hub by allowing customers to securely share current information stored in the Z Digital Integration Hub via reusable APIs and easily integrate it to external applications with clicks, not code. To provide even more options for clients, MuleSoft also provides a CICS connector via the IBM CICS Transaction Gateway.
Together, IBM and MuleSoft plan to accelerate integration with core systems and faster development of hybrid cloud applications, as well as support for governance, risk and compliance requirements.
As a part of the IBM Z and Cloud ModernizationCenter, a digital front door to a vast array of tools, training, resources and ecosystem partners, MuleSoft will help joint customers accelerate the modernization of their applications, data and processes in an open hybrid cloud architecture.
As part of the commitment to its longstanding Salesforce practice, IBM Consulting is also significantly increasing the number of MuleSoft-certified professionals to support intelligent workflows, automation, and industry-focused use cases that accelerate digital transformation. IBM Consulting, a global Salesforce partner, harnesses the industry expertise of certified Salesforce and MuleSoft practitioners to help companies deliver key business outcomes and scale innovation faster.
One other area that is also taking full advantage of the cloud is the digital marketing industry.
According to the Power IT solutions report, integrating emerging technologies, adapting to the shifting work landscape, heightening digital trust, and harnessing the power of the hybrid cloud platforms are just some of the strategies that agencies and advertising firms are utilizing to increase collaboration.
With cloud, digital marketers may employ a wide variety of analytical tools provided by cloud computing in addition to the data of their customers. These tools may help them better understand their customers better and also use them to follow leads, and identify the best marketing channels and approaches for their target demographic. For example, CRM softwares hosted in the cloud may help companies better understand their customers’ wants and requirements.
According to a report by Research and Markets, the global cloud advertising market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.6% during the forecast period, to reach USD 6.7 billion by 2026 from USD 2.7 billion in 2021.
The report notes that marketing has evolved to a great extent in the past decade; new forms of marketing have taken over with continuously upgrading tools. Marketers can target the specific customer they want from the comfort of their homes.
Outdoor marketing is no longer the only medium to reach the targeted audience; nowadays, marketers can market their products and services to the target audience they like. Different forms of marketing can help end users reach the exact kind of customer they want. Different types of marketing, such as social media marketing, email marketing, etc. help end-users analyze the target audience.
Data analytics provide marketers accurate details of their target audience so that advertising can be optimized and lead to efficient results. This increasing demand for targeted marketing and consumer analytics bolsters the growth of the cloud advertising market.
Many African businesses have slashed their office space after realising that they could save money while still being fully operational remotely, and moved everything to the cloud.
“Work from home mandated as a result of the pandemic proved to many organisations that the need for physical hardware and infrastructure is fading as fast as the idea that everyone has to work from an office,” says Cruise.
In countries like South Africa, although only around 5% of the South African enterprise market is fully on the cloud, according to Cruise, many more are now considering this option.
The pandemic as we have highlighted in a previous column has accelerated the move to the cloud. According to data from Synergy,Cloud spend reportedly increased by 37% to $29 billion during the first quarter of 2020. Companies Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure also saw unprecedented demand during the early stage of the pandemic.
“The pandemic validated cloud’s value proposition,” says Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “The ability to use on-demand, scalable cloud models to achieve cost efficiency and business continuity is providing the impetus for organizations to rapidly accelerate their digital business transformation plans. The increased use of public cloud services has reinforced cloud adoption to be the ‘new normal,’ now more than ever.”
“Africa is experiencing a boom in digitalisation. Combined with the disruptions of COVID-19, this is driving many organisations on the continent to seek out the benefits of cloud services. says Wale Odeyemi, Executive Head of Strategic Marketing at Vodacom Business Africa.
The expansion of Africa’s digital economy is gaining momentum, with the potential to reach US$180 billion by 2025, about 5% of the continent’s gross domestic product, according to a recent report released by the International Finance Corporation and Google. To meet the increasing demand for digital services in Africa, Vodacom Business Africa has expanded its Cloud Connect offering across the continent.
Cloud Connect provides businesses with a secure, private, high performance, high availability connection to leading public cloud service providers, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
“Africa is experiencing a boom in digitalisation. Combined with the disruptions of COVID-19, this is driving many organisations on the continent to seek out the benefits of cloud services. Our Cloud Connect services keep businesses securely connected while providing them with operational agility and access to essential data and software applications to enhance their performance now and into the future,” says Wale Odeyemi, Executive Head of Strategic Marketing at Vodacom Business Africa.
Meeting the needs of businesses today As the pandemic has shown, businesses need to be able to adapt to market changes, and with speed, to avoid disruptions to continuity. To help with business agility, Cloud Connect clients are able to experience the same fast switch-on flexibility of public cloud with their own WAN/network. Bandwidth choice ranges from 50Mb to 1G depending on the cloud service provider, so clients can scale network capacity to maintain performance as business needs change.
The high-performance connectivity of Cloud Connect enables periodic data migration and replication for continuity, disaster recovery and retention. The low latency connectivity is also able to support key business applications, including storage, big data, development and interactive applications, fast and in a scalable manner. For example, large data sets are quickly transferable for big data computing applications, and huge media files are streamed in real-time to and from the cloud.
In addition, the consistent performance and reliability of Cloud Connect improves application response times, so businesses can use the cloud as an extension of their data centres. High availability with dual diverse connections to cloud data centres ensures redundancy and protection in the event of a network failure.
Cloud Connect is a managed service, giving businesses more time to focus on important activities, and IT resources can be utilised more effectively, in an organisation.
How does Cloud Connect work? Vodacom Business Africa’s Cloud Connect offers a secure, private connection without the need to redesign existing large corporate networks or experience the traditional delay of dedicated connections to cloud provider data centres. Cloud Connect works seamlessly alongside the IP-VPN and other fixed connectivity products to give organisations a total ‘Ready Network’ solution.
The service directly integrates into the branch sites of a business and is not reliant on the internet. The cloud locations are integrated into the private WAN, effectively seen as another site on the IP-VPN. Different locations in the IP-VPN then share the connectivity to access resources in the cloud.
“We are experiencing an exciting transformational period in the enterprise landscape in Africa. As a leading connectivity provider on the continent, Vodacom Business Africa remains committed in supporting businesses to take advantage of our continent’s growing digital economy and recognise real return on investment on cloud technology. To this end, we continue to leverage our strategic partner networks to provide innovative products and services, affordably, seamlessly and securely to our clients,” concludes Odeyemi.
Cloudmania, an exclusive provider of Cloud Partner Programmes in Africa, has opened its doors in 13 countries across the continent. The indirect provider focuses on partner building and enablement by giving resellers the ability to resell superior solutions by leveraging Cloudmania.
According to Winston Ritson, Chief Business Officer, Cloudmania, “We understand the growing need for cloud services and its vital role to ensure seamless collaboration between employees. Our extensive expertise will ensure that you are provided with the appropriate tools to assist your customers on their cloud migration journeys. Just as customers have transformed their business, partners have to transform and rely on a partner invested in their business “
Cloudmania aims to help businesses keep track of their data, performance and customers, and creates a single-pane view of the entire network. In addition, the programme is designed to increase workflow efficiency, lower operational costs, and most importantly, develop partnerships with resellers.
Cloudmania will assist partners’ profitability by supporting them with marketing, training and specialist advice. Using the programme’s communication channels, the team will source qualified and unqualified leads to help partners build their businesses. The offering is backed by superior world-class technology, equipping a reseller’s business with innovative cloud technology, enabling them to offer exceptional customer solutions.
All resellers will have access to a suite of solutions tailored to suit customers’ needs. The products include Microsoft 365, One Voice – a unified voice solution, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Azure in a box, Cyber Security, cloud connectivity, cloud infrastructure, Google workspace, Windows virtual desktop and Basekit site builder.
Cloudmania will assist in boosting the performance of a reseller offering while ensuring affordability, scalability, improving uptime, availability and provide seamless integration.
The offerings are supported by partner development managers in each country, a panel of experts and focused training programmes. Resellers engaging with the Cloudmania will also benefit from in-country billing in specific territories and reseller discounts.
Cloudmania and its suite of offerings is currently available in South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In simple layman’s terms a customer can now have some Google Cloud services running some certified hardware and software either in their data centers with full autonomy or colocation data centers.
Google Cloud’s simplified preferred definition of Google Distributed Cloud, is a portfolio of solutions consisting of hardware and software that extend Google Cloud infrastructure to the edge and into your data centers.
Where can Google Distributed Cloud be deployed to?
1. Google’s network edge – Allowing customers to leverage over 140+ Google network edge locations around the world.
2. Operator edge – Enabling customers to take advantage of an operator’s edge network and benefit from 5G/LTE services offered by our leading communication service provider (CSP) partners. The operator edge is optimized to support low-latency use cases, running edge applications with stringent latency and bandwidth requirements.
3. Customer edge – Supporting customer-owned edge or remote locations such as retail stores, factory floors, or branch offices, which require localized compute and processing directly in the edge locations.
4. Customer data centers – Supporting customer-owned data centers and colocation facilities to address strict data security and privacy requirements, and to modernize on-premises deployments while meeting regulatory compliance.
What Google Cloud services are running on Google Distributed Cloud?
Google Distributed Cloud is enabled by Anthos. It helps you to build and run applications on GKE clusters and virtual machines anywhere with a Cloud-backed control plane for consistent management at scale.
● Compute Instances
● Serverless Containers
● Kubernetes Engine
● Serverless Functions
● Object Storage
● Istio Service Mesh
Continuous Integration Services:
● Build (from Cloud Build)
● Deploy (from Cloud Deploy)
● Artifact Registry
● IDE plugins
● Cloud SDK
● API Gateway
● Apache Kafka (Partner-provided services)
● Kubernetes Engine
● Serverless Functions
● Key Management Service
● HashiCorp Vault (Partner-provided services)
● Identity Aware Proxy
Data and Analytics Services:
● PostgreSQL Database
● Elasticsearch Service (Partner-provided services)
● MongoDB Database (Partner-provided services)
● Redis Data Store (Partner-provided services)
● Event Streaming
● Data Lake Storage
● Language Translation
● Machine Learning Platform
● Video Content Analysis
● Image Insights
● Prometheus (Partner-provided services)
● Grafana (Partner-provided services)
● Splunk (Partner-provided services)
Will Google Distributed Cloud make management of the hardware and software harder for me and my organization?
No. Google Distributed Cloud is a fully-managed integrated hardware and software solution, meaning you don’t have to worry about the underlying infrastructure and can focus on your application and business initiatives. Google Cloud aims to simplify operations leveraging Google’s expertise and track record in areas like skill deployment fleet management and site reliability engineering. This allows you to focus on your business priorities and leave the complexities to Google Cloud.
Wil this meet our data sovereignty needs?
Yes. Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) enables customers to have a full spectrum of control.
Data Sovereignty (Keep data within the sovereign cloud): Data is allocated on your premise and under the control; No data transferred outside of your isolated environment.
Operational Sovereignty (Fully control your own platform): Operated independently of Google Cloud and global networks.Can be operated by customer directly or a trusted partner, on dedicated networks and with local control plane.
Software Sovereignty (Cloud as a trusted local service): Google Cloud’s open core and open API helps reduce vendor risk and enable operational and software continuity even in black swan events. The benefits of cloud are delivered locally.
Will I need to have my Google Distributed Cloud on premise connected to Google Cloud?
No. Google Distributed Cloud includes a hosted mode to run sensitive workloads. Hosted mode helps you meet sovereignty needs by addressing data residency with strict security and privacy requirements all while providing you with a way to modernize on-premise deployments. Customers can manage this directly or host through a designated and trusted partner. This will not require connectivity to Google Cloud at any time to manage infrastructure and uses a local control plane for operations. Upgrades and patches are offered by Google and verified by the trusted partner.
How to extend Google Cloud services with Google Distributed Cloud – Hosted Mode
Driving transformation with Google’s Distributed Cloud
With over 10 years of proven expertise in technical consultation and related services, Incentro, the only Google Premier Partner in East, West and Central Africa has become the go-to partner for successful business transformation in the continent.
Cloud infrastructure provider and VMware Principal Partner, Routed, has appointed Axiz Cloud Technologies as a VMware cloud distribution partner.
Andrew Cruise, MD, Routed, says that as a vendor neutral infrastructure provider, Routed has always planned to build a resilient and robust channel. He says the Axiz appointment is not only strategic, but necessary to further enhance a local channel focused on the development of cloud in South Africa.
“We are delighted to be working more closely with Axiz Cloud Technologies. This partnership is key to the success of VMware Cloud uptake and we are excited to work with the local team to build out even more VMware-inspired cloud platforms. Their legacy in distribution is a key advantage in terms of technical ability and reach within the local channel. Our distribution agreement with them will also help ensure that Managed Service Providers (MSP) are given the necessary support and technical assistance when implementing cloud strategies,” says Cruise.
He says that the cloud opportunity is massive across the African continent due to digital transformation and the related cloud/IT spend. Hastened by the Covid-19 pandemic, Cruise says that Routed anticipates further interest and growth in cloud adoption.
Research by African Cloud Market 2021, states that cloud-based office applications are increasingly vital components of the African modern workplace. The rise of the cloud in the African market ostensibly goes beyond basic office applications. From banks looking to accelerate the rollout of new applications to startups disrupting entire industries with innovative, cloud-powered models, cloud services are transforming Africa’s productive capacity and emerging as one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s digital transformation.
According to Cruise this paints a picture of why having a robust and agile channel is so important. “This agreement is one way in which to address the growing cloud requirement. In simple terms, we need MSPs who can manage the implementation and rollout of cloud and Axiz Cloud Technologies, as one of the leading distributors, has the depth and breadth to do this successfully.”
He says that Axiz Cloud Technologies will offer the full suite of VMware Cloud solutions offered by Routed, which is the most complete VMware-based cloud infrastructure deployment available locally. Routed’s cloud and infrastructure products address all Enterprise cloud platform, recovery solutions and modern application requirements of business.
The role Routed plays within the VMware cloud ecosystem is key says Cruise. They are not only the first VMware Cloud Verified partner in Africa, but also boast Principal Partner Status, which is the highest tiered recognition within the VMware Partner Connect programme. In addition, Routed is the first VMware DRaaS Certified Partner in Africa: “This enables us to provide Axiz Cloud Technologies with immense support as well as access to our technical experts, and guidance in terms of better understanding the VMware solutions and services.”
Willie Jansen van Rensburg, executive, Axiz Cloud Technologies, says that this appointment is key to the business’ future as a cloud distributor and solution provider: “We are excited to further develop our role in the local cloud ecosystem. Routed is undoubtedly a market-leading VMware specialist and we are confident that together we can increase VMware’s cloud market share, while developing local skills too.”