[South Africa] Poor data management costs companies millions each year

Companies are failing to meet user demand for uninterrupted access to applications and data and it is costing them millions each year. They are now looking to embrace Cloud Data Management to better meet protection needs and leverage the power of their data, this is according to the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report.

The Report surveyed more than 1500 senior business and IT leaders from 13 countries and found that respondents are aware of the importance of data management to their business’ success, pointing to greater productivity today, and the potential to drive business transformation in the future.

The amount of data generated has exploded over the past decade; data growth and sprawl is so rampant that by 2025 more than 175 Zettabytes of data will be generated each year, up almost 75% from 2018.

Troye managing director Helen Kruger says companies need to manage and protect this data, no matter where it resides. “The latest industry survey from Veeam Software, the leader in Backup solutions that enable Cloud Data Management, states that 73% of organisations admit to not being able to meet users’ demands for uninterrupted access to data and services.”

“This highlights the devastating impact downtime can have on lost revenue, productivity and customer confidence. However, the study shows that business leaders are acting to combat this, with nearly 72% looking to embrace Cloud Data Management, often by exploiting hybrid cloud capabilities, to ensure success and drive more value from their data,” she explains.

Businesses are looking to embrace the power of technologies such as the cloud, or hybrid cloud, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive business success and will invest heavily on such transformational technologies.

Almost half of respondents admit that data protection is imperative to leverage these investments. Alarmingly, only 37% of businesses are very confident in their current backup solutions, with the majority (73%) admitting that they cannot meet user demands.

This inhibits the adoption of tools and processes that can drive business advantage, but leaders recognise work needs to be done; more than half of those surveyed are looking to deploy Intelligent Data Management and multi-cloud solutions across the business to address this failing.

“In this data-driven age, businesses need to wake up and take action to protect their data. They need to manage their data in a way that always delivers availability and leverage its value to drive performance. This is no longer a luxury, but a business necessity,” she stresses.

There are massive benefits to be gained from the deployment of digital initiatives. However, there is a global disparity in digital adoption. Some of the world’s largest economies are at risk of having to play catch-up when it comes to their investment in digital innovation.

Kruger says there is a significant opportunity and competitive advantage for those who effectively manage their data. “Business leaders need to determine whether their business data will always be available and if they are unsure, it’s time to act. This study shows that many are not acting fast enough.”

Some of the world’s most advanced economies are at risk of being left behind when it comes to their digital adoption. It’s crucial that companies get the right digital foundation in place to intelligently manage their data and safeguard their future. To achieve this, businesses must be united internally, with IT and the business working collaboratively and addressing cultural and skills challenges.

The Report found that companies that are on a journey to become a more intelligent business, meaning they are leveraging technologies such as Cloud Data Management and AI to create a real-time view of the collective business and the ability to act intelligently on that insight.

Amongst the businesses on this journey, the study highlights four common components globally:

Cloud: Cloud Data Management is a key component of delivering Intelligent Data Management. It is evident that leaders are recognising the advantages of a multi-cloud and hybrid-based approach, citing cost, reliability, flexibility and data security of the cloud as their main reasons for choosing it.

About 75% of companies report using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms and many are using the cloud for their backup and recovery services with 51% using Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and 44% using disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS).

Capabilities: Companies must enhance their capabilities, to ensure employees can draw on data insights and use new technologies as they are deployed, with 9 out of 10 businesses viewing upskilling employees’ digital skills as vital to their digital success.

Culture: Creating a culture that is adaptable and receptive to new technologies so that people can evolve with the organization is essential, with more than two-thirds of respondents believing that company culture needs to become more open and accepting to digital technologies.

Confidence: Companies must create a sense of confidence in the business’ digital capabilities, built on a strong data foundation. Presently, only a quarter of respondents report total confidence in their capability to meet their digital challenges.

What is clear from the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report is that the time for action is now. This starts with a strong digital foundation, which ensures that data is backed up and always available.

“With this in place, businesses can confidently deploy new digital initiatives, leveraging the business value and competitive advantage for today and in to the future, and harness the potential of Cloud Data Management,” she concludes.

www.troye.co.za

[Column] Trent Odgers: Maximizing data availability using a multi-cloud approach

The ways businesses leverage cloud to manage and maximize the value of their data continues to evolve.

Following the launch of two multi-national data centers in South Africa recently, the years when adopting cloud-based solutions felt like the first step into some brave new world are well and truly behind us.

However, this is ushering a new era of multi-cloud deployment – one which is attracting attention, questions, and scepticism from local businesses.

A hybrid cloud is an amalgamation of on-premises “private cloud”, public cloud and managed Cloud Service Provider (CSPs) environments into a single entity where the data is physically located in multiple datacenters to deliver the right fit for a specific workload. It is a nod towards the fact that businesses are increasingly using different clouds for different purposes. 

In today’s digital economy, 81% of enterprises are embracing a multi-cloud strategy and South African businesses have already adopted this digital gold rush with many more who are planning to do so. 

It is common for the IT industry to promote the idea of a one-stop-shop or single provider strategy – to avoid the perceived inefficiency and confusion of dealing with multiple vendors. 
This is the “traditional way” of doing IT, which had its place, but with the speed at which the world is changing, businesses can truly deliver on IT’s requirements using the hybrid approach. 

Data is now described as the new oil of the digital economy, and it has become a company’s most valuable resource. As businesses demand an infrastructure which maximises the potential value of that data, IT departments are under pressure to deliver.

For example, a business may wish to store data from its business unit in Google Cloud for scalability at relatively low expense but use Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its R&D databases to enjoy the benefits of AI and voice-assisted search.

And in the same instance, that business could be using Microsoft Azure to help drive its productivity solutions or mission-critical enterprise resource planning processes, while keeping a copy of all the data on-premises or hosted at a local cloud provider. 

Previously, the only viable decision for the business would have been to make a judgment call based on its priority needs and budget constraints. Today, the best strategic option is to adopt a multi-cloud approach.

Data-driven transformation

Already, there is a movement for organisations to become more data-driven. Decision-makers are recognising the importance of data in both high-level business strategy as well as on the operational side of their business. 

Furthermore, consumers and employees are beginning to appreciate the true value of their data, which means businesses must ensure that the people who share data with them see the value in doing so through receiving more personalised experiences.

People want to know that their data is protected, secure and also want greater transparency about what it is being used for.

Of course, in South Africa, this is where it is critical to adhere to corporate governance requirements, especially the likes of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

 Fortunately, with local multi-national data centres, aspects such as data sovereignty and speed of accessing data are no longer concerns.

But creating this data-driven culture is underpinned by continuous digital transformation – embracing the latest and greatest technologies which allow the business to repeatedly lift its performance levels. 

According to Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda report, making progress towards becoming a digital business is a top priority for CIOs – and the proliferation towards multi-cloud reflects this trend.

Despite this, the latest Veeam Cloud Data Management Report reveals that more than one in ten decision-makers said their organisation has experienced over 10 unplanned outages in the last 12 months, with 65 minutes being the average length of time unplanned outages last. 

Successful multi-cloud deployments depend on the always-on availability of all apps and data. So, businesses looking to take advantage of multi-cloud environments must ensure that their apps and data are always available – and that their culture of data-driven decision-making is fully supported to maintain customer confidence and brand reputation.

Availability in the multi-cloud

The complexity of maintaining availability within a multi-cloud environment is the reliance on multiple Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). While all major vendors and CSPs will make backup and disaster recovery (DR) solutions available to their customers, each provider has different protocols, shared responsibility models, service level agreements (SLAs) and capabilities. 

The last thing any business wants to hear when disaster strikes is that they are not adequately protected or that recovery has failed.

While no business, regardless of whether it is using multi-cloud or not, can guarantee that it will never experience unplanned downtime, every business can ensure that it is prepared for this possibility.

Even having local data centres is no guarantee that there will never be any downtime. South African businesses opting for multi-cloud need to ensure that they have an availability solution which sits across their entire cloud platform, making cloud data protection easy with a seamless process for sending data offsite to the cloud.

For businesses using multi-cloud to power their digital transformation in the bid to establish a more data-driven culture across the organisation, data is akin to running water – a utility which all rely on and must be available at all times. 

Businesses embracing multi-cloud should not be put off by the prospect of working with multiple vendors as software-based platforms can give the peace of mind and a turnkey solution to minimising downtime.

Trent Odgersis Cloud and Hosting Manager for Africa at Veeam

Johannesburg Stock Exchange starts offering historical tick data in the cloud

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Africa’s largest, multi-asset class stock exchange, now offers historical equity; equity derivatives and currency derivatives tick data in the cloud, meaning that clients, data vendors, investors and traders will now be able to access historical data more swiftly.

The JSE has partnered with CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, to house its first cloud solution offering.

The move modernises the JSE’s market data offering and strengthens the exchanges position as a global market player.  

The historical tick data will enable clients, traders and investors to assess trading opportunities, strengthen their market insights and improve risk mitigation intelligence based on both the market and various individual stocks’ past performance, support compliance reporting with more extensive data and conduct other valuable trading-related analyses.

“Traders, investors and our clients require tick data all the time in order to make informed decisions and we are pleased to offer them swifter access to information that can enable them to make these decisions.  As the JSE we constantly aim to provide our clients with the right solutions to meet their needs,” says Mark Randall, Director of Information Services at the JSE. 

www.jse.co.za

[Column] Hans van Linschoten: Data sovereignty in Africa, why you should care

African businesses are currently making massive investments in things like machine learning and artificial intelligence tools and are using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance service delivery.

Talking with industry leaders and experts across the continent, one thing is clear, they’re making these investments because they want to adopt the flexibility and benefits of the cloud.

The cloud services sector in Africa might be in its early stages of development, but the impact is already far-reaching. Large firms are using compute capabilities and AWS database to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base. A number of African cloud-native startups are also leveraging the cloud to disrupt the entire industry.

There is significant potential in the growing African cloud market where an estimated $2 billion is being spent in cloud this year. This, together with all cloud related businesses happening in Africa, tells you how much businesses can benefit from cloud.

Even as this happens, there’s one concern that cannot be ignored when it comes to matters of cloud; the physical location of data centers. This is because data sovereignty is a crucial factor in many countries.

Data sovereignty is the concept that digital data is subject to the laws of the country in which it is processed. Data stored in Uganda for example falls under Uganda’s privacy laws (The Data Protection and Privacy Act, 2019), as well as data that flows within its borders.

With the increase in Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud storage services in recent years, their use often entails cross-border data transfers, which can result in major compliance challenges for users and even the providers. Once your data travels outside of a country’s borders it becomes subject to the law(s) of the land in which it is stored.

The main concern associated with data sovereignty is maintaining privacy regulations and keeping foreign countries from being able to sub open data. This here is the very reason why African businesses need to care.

This can be a complex legal issue that has the capacity to affect organizations worldwide.  For example, we can have a Kenyan cloud service provider that has its main office including accounting, sales and marketing and even operations in Uganda while their customer service call center is in Germany. This implication here is that certain personal information about accounts must be sent to Germany in order for them to contact clients and provide support. If Germany’s Privacy Principles (APP) stipulate that the cloud provider must disclose what information is being sent out of Germany, then there’s the potential for an organization’s personal data to be sub opened by a foreign government. In some countries like Indonesia, regulators stipulate that financial data cannot be stored outside the country without approval. 

There are clear regulations which we cannot run away from and need to be observed. Most established organizations I engage with that are actively embracing cloud, care deeply about where their data resides. Some African banks already have regulations requiring financial data to be stored in their countries and this is a good starting point.

Bottom line, having data in the cloud offers many benefits; it allows for easier flow of information and for safe and easy remote backup of files and data and in many cases, saves cost.

African developers and organizations should see this as an opportunity to tap into local cloud solutions to ensure data sovereignty is observed.  The more data sovereignty we have in Africa, the better protected Africans are by African privacy laws and the less reliance there is on internet infrastructure from outside.

Hans van Linschoten is the founding partner of Imprimatur Capital Africa and CEO of afriQloud

www.afriqloud.com

Also read: 

Launch afriQloud: Leapfrogging Africa’s innovation agenda with local cloud solutions

[South Africa] Teraco to invest $71 million in expansion of its data center campus to respond to growing cloud uptake

In its largest infrastructure build project to date, Africa’s neutral data center provider has announced that it will be expanding the Teraco Isando Campus (JB1).

 Increased demand for additional data centre capacity is being driven by cloud uptake and enterprise organisations wanting to access the Teraco platform.

The expansion will occur in two phases. Phase 1, currently underway, will grow the facility by 2 000 cabinets bringing the total JB1 Campus capacity to 5 700.

Total usable floor space will increase by 4 000 square meters, expanding to a total of 12 000 square meters across the data centre campus. The anticipated ready for service date is in Q3 2019.

A total of 60MW of power will be reticulated to the site addressing requirements for further expansion after Phase 1 has been completed. The total power available to the Isando Campus will now reach 80MW.

Jan Hnizdo, Chief Financial Officer, Teraco says that he sees continued demand for Teraco’s services given the unique business model and secular growth trends as the African continent continues to digitally transform. The Teraco Campus expansion follows on from the recently launched Riverfields hyper-scale data centre facility in Bredell.

Hnizdo says that funding for the build is via a combination of internally generated funds and enlarging existing debt facilities from R1.2bn to R1.8bn. “Our debt funding partners, Absa, continue to be highly supportive of our business model and are key partners in Teraco’s growth strategy”.

Teraco’s offering to clients of resilient data centre facilities allows for a choice of over 300 telco’s providing connectivity to Africa and the lowest latency interconnection points to cloud and content.

Hnizdo says that with the recent announcements of direct interconnection availability to the major cloud onramps such as Amazon Web Services Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, Teraco has seen a growing uptake driven by the enterprise market.

“The Teraco platform allows enterprises to have direct private connections to all the leading cloud providers in the most latency efficient and resilient manner possible. Enterprises can deploy their public, private and hybrid cloud strategies from the Teraco platform which allows for complete freedom of choice from a cloud provider perspective, as well as significantly reducing the time and cost for enterprises to access these cloud platforms”.

Over the past decade, Teraco has focused on growing its ecosystems of telco, content, financial services, enterprise and service providers. Its offering is underpinned by providing clients with direct access to Africa’s largest Internet exchange, NAPAfrica, which includes all the benefits of interconnection via the Teraco platform.

Hnizdo says that Teraco is committed to growing its capacity footprint across its core hubs, thereby ensuring that clients have certainty and the flexibility of expansion to take part in the digital transformation that is happening across sub-Saharan Africa:

“Teraco continues to invest significantly into the region’s ICT infrastructure and has built what is now Africa’s largest data centre. We take pride in our vendor-neutral offering, with open access to interconnection and world class resilient data centre infrastructure for all our clients”.

www.teraco.co.za

[Column] Gerhard Fourie: Streamlining data management in a multi-cloud environment

Many organizations find themselves in a situation where they have multiple clouds to manage. This often results from using numerous Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions.

Moreover, the cloud is fast becoming the preferred method of delivery for an ever-increasing range of services and solutions across the globe. However, a multi-cloud environment vastly increases the complexity of data management, especially when data resides in various clouds both public and private in a number of different countries. To prevent costs from spiraling and loss of control over data, it is essential to reduce this complexity. Streamlining data management is more important than ever in a multi-cloud environment.

More clouds, more complexity

Cloud service providers are rapidly expanding their geographies, driven by requirements for reduced latency and data sovereignty. The result is an increasing number of places where data could potentially be stored. This is further complicated by the various data governance regulations around the world, which have an impact on data management.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) pushed out by the European Union has had the most significant impact. This regulation has effectively forced organizations to understand what data they have and where they are keeping it. South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act has similar requirement.

Essentially people want transparency and accountability from organizations around their personal data. While there are penalties for improper data collection and handling, the reputational damage that could result from data mismanagement is the biggest risk factor. Knowledge is key. Enterprises must have a handle on what data they have, how they should classify it, how sensitive it is, and where they are storing it. Multi-cloud environments compound this challenge, as data can be more difficult to manage when it resides across multiple public and private cloud platforms as well as on premises.

Siloes and security concerns

In an effort to remove data siloes, data management became increasingly centralized. Now, with the emergence of multi-cloud environments, the challenge has once again reared its head. Data has once again become decentralized, and with it the potential for siloes of information. The ease of obtaining cloud solutions means that often business units will simply ‘buy’ a new tool without informing IT. With each department having its own systems and services, there is once again a lack of single view of the customer. These systems may not be part of the organizational backup and recovery strategy, leaving data vulnerable.

Security also remains a challenge. While every cloud is secure, as cloud vendors stake their reputation on delivering secure infrastructure, it is the responsibility of a business to secure the workloads, data and applications that are being stored in the cloud. It is essential to understand where data could be exposed, and ensure that data is protected at rest, in transit and in storage. It is essential to examine infrastructure, solutions and data across the board to ensure that various clouds, their data, are included in management strategy.

Leveraging the benefits of multi-cloud while minimizing the complexity

Multi-cloud offers the flexibility to leverage the strengths of each platform to obtain best of breed tools and resources for every business requirement. However, the nature of multiple solutions inevitably increases complexity. Organizations need to pay attention to integration, data flows, data protection and data management.

Minimizing complexity begins with having a data management strategy in place, and understanding what data you have and where it resides. The second step is to consolidate tools. May organizations have multiple tools for backup, disaster recovery, archiving and so on, and there is often a lot of overlap. A single data management toolset for cloud and on premises data significantly streamlines the work. It also ensures that a single view of data can be obtained for increased speed and efficiency.

A platform that offers automation, orchestration, artificial intelligence and machine learning options can help organizations save both time and effort by replacing manual tasks. In addition, a platform that has native integration with clouds enables a single interface to be used for backup and recovery across the board, saving time and reducing complexity. Finally, any data management solution should incorporate the ability to quickly move large workloads and data volumes, and should support the various tools used to achieve these migrations.

Multi-cloud is the reality of data management infrastructure, and the challenges will only continue to grow as cloud becomes increasingly available and pervasive. Organizations need to simplify and streamline their data management to reduce cost and complexity as well as to manage data regulation and compliance objectives.

Gerhard Fourie is Commvault District Channel Manager for South Africa

SDN cloud connectivity provider IX Reach expands into Africa via Djibouti Data Center

IX Reach, the leading provider of SDN cloud connectivity, remote peering and Ethernet services to more than 170 global locations is proud to announce its network expansion into East Africa in partnership with the award-winning Djibouti Data Center.

Djibouti Data Center (DDC) has been selected as the strategic hub for IX Reach’s African expansion owing to its excellent reputation and unique position as the first and only Tier 3 carrier neutral ecosystem in east Africa with direct access to all major international and regional cable systems connecting Africa to Europe, Middle Eastern, and Asian markets.

“We are delighted to call Djibouti Data Center a new Point of Presence (PoP) on our network”, said Simon Vye, CEO at IX Reach. He continued, “IX Reach is dedicated to increasing connectivity, collaboration and innovation as well as improving the range of services we provide to our customers. This new partnership with DDC is key in continuing our vision of making our full portfolio of solutions including cloud connectivity just one cross connect away on the IX Reach network.”

DDC tenants will be able to connect directly onto IX Reach’s global network giving access via a single port to over 50 Internet Exchanges and Direct Connect into the industry’s leading Cloud Service Providers. Given the geographical importance of Djibouti, IX Reach will also be able to address markets in other African countries improving global connectivity and reach.

“We are very excited to have IX Reach join the carrier neutral DDC ecosystem, and to be enhancing the DDC’s available network footprint for our global customer base as well as Africa’s growing and emerging markets,” said Anthony Voscarides, CEO of the Djibouti Data Center.

“In addition to the DDC’s market leading access in east Africa to international and regional fiber cable systems, the new IX Reach PoP will further enhance connectivity options to a diverse network of major Internet Exchange Points, cloud service providers, and data centers across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific regions.”

The expansion into a new continent continues to highlight IX Reach’s global ambitions and increased investment into its network and services demonstrating its dedication to meeting the global challenges of increased data use driven by the growth of video streaming, content delivery, IoT, big data and AI technology.

www.ixreach.com