[Column] Avinash Ramtohul: 5 key considerations for your journey to cloud

CEOs and CIOs on the continent have cloud at the centre of their digital transformation strategies, knowing fully well that without automation they will either be out of business or be steering an organisation towards undesired directions.

According to the IDC’s Kenya Enterprise ICT Market 2019 Outlook, 1,9 million USD is predicted to be spent on ICT in Kenya this year alone. The Kenyan government is prioritising it’s Big Four Agenda; which spans investment and development in manufacturing, food security, healthcare and housing. In order to achieve these objectives, the Government will focus on emerging technologies such as blockchain, IoT, cloud and data analytics.

CEOs and CIOs on the continent have cloud at the centre of their digital transformation strategies, knowing fully well that without automation they will either be out of business or be steering an organisation towards undesired directions. The ability to harvest, store and sort big data is a critical element of business competitiveness. The higher the use of autonomous technologies, the more the competitive edge!

In the process of devising a cloud adoption strategy, most companies realise that they can’t transition all workloads or business processes at once; considerations span Service Level Agreements, Data sensitivity and security, business continuity, cost and legislations/regulations. The challenge, then, is to carve out a transition plan that supports co-existence of on-premise and cloud based applications – hence ensuring minimal disruption when migrating pieces of software to the cloud in a chronological fashion.

There are 5 key considerations to take into account when carving out this transition plan; we explore these below.

Mapping your cloud-ready journey

Understanding how to achieve results that impact, not only the organisation, but the greater economy is crucial. Building a pathway to becoming cloud-ready should be an integrated approach, one driven by cloud strategy, policy and an innovative culture. Planning and preparation with the right cloud strategy are imperative to achieve the desired success

The path forward will vary, depending on where the organisation is starting. Each organisation will take a unique journey, following its own timeline. That said, most organisations could follow one or more of five use cases that describe the requirements they face on their journey:

  1. Streamline and modernise

If your enterprise does not have immediate plans to move to the cloud in a big way but does want to streamline its infrastructure. This kind of enterprise should work towards reducing technological complexity by replacing older servers, storage and backup systems with modern systems that are architecturally compatible with systems powering private and public cloud services.

  1. Accelerate time to value

With the aim of maintaining and growing its competitive edge, most innovative organisations need to do more with less, and faster – a necessary ingredient to live up to the rising expectations of both, the shareholders and customers, alike. In such a situation, an appliance strategy can provide great benefit. Today’s modern appliances come preconfigured to serve different purposes, such as to support a database, a private cloud environment, UNIX, or big-data applications. Because appliances are easy to deploy and operate, requiring less time and fewer specialised skills, IT departments are able to implement and manage them quickly, with a reduced learning curve, avoiding the hassles of testing and integration.

  1. Optimise and extend private cloud

Many organisations first implement private cloud to achieve lower costs and greater agility for generic, non-critical workloads. Most self-assembled generic private clouds take months to build out, resulting in decreased agility and expensive personnel to build, tune and manage. They typically require expensive licenses and support contract to run generic workloads. The recommended way forward therefore, is to adopt platforms that are optimised for cost and/or performance. Generic workloads can run on the Oracle Private Cloud Appliance, optimised to deliver low-cost computing for Linux, Solaris, and Windows applications while more-demanding applications operate better on purpose-built engineered systems. 

This provides an easy path to public or hybrid cloud, with unified management across environments.

  1. Optimise and secure critical applications

Business-critical applications require peak performance and security. However, in many organisations, the infrastructure supporting these applications has been built over time and is lagging in modernisation, and is now inconsistent with currently available mix of platforms. The result is an overly complex environment that does not always deliver the required performance or security.

Enterprises, here, would be better off identifying applications that manage data of low sensitivity to move them to the cloud. Back-ups, learning and test & dev environments would easily fit into Oracle’s IaaS offerings with a reduction in cost (eradicating cost of hardware, cooling, data centre space, labour). For the residual applications, high-end SPARC-based servers will optimise performance while improving efficiency with the highest security, whether implemented on-premises or on the cloud. Moving to a single platform will also bring cost savings and unified and simplified infrastructure management.

  1. Consolidate and protect data with advanced storage solutions

Every company is facing data storage and protection challenges. With the ever-increasing explosion of data volumes, simply adding to an existing storage infrastructure is no longer affordable nor effective. The better approach is to implement modern storage solutions that are built to eliminate data loss and cut recovery times. Voluminous data can be off-loaded to the cloud which offers ample security and ease of access management. Same data can be accessed from any authentic IP source, rendering the data loading and access process more streamlined and less costly.  

Take control of your future

For each of the considerations, Oracle delivers cloud-ready systems that have precise equivalents in Oracle’s own public cloud. In this way, the public cloud appears as a compatible extension of what already runs in your data centre, making it easier to move when you are ready. Even if you have no immediate plans to move to the cloud, it is a nice option to have. In the meantime, you are able to bring many benefits of the public cloud into your on-premises infrastructure and accelerate the process of innovation.

Avinash Ramtohul is the Managing Director, Mauritius and Cloud Architect Leader, Sub-Saharan Africa at Oracle.

NetFoundry and BalanceOn Partner to bring connectivity and cloud solutions to Africa and The Middle East

Their focus on providing game-changing, smart connectivity solutions that is instant, simple, secure, cost-sensitive, and performant for their customers to become cloud-native and digital.

NetFoundry, the leader of Application-Specific Networking, has announced a new partnership with BalanceOn the specialized Managed Services Provider (MSP) to bring networking and cloud solutions in support of businesses in Africa and the Middle East.

Their focus on providing game-changing, smart connectivity solutions that is instant, simple, secure, cost-sensitive, and performant for their customers to become cloud-native and digital.

BalanceOn says that it has found that many customers face business challenges due to connectivity and connecting distributed apps synonymous with digital transformation – e.g. multi, hybrid and cloud-native apps, internet-distributed apps (IoT) and B2B or connected supply chain. The problem is that while legacy networking is fine for legacy use cases, it was not built to effectively deliver these “agile” applications across “hybrid” topologies. Legacy WAN and internet for distributed apps blocks innovation and the business benefits from a variety of issues including long timelines to implement, proprietory hardware, complex and error-prone architectures, compromised performance, increased ‘attack surfaces’ and risk, incompatible with DevOps and “infrastructure as code” as well as potentially higher than expected costs.

BalanceOn says it is committed to answer their customers’ business needs via their partnership with NetFoundry. The combination of BalanceOn and NetFoundry pairs a leader in the design and delivery of connectivity and managed services with the leader in app-specific, connectivity-as-code. This enables BalanceOn’s existing and future customers to benefit from being able to instantly spin up software-only overlay connectivity on existing Internet access which is cloud-nativehighly secure, and meets enterprise performance requirements by optimising traffic through the NetFoundry fabric which comes via 3 offerings; AnyCloudOn, AnyIoTOn, & AnyBusinessOn.

“BalanceOn immediately saw that changing application paradigm was a great opportunity to develop smart-connectivity services, using NetFoundry, which are compatible to the cloud journeys their customers are taking while enabling these businesses to be highly secure and deliver the enterprise performance their apps require – which can be a challenge in the territories that they operate. Together we are bringing a leap in connectivity, security and technology across the Middle East and Africa” Michael Kochanik, Global Head of Revenue and Alliances at NetFoundry.

“We believe NetFoundry is a game-changing when it comes to how secure network connectivity is built, managed and operated; it is the only technology that can enable the customer to immediately and programmatically put together a complex network which delviers to their business use case across any device, cloud, site or end user across the globe. We are committed to bringing value to our region by bringing this technology to fundamentally change their business for the better” Hani Iskandarani, Managing Director for BalanceOn.

www.netfoundry.io

www.balanceon.com