[South Africa] Cloud provider Routed launches new portal to provide curated resources for its partners

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.

www.routed.co.za

[Column] Andrew Cruise: Moving to the cloud – is it right for your business?

If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that remote work is a viable alternative to large, expensive offices and IT infrastructure and hardware.

“Many South African businesses have slashed their office space after realising that they could save money while still being fully operational remotely,” says Andrew Cruise, Managing Director of vendor-neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed. 

And though only around 5% of the South African enterprise market is fully on the cloud, according to Cruise, many more are now considering this option. “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.

Here’s what you need to know to make the right decision for your business.

The benefits

Globally there has been a return to office environments whether full time or in a hybrid-approach, but for most in South Africa many employees remain working from home at least for the foreseeable future, says Cruise. “Companies are realising that there’s no need to have on-premises hardware anymore, because cloud provides a much more flexible solution. Even companies that have successfully moved back to the office are seeing a need for cloud services in order to have remote access when needed.”

Furthermore, the cloud is more cost-effective in the long run – with less risk.

“Moving to the cloud means you’re effectively renting hardware, which removes the hidden costs of mitigating against failures, disaster recovery and maintenance when you run your own hardware. Though it may seem expensive to move initially, it can save companies a bundle in on-premise hardware as well as remove the risk of broken or stolen hardware – which could, of course, result in considerable operational losses on top of the physical loss. The good cloud providers are constantly refreshing their equipment, meaning you benefit from constantly improving performance, and won’t have hardware upgrade costs every five years.”

The hurdles

That being said, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to move everything to the cloud. “There’s still some reasons to keep certain things on-premises, including for compliance purposes. But ultimately, the cloud offers a lower total cost of ownership,” says Cruise. 

Secondly, good internet is an essential when it comes to cloud. “Fast, reliable, affordable internet is a necessity for enterprise cloud to prosper.”

Timing is also important, he adds. “We’re expecting a significant shift to cloud over the next five years as companies reach the end of their hardware cycles. It doesn’t make sense to move to cloud if you’ve just upgraded all your hardware and have everything under warranty. But, when the next replacement cycle rolls around, that’s the perfect time to make a move.”

Choosing the right provider

There are several new entrants joining the colocation stalwarts like Teraco in the local market, including Vantage’s new data centre; as well as Oracle building a cloud presence in SA, IBM’s SAP-based cloud offering, and Huawei recruiting new resellers, which is all good news for the growing cloud market, says Cruise.

But moving to cloud should not be done on a whim, he warns. “Do proper analysis of the contract and of the provider, and, critically, whether they’re right for your business needs. Be careful of services at heavily discounted rates – could they be based on ageing out-of-warranty hardware? Many organisations have been lured into discounted contracts, only to find out two years later that they’re locked in and suddenly having to pay large fees and remain contractually bound for a few more years.” 

Routed has recently taken a vendor-like approach to its own business, enabling it to provide partners with the best cloud solutions for their customers. Cruise explains: “We are engaged with distributors here in SA that are already distributing Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to reseller partners, who are selling that on to the end-users, and we’ve led the market by recently launching the VMware Cloud equivalent here. We use ISP, MSP, IT support companies and developers as our partners because they’re experts in the provision of specialist services and managing their client relationships, while we focus on presenting our VMware Cloud service interface and make sure that it’s available. And that’s really what people want from the cloud.” 

Whether its working from home, the office or anywhere in-between, organisations and their staff are demanding solutions that are flexible and scalable as the world adapts. “Cloud is that solution, but it will come down to the partner that supports the transition that will make or break the decision forever, so organisations need to take care, and choose wisely,” concludes Cruise.

Andrew Cruise is the managing director at Routed.

[Column] Andrew Cruise: Hybrid cloud and multicloud – is there a difference and does it matter?

Vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed, says that the archetypal hybrid or multicloud concept has become needlessly complicated. Managing Director, Andrew Cruise, explains: “Ultimately no-one ever takes a pure route and even pure public cloud does not exist. So, let’s just call it cloud and understand that it covers a variety of scenarios.”

Cruise adds that while hybrid cloud is defined as a combination of public cloud and private cloud, and multicloud an extension of hybrid cloud into multiple public clouds, no enterprise deploys their infrastructure in such a linear or elegant fashion: corners are cut, and easy options are taken.

One clear trend emerging in the current environment is the difficulty of clear collaboration among cloud providers. “Providers of cloud platforms prefer to offer unique services specific to their platform where the end user experience is typically very different across said platforms. Where collaboration is possible it’s through open APIs, but this lowest common denominator outcome means only the most basic and standard functions and services are easy to port between platforms,” says Cruise.

In contrast, the VMWare Cloud approach combines the benefits of hyperscalers, plus local VMware Cloud verified operators, plus private cloud foundation deployments to give the enterprise a consistent experience.  “As much as developers try to standardise on one set of tools e.g. Kubernetes, each of the global powerhouses will attempt to offer extensions or integrations of their own to make their offering more attractive and ultimately more sticky,” says Cruise.

He adds that there is a definite need and place for more niche cloud platforms outside of the major hyperscalers because there will never be a one-size-fits-all solution from any global mega cloud provider. “Local operators will always be able to offer specific solutions to local requirements. Local cloud operators can often offer a more tailored experience to smaller and medium sized enterprises than is possible when dealing with a faceless global public cloud corporation.”

Rather than erroneously imagining that multicloud is achieved simply by using Office365 and running your website on AWS, Cruise says it should be seen as connecting privately between owned infrastructure (which might be on VMware), hyperscalers like AWS / Azure / GCP and/or other local cloud operators. “Initially the strategy may be to share data, but the goal is to facilitate the seamless migration of applications, either VM or container based, to the platform which is most suitable for the application at the time.”

Andrew Cruise is the managing director at Routed.

[South Africa] Building a successful multicloud strategy unlocks IT business value, Routed

South Africa’s cloud market is showing good signs of growth and development as enterprise customers begin to take serious notice of multicloud and its benefits. As a result, it is imperative to develop and maintain a robust mutlicloud strategy that meets continuously evolving business demands.

Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, a neutral cloud infrastructure provider, notes there are clear business benefits of pursuing a multicloud approach, including having a choice of best-in-class platforms to match a variety of business requirements and the ability to efficiently allocate scarce capital by utilising the operating cost model of cloud consumption. “However, some other no less important advantages of mutlicloud involve its potential to drive innovation, flexibility, and scalability of new apps in hyperscale public clouds. Multicloud can also ameliorate risks of failure and vendor lock-in by load balancing across multiple cloud platforms. In addition, multicloud really enables IT to meet business needs by freeing up time to focus on where value is added.”

Considering the sheer number of options available, the task of building a successful strategy should inevitably begin with a clear decision on where an enterprise’s efforts and resources should be focused. “In other words, where does IT bring business value? Use cloud infrastructure to free up internal resources and scarce capital to facilitate investment in these areas,” he adds.

Cruise says it is also advisable to build out from familiar areas of expertise incrementally. “A ‘big bang’ re-platforming approach, especially involving multiple unfamiliar hyperscale environments, is fraught with risk. Instead, base digital transformation strategy on current expertise, use industry-standard virtualisation platforms like VMware both on-premise and in local clouds for core business critical foundational workloads, and then add cloud native apps in global hyperscalers in stages.”

Successfully managing a multicloud environment is another understandable area of concern for enterprises, especially where security and regularity compliance are non-negotiable. “A proper assessment of peopleprocesses and control can provide a bird’s eye view of all IT and from there what is required to apply policies and procedures coherently together with a security strategy across all platforms,” says Cruise.

As digital transformation and cloud migration are now fully understood as business imperatives, choosing the right provider should be a carefully considered decision. Cruise explains that it’s vital to understand that no two cloud providers are the same, and that each market and sell on what they do differently. “Each provider has their own unique set of services and tools, which paradoxically, is where their value lies, but the drawback is that it also creates a barrier to multi-cloud due to incompatibilities. Enterprises should be circumspect in targeting these specific USPs in each provider as they will enforce a level of vendor lock-in and base their multicloud strategy on which providers will give them a consistent user experience across all platforms.”

As enterprise demands shift, how cloud is deployed will adapt in tandem. Cruise believes the future is likely to be a pragmatic cloud or dirty cloud. “This is the path of least resistance as it leads to what works most easily. This is mixture of onsite; private-style cloud like local VMware VPC; and public cloud from global hyperscalers.”

www.routed.co.za

[South Africa] ACS transforms Disaster Recovery with VMware and Routed

ACS, a division of Altron that provides secure data hosting and networking for not only the Altron Group of companies but also external customers across South Africa, has announced the strengthening of its partnership with VMware Cloud Provider partner Routed. The partnership’s aim is to enhance ACS’s current disaster recovery (DR) offering with a more scalable and efficient cloud-based solution.

“We provide the secure hosting of transactional data as well as applications which contain a significant amount of private and critical information. Given the sensitivity of this data, it must always be available. Our previous solution required significant granular manual intervention when we needed to switch customers over to DR. It was therefore essential to implement a more cost-effective solution that could cope with the massive amount of data that needed to be transported across to the DR data centre,” says Mira Andric, ACS Operations and Delivery Manager.

Nixon Kanalinixon

Andrew Cruise, MD of Routed Hosting who is the first VMware Cloud Verified Partner (VCPP) in Africa, says the previous ACS DR solution was not only difficult to manage, but it was manual-driven for recovery and tied to their storage resulting in an inflexible environment.

“Because ACS runs VMware inside their data centre and they themselves are a VCPP, it made sense to deliver a solution that combines our respective expertise in the VMware ecosystem. They are quite forward-thinking to approach another service provider partner to deliver a best-of-breed offering rather than try do everything themselves,” he says.

 “We were looking for a VCPP partner that could integrate well with what we already had in place. It was not a case of reinventing the wheel but rather implement something that could take the business to the next level.” Andric adds.

ACS implemented VCloud availability and shipped over 30TB of data within two weeks. The entire project took three months to complete with ACS now running a full DR-as-a-service (DRaaS) offering incorporating the reliability, availability, and security needed.

“ACS is providing customers with a self-service portal where they can ensure that the DR systems are available and up and running at a moment’s notice. Our engagement with Routed has been a partnership, and they have been actively involved in setting the systems up with us and our IT teams,” she says.

According to Andric, this has enabled ACS to complete the project on time and within budget.

“The cost savings have already started coming through. What is most important for us is that Routed has demonstrated that the VCloud offering is running the way it should at a price that is affordable to our customers. Furthermore, the IT teams within our customer environment understand the solution and it is incredibly user-friendly,” says Andric.

Running DRaaS is traditionally quite complex as those are the systems that companies do not require daily.

“However, Routed guided us on this complex path and empowered us to deliver a self-service platform to our customers. Now, within five clicks, the DR system is up and running. The VMware system is just a pleasure to run when you need it most. It has provided us and our customers with a good night’s sleep because they know that when they need it, DR will be done as effectively and securely as possible,” she says.

According to Cruise, ACS can deliver this solution to not only Altron Group companies but also external customers.

“ACS can provide a suite of services that speak to the security and compliance requirements of the digital age. And all this is delivered with the availability and reliability of a VMware cloud solution,” he concludes.

www.acs.altech.co.za

[South Africa] Cloud market moving from supply-driven to demand-driven, says Routed

Vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed, says that four years ago the development of the local cloud landscape was still in its infancy. Managing Director, Andrew Cruise, says that in the time since launching Routed, cloud demand has increased: “The market is moving from supply-driven to demand-driven. While the enterprise sector has taken time to embrace the cloud-concept, we have noted an increase in demand from these organisations.”

He says that the enterprise sector has moved into the driving seat, demanding cloud solutions. This about-turn was predicted according to Cruise: “We knew that the industry needed time to mature and better understand what digitilisation would mean to the success and longevity of their businesses. Where four years ago, owned equipment (either on-premise or collocated) was the outright preference as opposed to public or private cloud, we are now seeing a shift.”

While this shift may imply significant movement, Cruise cautions that cloud growth locally remains small. In particular, private cloud uptake is low and in fact, he says it has never really taken off: “The issue with private cloud is that the definitions tend to vary, which makes it difficult to understand or obtain a firm view of the uptake. Bear in mind that having dedicated equipment that is virtualised does not mean that it is a private cloud.

“When considering public cloud, the local sector seems to have a mixed bag of hosting implementations, but very few that are comparable to a true cloud experience, similar to that provided by the hyperscalers.”

Cloud platform providers have launched some compelling products that will assist in the migration to, and provide easy management of applications in, a legitimate public cloud, but still offer it in a secure and private way: VMWare’s vCloud Director is the standout example.

Lack of cloud skills remains another issue the industry has to address. Cruise says that the channel needs to address their ability to implement bona fide cloud strategies: “It is very important to ensure that you select the correct cloud partner. They need to focus on cloud as their primary business and have the skills to architect, deploy, secure, manage and support cloud infrastructure.”

www.routed.co.za

[South Africa] Routed achieves Africa’s first VMware Cloud verified status

Routed, a vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider has announced that it has achieved VMware Cloud Verified status. As the first company on the African continent to attain this status, Routed is proud to be among an elite group of highly skilled providers with the ability to operate at this high level of cloud certification.

The Cloud Verified badge signals to customers that Routed offers a service running on top of the complete VMware Cloud infrastructure. Through Cloud Verified partner services, customers attain access to the full set of VMware Cloud Infrastructure capabilities including integration and interoperability, cost optimisation and flexibility.

Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, says that being cloud verified by one of the global cloud leaders such as VMware is a career highlight: “We have watched as the cloud foundations were being built over the past four years and as we head into 2020, it is clear that the cloud-surge will continue, albeit cautiously, and Africa will continue to be a significant player within the global cloud sector. To work closely with VMware brings significant strength to the Routed offering. We are delighted to reach this milestone first and look forward to being an active participant in the developing cloud sector across the African continent.”

“Partners that are VMware Cloud Verified provide organisations with complete and advanced VMware Cloud technologies, along with interoperability across clouds for greater advantage for their customers’ businesses,” said Dave Funnell, VMware Senior Manager: Cloud Provider Business. “Cloud Verified services delivered by VMware Cloud Providers can provide the efficiency, agility, and reliability inherent in cloud computing. We look forward to supporting Routed as it empowers organisations with a simple and flexible path to the cloud.”

VMware’s global network of more than 4,000 VMware Cloud Providers leverage VMware’s consistent cloud infrastructure to offer a wide array of services, provide geographic and industry specialisation, and help customers meet complex regulatory requirements. Cloud Providers operating under the VMware Cloud Provider Program deliver individually tailored cloud solutions and services in more than 120 countries.

www.routed.co.za

[Column] Andrew Cruise: DR and security strategies could save your network in 2019

Andrew Cruise, Managing Director, Routed, South Africa’s only vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, says that disaster recovery (DR) and back-up solutions remain key to business strategies for 2019

Andrew Cruise, Managing Director, Routed, South Africa’s only vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, says that disaster recovery (DR) and back-up solutions remain key to business strategies for 2019. Cruise says that protecting on-premise and cloud-based data is critical if businesses are wanting the ability to recover all areas and avoid disasters, something he says did not fully resonate with businesses in 2018.

“Despite growing interest, majority of local businesses are yet to fully understand the importance of DR and back-up. Time needs to be spent reviewing what is in place, how and where it can expand and if using new technology will assist in ensuring better delivery in 2019,” says Cruise.

He says that a new trend is to form closer ties between DR and security. While DR traditionally concerns itself with loss of data, applications, systems and locations, the rise of malware and external attacks across networks has placed increased focus on the recovery of these environments and in a secure state: “Solid DR strategies will meet compliance requirements, while also ensuring the recovery of data, specific endpoints and applications,” says Cruise.

With more moves into the cloud, businesses need to make a concerted effort to embrace DR and backup. Cruise says the reality of ownership of the data is key: “This remains the organisation’s responsibility. The onus is on them to find ways in which to protect cloud-based data, this includes using third-party vendors.”

As threats are on the increase, a cloud approach could further protect a network from attack, even act as another layer of defense: “Recovery could potentially be much quicker if the entire system is simply rebooted, as opposed to trying to resume services on the network which experienced the attack,” explains Cruise.

This practice of cloud-based DR provides a much more efficient approach to resuming business functions. Cruise says that Routed hopes businesses will continue to explore DR and back-up solutions, giving serious consideration to cloud-based solutions and services.

Andrew Cruise, is the Managing Director, Cloud provider Routed, South Africa

[South Africa] Routed Signs Expansion Agreement for Ubersmith Subscription Business Software

Routed, a vendor-neutral cloud infrastructure provider in South Africa has signed an expansion agreement to take further advantage of subscription business management software from Ubersmith, an INAP (NASDAQ: INAP) company, to further enable its fast-paced growth.

The company is a model of efficiency using the Ubersmith software suite to automate pay-per-use billing to reduce the chance of mistakes in a manual process, as well as centralize customer information including client contracts. It bills clients on a pay-per-use model and sells its solutions through partners, such as internet service providers (ISPs) and managed service providers (MSPs).

Ubersmith provides the flexibility for Routed to efficiently bill large enterprises as well as smaller MSPs. In addition, all of Routed’s customers use the Ubersmith software Client Portal for easy access to information on the services they’re using.

Based in Cape Town with data centres there as well as in Johannesburg, Routed’s vendor-neutral cloud hosting platform is built using VMware technology — specifically vCloud Director stack. The company takes advantage of Ubersmith’s built-in integration with vCloud Director, as well as QuickBooks so that clients’ usage data is pulled into the billing system.

“The Ubersmith software is ideal for the kind of subscription billing we do and the business model we have while integrating well with other applications and infrastructure, and remaining open for the future as needed,” said Andrew Cruise, managing director of Routed. “It makes our lives easier, helping our people in billing, customer service and sales work efficiently to handle the growth today and prepare for the scalability needs of our business tomorrow.”

Future plans at Routed include expansion of the Ubersmith software to include the Sales Manager and Order Manager, which provide workflow tools and automation from the initial quote to account setup, provisioning, billing and more.

“We are pleased to partner more deeply with Routed to help enable its cloud business and its ability to launch and support high-quality services with great efficiency,” said Kurt Daniel, CEO of Ubersmith. “We’re pleased to play a role in Routed’s success in South Africa and beyond as they take further advantage of the full range of turnkey usage-based billing, infrastructure and operations capabilities we offer to their organization and their customers.”

www.routed.co.za

www.ubersmith.com