Even though there are still challenges to overcome, the cloud provides an ideal platform to channel this growth. Paul Ruinaard, Country Manager at Nutanix Sub-Saharan Africa, tells us more.
Such are the opportunities offered by the cloud, the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index 2018 Report shows that instances of the hybrid cloud in South Africa are expected to increase by 33% in the coming 12 to 24 months.
Also, 42% of local respondents consider the hybrid cloud to be the most ideal IT deployment model within the next two years. But what are the reasons for this, especially in developing African markets like South Africa?
The imminent arrival of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services data centres in the country are contributing to an increased awareness of the cloud and its role in guiding Digital Transformation projects.
While many decision-makers adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ approach when it comes to the cloud, the reinforcement by Microsoft and Amazon about its potential on the continent means they are taking it much more seriously.
Even though South African respondents rate data security and compliance (72%), and ease of management (60%) as the three most important factors when choosing where to put their workloads, the cloud provides an alternative solution to some of the traditional infrastructure challenges of the continent.
Typically, this includes power issues and a lack of reliable bandwidth especially at remote branches. But thanks to telecom operators continually investing in network upgrades, there are alternative connectivity solutions to the more traditional fixed-line approaches. Certainly, fibre access has become standard in cities throughout the country, but remote workers need to be able to access data from mobile devices to really benefit from the cloud.
This is where the likes of 3G and 4G come in with satellite offering an additional layer of redundancy. In terms of the electricity concern, cloud solutions require less hardware to be kept on site. Given how much energy servers typically use, reducing the load on office infrastructure will not only ease pressure on the power grid, but lead to cost-savings when it comes to utility bills.
With the arrival of the multinational data centres, data compliance concerns are also addressed as the data will be stored within the borders of the country. The likes of PoPI in South Africa and the GDPR in Europe mean data protection is of utmost importance. Falling foul of regulators can result in significant financial fines and damage to the brand of a company. In difficult economic conditions where customers can easily migrate to a competitor product, this is not without significant risks.
The impact of the cloud
The much-touted efficiency and productivity improvements of migrating to the cloud are certainly considerations in making the transition. However, the report shows that South African respondents rate the flexibility of the cloud as the biggest benefit (78%).
Other reasons for making the move include being able to choose the best cost model for each workload, application mobility, and the ability to scale according to high demand periods (all 66%).
As a platform, the cloud is therefore an environment designed to suit a variety of needs. Most local respondents (57%) understand the importance of moving the workloads of their organisations to the cloud within two years. Furthermore, South African businesses are selecting the different cloud environments for specific use cases. For example, enterprise and digital applications are preferred for the public cloud with data analytics and databases driving private cloud adoption.
Certainly, the cloud looks set to be a key priority for many local businesses during the next two years. Now, there must be a willingness to embrace it and a readiness to adapt existing business strategies to the potential that the multi-cloud world will have for companies over the coming months.