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Cloud transforming SA business landscape

Cloud transforming SA business landscape

Businesses are talking about talking about adopting cloud services to aggressively doing it. While much of this is still reliant on the IT and business decision-making directions of a company, there are those who understand the need and the business benefits in migrating sooner rather than later.

Many organizations are experiencing pain in their current environment with either performance, scale, or cost management. In fact, this is a key factor behind the acceleration of the decision-making process – either investment in the cloud, driven by a more cost-effective pay-per-use model, or spending massive amounts of money and maintaining new hardware.

Of course, the cloud is not new. Before its current moniker, it was referred to as hosting. In South Africa, there are a myriad of hosting providers that have built up their services offering over the past decade. This has resulted in a good mix between private cloud and managed cloud hosting solutions.

Changing environment

Businesses are embracing the private cloud with 65% of CIOs in the IDC South African CIO Survey They are planning to invest in public and private cloud this year. Traditionally, this is where the transition started. Before public clouds, businesses had their own equipment in their office environment – 'private cloud'.

Everything from data center facilities, to servers, storage, networking, and firewalls that were managed in-house. Because of the reason mentioned above, moving workloads to pay-per-use is a lot more attractive, but a lot of work is still cautious about the security of cloud, which must be taken into consideration.

These factors are contributing to more of an 'openness' towards a multi-cloud approach where private cloud, managed cloud and public cloud are used. On the one hand, businesses are embracing productivity suites like Microsoft Office 365 on public cloud platforms, while remaining private when it comes to relying on their hardware for specific use cases.

This is complemented with Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS), Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) hosted at local managed cloud providers.

Thanks to the recent arrival of Microsoft Azure datacentres in South Africa, companies are looking to start more services from their cloud providers. Many organizations have been waiting for this launch before beginning their migration. With the anticipated latency and workflow improvements. It is going to be more difficult.

Furthermore, the Microsoft product stack wants to diversify. From Office 365 to Backup-as-a-Service Into the cloud, companies want to have more options when it comes to value-added solutions. It wants to enable businesses to develop new and innovative services to go to market quicker. Ultimately, it is about working more agile than ever.

Options abound

These local datacentres therefore want to provide customers with more choices. This means local cloud providers want to be consumed by public cloud providers. Azure resellers do not have their own datacentres.

These providers will be happy to offer their services to them. They will continue to focus on their IaaS offerings.

Even so, many local providers are still very traditional in their thinking. They are struggling to change their business models to move from capex opportunities to opex annuity. However, the current and upcoming multi-national datacentres should be viewed as an opportunity instead of a threat.

Many cloud providers have aligned with public cloud providers and developed practices to complement their offerings. They have already been working with Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Google practices. Indirectly, if not aligned, these units want to compete with one another for the same customer opportunity. This is not ideal for the customer as the business needs to focus on meeting the requirements of the business needs.

Change inevitable

Despite this, there are new cloud providers who are aggressively migrating new and existing customers to public cloud platforms. These are the ones that will probably specialize in specific service offerings. They are open, willing to change, and provide clients with the options needed for a digitally connected business environment.

Yes, when it comes to the cloud, discussions always want to revolve around security and compliance. But with more multi-national data centers to arrive in the country over the coming months, any concerns will be less of a factor. The cloud requires a mindshift change. It is no longer just about hosting organizations with a new and more agile way to do business.

By Trent Odgers, Cloud and Hosting Manager for Africa at Veeam.

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