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Stats reveal growing popularity of hybrid cloud in SA

A high percentage (88%) of South African organisations view the hybrid cloud model as the ideal infrastructure model, while half confirmed a shortage of IT skills required to manage this environment.

This is according to the third Global Enterprise Cloud Index Survey, released this week by Nutanix.

Rowan Grierson, Regional Director for Nutanix in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Rowan Grierson, Regional Director for Nutanix in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Rowan Grierson, Regional Director for Nutanix in Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “It's quite interesting that nearly half of respondents from South Africa also reported that, you know, there's some challenges from IT skills perspective now, I mean, if we look at the IT skills perspective, so this is specifically when it relates to managing hybrid cloud environments, but I mean, skills has always been a challenge. And it's been a global challenge, not just in South Africa. But complexity around taking advantage of hybrid cloud. You know, it probably makes that skill, this lack of skills or the requirement for it, it puts it on even more pressures. So, you know, because you all of a sudden saw talking about cloud native applications container-based application. So we sort of not surprised to see that.”

Data shows that South Africa is ahead in decommissioning or evolving its legacy datacentres. Only 14% of respondents locally reported running traditional non-cloud-enabled datacentres exclusively, compared to the global average of 18%.

Penetration in South Africa is expected to drop to just 3% within the next five years, while the use of hybrid cloud is expected to increase by 31% over the same period.

IT shops in South Africa favour private cloud and hyper-converged infrastructure, with local respondents reporting that they are running more applications in private clouds (38%) than public (29%) than their global counterparts who report a slight preference for public clouds.

According to Nutanix this may explain why South Africa is also ahead in hyper-converged infrastructure deployments, with 57% indicating that they have either fully deployed or are in the process of deploying it. Another 33% plan to do so in the next 12-to-24 months.

Comparatively, over two-thirds (69%) of global ECI respondents running hybrid cloud said they’re also operating or in the process of deploying hyper-converged infrastructure; by contrast, 40% of those running mixed-model infrastructures and 50% of those running traditional said they too will roll out HCI.

Speedier service delivery

Nutanix executives also said that contrary to popular belief, cost is not the most important consideration behind cloud investment.

Rather, research shows that the intention to move to a hybrid cloud environment is mostly driven by an effort to improve customer support and speed up service delivery.

A strong customer focus is driving infrastructure changes in South Africa, and 62% of respondents cited the ability to better support their customers as the reason to move to cloud-enabled infrastructure, compared to a 46% global average. Interestingly, while cost savings were less important globally, more respondents in South Africa selected it as a factor (51%) than any other country polled (the second highest being the UK at 45%).

Craigh Stuart, Systems Engineering Manager for both Sub-Saharan and Western Central at Nutanix.
Craigh Stuart, Systems Engineering Manager for both Sub-Saharan and Western Central at Nutanix.

Craigh Stuart, Systems Engineering Manager for both Sub-Saharan and Western Central at Nutanix, said: “(It’s) all about, you know, supporting customers better, it's actually quite a surprise, but there's a big focus from a South African perspective, you know, to sort of support customers and being able to respond to changing environments. And I mean, there's a 16% sort of split between us and global. And then the flexibility piece was even more important, as well, you know, we had 60% versus 55%, globally, speed to deliver. So a lot of these things are all about the customer. In terms of this, African companies, how many of them have adopted, hyper converge and moving towards hybrid cloud, and if we look at what that brings in terms of being able to respond to changing business requirements, being agile, and, you know, just delivering to customers, and, you know, we sort of not surprised to see, you know, some of these priorities higher up and why it's important, as well, because it all pretty much matches up.”

Stuart emphasised the impact of remote working on operations. “The remote working piece has been a big change for a lot of people, right. And I know, we keep saying it over and over again. But in reality, it has changed the way a lot of businesses are operating today. So you can imagine a company that it's been, you know, pretty much centralised, in terms of the resources to a high distributed resource where they're all working from home. And so how do you control? And how do you actually deliver those services to those employees … I mean, think about the, a couple of thousand employees, and all of a sudden, and most of all, working from home, they're all working on laptops, they all have, you know, either VPN, (and) access into the environment. So how do you serve? And how do you operate in an environment where people are accessing it from a distributed model versus a centralised model, so things have to change drastically.”

Stuart continued: “The problem with that is, is that most organisations that didn't have a remote working strategy in place, had to jump quickly to do something. And this is where the ability to, to run in a hybrid cloud world allows you to extend your datacentre, into the public, hyper, hyper scalars, to offer those services while you kind of transitioning into a remote working model got to keep the lights on, got to transform the way they work, you have to think about security…. ransomware as the big topic today, you know, so how do you protect businesses from getting hit by ransomware? But the key thing is, it's the execution thereof, that starts to become the key factor in most businesses. And then lock-in is kind of going to happen at some point.”

The global pandemic has also raised IT’s profile, and accelerated cloud adoption as 82% of South African respondents said that COVID-19 has caused IT to be viewed more strategically in their organisations.

As a result, 60% reported an increase in hybrid cloud investment compared to 46% globally.

Local respondents specifically stated that their top priorities, because of COVID-19, are implementing 5G (61%), improving IT infrastructure (55%), improving business continuity (54%) and work-from-home capabilities (53%).

Something the local Nutanix team confirms, as use cases for these technologies are on the rise.

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