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Cementing a competitive cloud strategy

Cementing a competitive cloud strategy

Any cloud strategy, including whether to opt for a private, public or hybrid cloud, is based on what applications a business will use, workloads and restrictions that apply to operations.

So claims Wouter van Hulten, founder of pan-African cloud-and carrier-neutral colocation datacentre services provider PAIX (PanAfrican Internet Exchange Data Centres).

Van Hulten says there are several questions that must be asked and answered when devising a strategy, including 'where do you store your applications and data?', 'what are the data residency requirements?' and 'what are the requirements regarding disaster recovery?' and 'how do you connect to the cloud?'

He says those considering building their own datacentres need to consider several factors including where to build, how the power infrastructure would be, the environmental risk, funding and finance, how payment would be made for the investment, people and staffing, as well as where to find the engineers and who will train them.

Sufficient fibre infrastructure is also critical, according to Van Hulten.

"Third-party datacentres (providing colocation or public cloud) can be connected to when there is sufficient fibre in a market, at reasonable prices. For this, telecom liberalisation must be implemented," he says, adding that 'on-premise' facilities would suffice in the absence of a fibre or other means to have a reliable connection to the internet.

On what workload can go into the public cloud, he said there are plenty of white papers about such but "it includes when you need scalability, big data and large data sets, when there is a need to process large volumes, for Artificial Intelligence etc."

Looking ahead Van Hulten is generally positive regarding datacentres and the data economy in Africa.

With Africa's data storage needs set to rise even as more hyperscale datacentres are built, discussion around this trend will likely continue in 2020, amid ever-increasing competition.

Competitors include PAIX, which started in 2016, as well as Google partnering with DigiCloud to bring the Google Platform to the rest of Africa, and AWS launching its cloud datacentre in South Africa in the first half of 2020.

The new AWS Africa Region aims to help provide lower latency to end users across Sub-Saharan Africa as more African businesses drive innovation by leveraging advanced technologies such as AI and Machine Learning.

Microsoft's hyperscale datacentres are up and running in South Africa and the UAE, according to Corne du Preez, Technology Solutions Professional Applications and Infrastructure at Altron Karabina.

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