Cloud technology has become a driving force for South African companies to adapt their IT infrastructure. However, they are not just sticking to one form of technology. They are blending cloud services with on-premises solutions to harness the best from a multi-cloud, hybrid world. The conversation now is not about choosing between the two. Rather it is about figuring out the optimal blend.
One significant trigger for this transition, especially in Africa, has been the arrival of new undersea cable systems. The access to bandwidth these cables provide has been a game-changer for connectivity on the continent. We have witnessed a significant shift, with numerous businesses moving from on-premise environments to hosted data centres. The large-scale investments by new entrants like Google Equiano have substantially amplified the undersea bandwidth capacity available to South Africa and other African landing points.
These hyperscale data centres, partnered with content delivery nodes from giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and AWS, have ushered in a new era. The Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is no longer a distant dream, it is a tangible reality in South Africa. This transformation means that businesses in neighbouring countries can now easily access these large-scale investment data centres due to the increased connectivity speeds available.
The growth we have seen in this sector has been significant. Most of these services − from firewall provisioning to software applications − are now cloud-based. The integration of content with undersea cables is a significant driver of this trend. It is hard not to mention Teraco and its NAP peering environment, which has been a huge driver for businesses to connect to major content delivery nodes.
The consumption trend is shifting too. Consumers and businesses alike are embracing the ‘everything as a service’ model. The affordability, accessibility and proven business cases of these services have reduced the initial resistance. There was a time when businesses hesitated, taking cautious steps towards the cloud. Now the gates are wide open, thanks to the investments from the content providers and data centres.
However caution is still important. Businesses are diligently trying to understand their workload for cloud investment. While there might be instances where they pay more for these cloud strategies in the long term, the access to flexible resources and scalability is unmatched. Yet some prefer a physical or virtual self-deployed environment within a data centre, particularly when considering cost and transactional service usage. Managed virtual platforms have emerged as a solution to this challenge.
The future seems to be tilting towards a hybrid approach, with not all investments pouring into hyperscalers. Application providers have come of age, and we are likely to see a future dominated by application holders. The vision is clear: subscription services will reign supreme, with OEMs renting out services. The end clients will not even need to deliberate where to host services and data. The landscape is evolving, and inq. is excited to be part of this journey.
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