Welcome to the cloud battleground

Posted on 27/10/2021 by charlene

Cloud infrastructure is the foundation on which companies need to build systems to maintain operations today and in the future. The COVID-19 pandemic has required organisations across industry sectors to embrace digital transformation at a rate previously unheard of. Simply put, no business can afford to ignore getting their systems, processes, data, and applications ready for the cloud.

In Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), with the arrival of hyperscalers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, more businesses are starting to see the potential of going the hybrid multi-cloud route. This means they can choose the cloud service providers that best meet specific business requirements. The days of relying on a single homogeneous cloud environment where a company consumes from a single public cloud hyperscaler are numbered. Instead, they will use various providers to compliment the sensitive data they have stored in their own private clouds.

But this requires bridging the gap between existing legacy systems and more agile cloud-based ones. This is where the need for trusted cloud provider partners that understand the challenges businesses face become apparent. These partners can develop an ecosystem of cloud solutions that address those obstacles and position the business for future growth in a way that reflects its unique requirements. The ‘mainstream’ hyperscalers are great, but companies can bolster these environments with SSA partners’ local knowledge and understanding.

Effectively, this creates an environment where local is always preferred. When businesses select a local version of the cloud, they are no longer tied to any specific ecosystem. So, they receive multi-cloud support wherever they need to go from the local partner.

Making the right choice

This means that the private cloud will become the destination of choice for both existing and cloud-native application workloads. It can deliver on the high-performance computing capabilities, scalability, and agility of the public cloud and still provide the attributes required by companies for their more critical applications.

Going the local cloud provider partner route means the business can better deal with the complexities of an evolving regulatory environment. Whether it is the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), and the National Policy on Data and Cloud that the government in the country is proposing. These frameworks take a dim view of organisations breaking data sovereignty restrictions.

Compliance requires a careful balancing act between data that is resident and sovereign. The former is data that is local and stored within the borders of a country. However, things like metadata and account information are not necessarily only stored within a country, and a company has little control over where the hyperscaler chooses to host that data.

The need for speed

The regulatory advantage of working with a trusted local cloud partner is just one part of the equation. The other is the speed benefit that going local brings. For companies who need as much real-time information as possible, the latency difference between an international data centre and a local one is significant. Any delays can result in higher costs to users of multiple cloud services. The risk is that a business might become locked into a single provider’s solutions to alleviate some of the time pressures.

Local cloud providers that have global skills will be the ones that help drive the business forward. Collaborating with these experienced partners also means that invoicing can be done in the local currency, meeting with the account manager instead of dealing with a foreign call centre, and getting a flexible contract in place that reflects the realities of doing business in Africa.

The hyper-cloud will be the future of business. Now it comes down to whether the organisation has the foresight to select a local cloud provider partner that can deliver the best benefits at the most compelling price points.

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Category: Cloud, Multi-cloud

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