Following recent news that Microsoft will bring two Azure servers online in South Africa next year, the local market has been abuzz with excitement. Veeam® Software, the innovative provider of solutions that deliver Availability for the Always-On Enterprise™, believes that this will significantly impact availability strategies across the continent.
“Amidst organisations looking forward to what these new developments will bring, those service providers that thought they had a head-start on multi-national cloud vendors have some apprehension about what this will mean for their business. However, once the dust settles on the announcement, we anticipate that these same providers will find different ways to offer value from hosted services to their clients,” says Claude Schuck, regional manager for Africa at Veeam.
Schuck feels that Microsoft could be the precursor to other global players entering Africa.
“Somebody had to take the first step on the continent and lead the charge for others to follow. Despite cynics arguing that this will see a negative impact on local offerings, the reverse is true. The Microsoft move shows decision-makers across industry sectors that virtualisation is the way of the future. In this environment, availability becomes fundamental to the success of the business – without access to data, irrespective of its location, companies cannot function effectively,” he says.
The coming months will therefore be characterised by a big drive from local providers to get systems and processes ready before the official arrival of Azure. This will not only put them in a position to push virtualised and associated availability solutions as the launch becomes imminent, but will also let them accelerate adoption and roll out after Azure kicks off.
“The real question is whether the business case will make sense for local providers. Judging by what is happening elsewhere in the world where Azure has local data centres and the answer is a resounding yes. We are also seeing the imminent release of Veeam Availability Suite v10 creating excitement in the availability space with new features designed to capitalise on this growing digital business environment,” he says.
According to Schuck, availability is a priority on the corporate agenda with even government departments in South Africa, and on the rest of the continent, marking it as an area that needs to be addressed from a data perspective. He says the public sector has indicated its intent to examine the opportunities for availability as the means to help address some of the challenges it faces when it comes to digital transformation, business continuity and disaster recovery.
But there is always going to be a balancing act required between availability in the data centre and the associated costs. This means the CIO must discuss the needs of the organisation with other business leaders to ensure mission-critical files are always available. For countries like South Africa that are currently entering a recession, this becomes even more vital.
“However, these are exciting times for the availability space on the continent. We are eagerly anticipating many positive changes over the next few months. However, vendors and service providers will need to continue pushing the education message if awareness levels are to remain high,” he concludes.