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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  18 Feb 2011

INFOTECH: Cloud Computing Has Arrived But is South Africa Ready?

 





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Cloud computingÂ…is it just a buzzword or a confusing term that is used to describe too many technologies? Louis Helmbold, Business Development Manager at Axiz doesn’t believe that this is the case.“We have a clearly defined definition for cloud computing and organisations have started to recognise the benefits. The obstacle is whether South Africa is ready.”

Helmbold says that cloud computing is a natural evolution from the adoption of virtualisation, service-orientated architecture and utility computing. He says that companies have accepted the concept of cloud computing and while they have started to put it into practice, there are stumbling blocks which are affecting early adoption rates such as speed and reliability.

“These two factors play an important role in the success of cloud computing. New solutions from telecommunication providers such as Cell C and West Africa Cable System (WACS) are constantly being launched in an effort to increase South Africa’s connectivity penetration. But is it enough to deliver a reliable high speed service?”

He says that by the end of next year South Africa will have two more submarine cable systems, the first of which will be operational by the third quarter of this year and the other is expected by the end of 2012. “WACS will bring the cable to our shores, but the success will be measured by the ability to distribute this inland to the end users.”

Pricing is another major issue that Helmbold highlights. “It is not only affecting the adoption of cloud but the quotients of connectivity in South Africa. Service providers need to deliver a new pricing structure that will make reliable and fast internet connectivity available to everyone.” He says that Cell C has ventured down this road, but the others are yet to follow? “Local service providers must reduce their data costs dramatically to ensure cloud computing can be successfully rolled out in the private and public sectors,” says Helmbold.

Despite the challenges, cloud computing remains viable for Africa. One of the many benefits is being able to deliver private and public services any-time and anywhere. With a significant amount of South African companies having extensive reach into Africa, cloud computing provides an ideal solution for them to deliver their services across the continent. But as affordable and reliable high speed internet services are a scare commodity this is a challenge. Helmbold says that he sees a larger role for South African telecommunication companies to assist African countries in developing their infrastructure and cloud computing could be their secret weapon.”

Gartner predicts that cloud computing will be as influential as e-business and Helmbold agrees that cloud computing will most certainly influence, shape and drive the next technology evolution.


 
 
 
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