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Hardware to drive SA’s IT spend

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ICT spending in 2016 will largely be driving by software, IT services and mobile devices. In South Africa though, hardware infrastructure will also be a big driver as a result of current market expansion.

ICT spending in 2016 will largely be driven by investments in software, IT services and mobile devices. In South Africa specifically, overall hardware infrastructure will also be a big driver as a result of current market expansion. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), line of business or decision-makers from departments other than IT will rise to become major influencers of IT spending, making the CIOs role even more complex and demanding.

Over the years, data centres, in particular, have undergone a strategic transformation to become an IT and business enabler rather than a mere business support function. IDC expects that by 2017 and beyond the conversations will move solely to the cloud with all data centre infrastructure spend utilised towards the creation, adoption and optimisation of 3rd platform technologies. Metering and chargeback will become mainstream in the move to create hybrid cloud environments.

Until last year, the infrastructure conversations were still skewed towards servers, storage and networking investments. While there was some overlap between these technology purchases, the majority of purchases were still made in silos on an ad-hoc and needs-base.

Yonela Nkinti, Senior Research Analyst Enterprise Systems, at IDC says: “Our latest research showed a lot of standardisation, consolidation and server virtualisation as enterprises began to understand the need to simplify infrastructure.”

The market has also matured to a stage where the conversations have clearly shifted to virtualised, converged and software-defined infrastructures. “Based on our CIO surveys and industry insights it is evident that enterprises are moving to an automated management phase within their infrastructure, introducing automation and orchestration within their environments,” she says.

Virtualisation

IDC says the percentage of virtualised servers in South Africa will grow 50% by 2018, while servers’ shipments will increase by 3% in the same period. This indicates much faster growth in virtualisation and, as a result, virtualised server environments may reach saturation.

Virtualisation reaching saturation may become a cost saving item due to management complexity. Once the market is saturated, the only way to continue to realise cost savings will be to move to Private/Hybrid cloud solutions or to extend virtualisation capabilities to client and storage infrastructure.

“Software-defined infrastructure may result in as much as six times the cost-savings of pure server virtualisation. This includes the virtualisation of servers, storage, desktops and networking, all underlined by a software management layer which manages all operations,” says Nkinti.

According to IDC’s South Africa CIO survey, 16% of CIOs have already implemented Software-defined Networks, while 38% are planning to implement it before the end of 2017. As for client (desktop) virtualisation, 27% of companies are planning to implement it before the end of 2017.

She adds that many end users were planning to standardise on integrated systems. “We anticipate that, in North Africa and Europe, as much as 50% of all computing, storage or network resources and workloads will run on converged systems by the end of this year. While this hasn’t been the case for South Africa so far, there are indications that a lot of data centres in the region may standardise on converged systems, considering there aren’t too many legacy systems to overcome.”

Agility, productivity, flexibility, and cost saving requirements will largely drive the adoption of converged systems within META. In South Africa, from a vertical perspective, the banking industry will be the main adopters.

“In Africa, the adoption will be higher due to lack of legacy systems and an inherent skills shortage. Organisations in the region will also leverage converged systems to leapfrog older IT setups,” says Nkinti.  “The rising adoption of converged systems will set the base for software-defined environments moving forward and blades will outgrow other form factors as a result of the fast adoption of integrated systems. These technology changes will continue to drive the evolution of data centres if they are to remain relevant.”

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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