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IT falls off the Edge

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Delays in provisioning applications, recovering from disasters, and managing data backups rank as the biggest challenges of managing remote and branch offices, writes WIMPIE VAN RENSBURG, Country Manager for Sub Saharan Africa, Riverbed Technology.

Riverbed Technology, the application performance company, has released the results of a survey that showed that organisations are facing multiple challenges when managing IT at the edge – at remote and branch offices. The Riverbed survey asked IT professionals about the various challenges they face in provisioning and managing remote and branch offices (ROBOs) and found supporting the IT edge was expensive, resource-intensive and full of potential data security risks.

IT at the edge continues to be provisioned and managed largely as it has been for the past 20 years, with distributed IT spread out across potentially hundreds of remote and branch locations. However, this approach can bring data risk and operational penalties to companies at an extremely high cost, and in today’s increasingly distributed enterprise with a primary focus on data and security, past approaches may not be ideal for business success. Given the various challenges associated with managing remote sites, organizations have their hands full in supporting the edge. The top three challenges of managing ROBOs in order of importance are:

  •    Handling ROBO disaster recovery (54%)
  • High costs of providing ROBO IT (46%)
  • Providing adequate IT staff to support ROBOs (46%)

By all indications, today’s ROBO IT practices are significantly impacting the bottom line. Companies face substantial financial losses when recovering from an outage or struggling to provision new services or apps to hundreds of sites – along with the cost of supplying IT staff onsite at each location. Respondents were asked to rank the degree of financial impact of individual challenges related to managing ROBOs. The percentages below reflect the respondents who ranked each item as having an “extremely to somewhat large” financial impact:

  • Delays in provisioning infrastructure, apps and new services to a ROBO (45%)
  • Delays in recovering from ROBO outages (44%)
  • IT staff time taken to manage ROBO backups (39%)

The survey also found that respondents would like alternative options to storing data generated at remote office locations locally in the ROBO. When data is stored locally on physical servers in remote facilities or branch offices, it is especially susceptible to security risks, such as theft, human error or natural disasters. Not surprisingly, three quarters (75%) of respondents said that it would be “somewhat to extremely desirable” to store their remote data in the data center or in the cloud.

“The new Riverbed survey shows that companies are really struggling to effectively and efficiently manage their IT operations at the edge,” said Paul O’Farrell, Senior Vice President and General Manager of SteelHead, SteelFusion and SteelConnect at Riverbed. “As companies continue to move more of their operations to remote locations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage their backup and recovery processes and provide adequate IT staff onsite at each individual location. Riverbed’s SteelFusion is re-defining remote and branch office IT by allowing businesses to centralize ROBO IT operations and data in the data center (and/or the cloud), without any negative impact on remote office application performance, therefore simplifying IT management at remote locations while reducing overall costs.”

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make in impact in gaming.

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AppDate: DStv jumps on music bandwagon

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights DStv’s JOOX, Cisco’s Security Connector, Diski Skills, Namola and Exhibid.

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DStv JOOX

DStv is now offering JOOX, a music streaming service owned by China’s Tencent, to DStv Premium, Compact Plus and Compact customers.

In addition to streaming local and international artists, JOOX allows one to switch to karaoke mode and learn the lyrics as well as create and share playlists. Users can add up to four friends or family to the service free of charge.

DStv Family, Access and EasyView customers can also log in to the free JOOX service directly through JOOX App, but will be unable to add additional friends and won’t be able to listen to add-free music.

Platform: Access the JOOX service directly from the services menu on DStv or download the JOOX app for an iOS or Android phone.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Cisco Security Connector

With all the malware, viruses and trojans doing the rounds, it is difficult for users and enterprises to ensure that they don’t become targets. Cisco, in collaboration with Apple, has brought out its Cisco Security Connector to protect users. The app is designed to give enterprises and users overall visibility and control over their network activity on iOS devices. It does this by ensuring compliance of mobile users and their enterprise-owned iOS devices during incident investigations, by identifying what happened, who it affected, and the risk of the exposure. It also protects iPhone and iPad users from accessing malicious sites on the Internet, whether on the corporate network, public Wi-Fi, or cellular networks. In turn, it prevents any viruses from entering a company’s network.

Platform: iPhones and iPads running iOS 11.3 or later

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading instructions.

 

Diski Skills

The Goethe-Institut, in co-operation with augmented reality specialists Something Else Design Agency, has created a new card game which celebrates South African freestyle football culture, and brings it alive through augmented reality. Diski Skills is quick card game, set in a South African street football scenario, showing popular tricks such as the Shibobo, Tsamaya or Scara Turn. Each trick is rated in categories of attack, defence and swag – one wins the game by challenging an opponent strategically with the trick at hand. Through augmented reality, the cards come alive. Move a smartphone over a card and watch as the trick appears on the screen in a slow motion video. An educational value is added as players can study the tricks and learn more about the idea behind it.

 

The game will be launched on 27 October 2018 at the Goethe-Institut.

For more information visit: www.goethe.de

 

Namola

With  recent news of kidnappings on the rise, a lot more thought is going into keeping children safe. Would your child know what to do in an emergency? Have you actually asked them?

Namola, supported by Dialdirect Insurance, is a free mobile safety app. Namola’s simple interface makes it an ideal way for children to learn how to get help in an emergency. All they need to do is activate the app and push a button to get help that they need, even when their parents are not around.

Parents need to install the app on their child’s phone, hold down the request assistance button, program emergency numbers that will automatically be dialled when the emergency button is pushed, and teach their children how and when to use the app.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Exhibid

Exhibid could be thought of as Tinder, but for for art lovers. The interface looks very similar to the popular mobile dating app, in that users swipe left for a painting that doesn’t appeal to them, or swipe right for something they like. Once an art piece is liked by swiping right, one can start bidding or make an offer on it. The bid is automatically sent to the artist. Should he or she accept the offer, the buyer makes a payment through the app’s secure payment gateway and the two are put in contact to make arrangements for delivery.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

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