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Backing up the always-on enterprise

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By KATE MOLLETT, regional manager for Africa at Veeam

The concept of backups is debatable for businesses with a clear vision and strategy. Some executives will tell you that having a plan B means that plan A will never work. There is one type of backup option which is almost universally agreed on as being a necessity though. When it comes to file storage and applications, backup and replication is widely considered a given. In practice, however, the importance of backing up is sometimes overlooked – an error which no business should fall foul of.

Whether it’s due to outages caused by hardware failure, cyber-attack or user error, you always need a plan B when it comes to business continuity and protecting the availability of data. When disaster strikes, IT departments are under pressure to minimise the impact of employees and customers as much as possible, and this is a continuous effort rather than a job which can be done once in a while. World Backup Day is an opportunity to remind businesses of the importance of protecting their data and having a disaster recovery plan in place.

According to statistics from the Market Research Future, the cloud backup market is forecasted to reach $5.6 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 21% over a five-year period. Given the explosion of the global cloud computing market, which is expected to grow to $623.3 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 18% over a five-year period, this growth in cloud backup is fairly unsurprising. It is still encouraging though to see that businesses are clearly planning to invest in backup and replication and taking data availability seriously.

After all, consumers are certainly beginning to take their own data much more seriously, with newsworthy events such as Cambridge Analytica as well as GDPR and POPIA bringing personal data into mainstream public consciousness.

Eat, sleep, backup, repeat…

The biggest threat to data availability is an outage across a company’s IT provision. Given the complexity of data management ecosystems, with many businesses now exploring hybrid IT and multi-cloud strategies, IT departments have more plates to keep spinning than ever before. This can also be seen as a blessing. In the age of the cloud, businesses are not reliant on a single point of failure and can create virtual backups to remote locations for every packet of data they produce. This has to be balanced against the privacy protocols and value of certain data, as well as considerations such as budgetary constraints and business priorities.

To strike that balance, businesses can ensure that data is available at all times by having a robust cloud backup and disaster recovery strategy in place. After all, some data is more important to backup than other data. Mission-critical data and applications should be backed up continuously. Unplanned downtime is referred to as such because it can strike at any time.

So, backups need to be running as and when data is altered to ensure that the fundamental information and systems on which the business relies can be recovered to the state they were in when an outage of fault occurs. Solutions such as Backup-as-a-service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) provide continuous protection to business continuity. Using op-ex based pricing, the ‘x as a service’ model allows businesses to pay for services based on what they use, rather than making restrictive capital investments up-front which lead to IT wastage. Crucially, organisations need to see their backup and recovery services as a fundamental part of their wider data management and cloud strategy.

Awareness of the value of data is on the up, so on World Backup Day, IT managers should take a moment to reflect whether their backup and recovery strategy is fit for purpose and in line with their business continuity needs. Given that the demands on data availability in the digital business continue to evolve, having a future-proofed infrastructure is a must for modern enterprises.

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Gaming gets rad at Rand Show

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With the opening of the 125th Rand Show at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, today, gamers and cosplayers have a new destination to strut their stuff.

A new addition to the show, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion, is offering anything from gaming and cosplay to dance-offs and  science displays.

The organisers provided the following information (although several million exclamation marks and exaggerations have been removed!):

Fortnite Tournament

There was a time when Gaming was a considered a solitary pastime, confined to single player consoles; but that truly is a thing of the past with a fully immersive Fortnite Tournament open to all Fortnite afficionados and even those just starting out. Players can battle it out over both show weekends, including a final on each weekend. Family fan clubs can also get in on the action with live broadcasts of the game as it happens across screens – a full-on Fortnite family affair. Sponsored by PlayStation, gamers are truly going to be spoiled and should get in on the action as fast as they can because R 100 000 in cash prizes is up for grabs.

Smart Technology Centre will deliver a super-fast FibreMAX 500Mbps fibre link, wholly dedicated to the gaming pavilion to ensure that absolutely nothing ruins the thrill of the National Fortnite Tournament. 

“As the exclusive connectivity provider, we have gone all out to ensure an amazing experience for gamers,” says Dillynn Els of Smart Technology Centre (STC), an internet service provider (ISP) and IT technology partner. “When it comes to gaming and the best experience possible, it’s all about ensuring we provide a dedicated, uncapped, unshaped connection that makes every second count.”

Keen players can come along and enter on the day, but don’t delay because space is limited.

Fortnite Inspired Dance Off

Visitors can come along and be entertained by the finalists in the Fortnite inspired dance-off. There will be daily dances to enjoy for the entire duration of the show.

Come and play – Cosplay, to be exact.

The stage is set for a celebration of creativity and imagination that is going to be literally out of this world. Super hero heavy weights and masters of the mysterious will be letting their creative vision loose and take part in various Cosplay Tournaments and a visually stunning Cosplay Masquerade. Come see what all the fuss is about and get lost in this world costumes, colour and creative talent.

Games, Games and Science

For those wanting to get their gaming on, there will be three free play areas sponsored by Xbox with a host of games available to play. Xbox will be giving away 3 Xbox 1’s and an awesome Xbox 1X, but you truly have to be in it to win it, so make sure you don’t miss out.

The Kalahari Scientist will be onstage delighting visitors with his explosive displays that are guaranteed to up the ooh and aah factor with audiences young and old.

But wait, there’s more

Along with the larger-than-life gaming entertainment offering, visitors will also get to be the first gamers on SA soil to get a sneak peak of PlayStation’s brand new Mortal Kombat 11. Don’t miss your chance to experience the continuation of this epic saga through a new cinematic story that is more than 25 years in the making. The iconic showcasing brutal battles like never before, along with a host of customisable fighters with enhanced graphics and animations.

Other activities at the Pavilion include VR Experiences, a full-on NAG Nerf Arena, Gaming vendors with awesome gaming content, retailers selling gaming related products and software, and tutorials and workshops on how to improve your gaming skills, Celebrity Fortnite match off for charity.

With huge sponsors such as PlayStation, Xbox, MMS, NAG, SABC 2 and Smart Technology, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion is geared up to become a hot zone of entertainment.

Win big

In case the entertainment offering just doesn’t get the heart beats racing fast enough, an all-expenses paid trip to TwitchCon USA, sponsored by PlayStation, in conjunction with 94.7 Highveld Stereo, is waiting for one lucky visitor to grab it. Every ticket purchased into the Entertainment Gaming Pavilion qualifies as an entry, so bring the whole family along for the ride.

Tickets to the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion can be purchased at the show for R 20 which gives the ticket holder access for  two hours.

The pavilion will be open from 14h00 to 19h00 weekdays and 10h00 to 19h00 on weekends from 19 to 28 April 2019.

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Riaad Moosa show debuts on Vodacom Video Play

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Riaad Moosa’s comedy special, Life Begins, will be the first major local title to be released on Vodacom’s video-on-demand service, Video Play.

As an award-winning comedian, actor, writer and presenter, Riaad Moosa is one of South Africa’s most renowned funny men. His one-man show is available for download on the platform from today, 26 April 2019. Life Begins is rated PG-16L

Vodacom’s says its affordable video-on-demand service, Video Play, has had an incredible uptake since its launch in August 2018, with over 2-million subscribers. 

“But with a proliferation of affordable video-on-demand platforms available to the South African market, what is it that gives Video Play the competitive edge?” it asked in a release this week. “Recognising the consumer’s need for flexibility and freedom of choice, Vodacom has ingeniously developed an adaptable subscription model that puts the power in consumers’ hands. Forget being tied down to a monthly subscription. Video Play gives consumers the liberty of choosing a daily, weekend or even monthly package. 

“Blockbuster movies can even be viewed for a once off cost, without subscription. Furthermore, these bundles can be purchased according to niche categories and genres, from Bollywood movies to gospel music.”

Consumers are able to pay for movies and series by using their airtime or adding it to their bill, eliminating the need for a credit card. Subscribers are also able to purchase video-specific data at a fraction of the regular price to consume constant content without overspending. Daily subscriptions start from R5 a day.

Zunaid Mahomed, Group Digital and Fixed Services Officer, says: “Video Play has enabled the company to provide a seamless and enjoyable customer experience. With the addition of Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins, we’re excited to offer consumers even more quality content and a wider variety of entertainment on demand than ever before. We’re putting quality entertainment, into the hands of anyone with a mobile device and an internet connection.”

Riaad Moosa describes his show as “very philosophical and existential”.

“It involves the normal issues of getting older while at the same time experiencing, at a maturity where I’m supposed to be wise, a world that is completely turned on its head.  It’s about how I negotiate all these things happening around me while trying to maintain a positive attitude. Through my comedic lens, I hope to put a different spin on that and hopefully I can enter my next 40 years with renewed vigour and excitement.”

To access Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins comedy special, register for Video via the Video Play website (www.videoplay.co.za).

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