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Cloud hampered by control

The current cloud adoption is being hampered by a desire for control and a sub-par technology platform design, writes ANDREW CRUISE, MD, Routed, a neutral cloud infrastructure provider.

The current cloud disconnect within the enterprise is temporary. While it is understandable to be skeptical about cloud solutions, the challenge is not only education, but an innate understanding that physical control of the cloud solution is not necessary. I believe that once it is fully understood, cloud adoption will increase and self-service management will be more readily accepted.

Not having direct control is a real issue for organisations and the hyperscale providers such as Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google etc. are exacerbating the feeling. These companies have commoditised compute and storage, while at the same time distancing themselves from personal contact with their customers.

Managed service providers (MSP) are also feeling the disconnection, especially with the legacy of “doing it themselves” rather than relying on third party providers, combined with the personal feeling of responsibility they have with multiple customers. Those in the channel must build closer relationships with partners to provide reassurance. MSPs have the technology to make cloud a reality, they just need to engage with the correct channel partners and develop a new process for cloud.

A fundamental for any cloud solution is reliable and cost efficient Internet connectivity. Significant improvements have been made, with South Africa finally having connectivity options. Locally, we have seen fibre rollout in metro areas that has increased the speed and reliability of Internet and data centre connectivity. This has, at the same time, brought much needed competition and reduced price. We believe the tipping point has been reached and it is now not a question of “if” but “when” enterprises will move business critical internal workloads to the cloud.

Admittedly, there is a lack of skill in this sector and it has led to very few new entrants into the space, as well as the prevalence of poor performing cloud platforms. As a result, cost cutting and misguided investments have impacted the success of local cloud platforms. This led to the launch and development of the Routed platform, which is a high performance, alternative cloud solution.

It is important to remember that cloud migration should never be done solely based on cost. Choosing to move some, or all workloads to the cloud is a strategic decision based more on operational risk and effectiveness. What initially increased cloud costs was the expense of quality Internet, but this has been eroded, exposing the level of skill and quality of the cloud service.

This cost reduction has encouraged a vanguard of enterprises who have already adopted cloud for low risk services: test and development, low priority workloads and disaster recovery. Having gained enough confidence in the service provider’s ability to deliver enterprise level service and support, these enterprises have started moving primary, critical internal workloads into the cloud. Conversely, those lagging behind in cloud adoption are all showing interest in migrating low risk workloads into the cloud.

South Africa has passed both the initial hype and the subsequent trough of disillusionment. While lack of direct control and weak platform design has impacted it, cloud is now being discussed not as a general panacea, but more in specific terms, targeting different clouds for different requirements. Enterprise cloud products and services such as Office365 and Salesforce.com are now being distinguished from consumer cloud technologies like iCloud, OneDrive and DropBox. At the same time, bleeding edge providers are having to provide a service proximal to, or better than, what can be delivered onsite to live up to the promise of enterprise level performance and availability at pay-per-use pricing.

Enterprises are becoming pickier, asking the right questions and being more specific about their requirements and their expectations. The development of cloud locally can only grow and improve as the market adjusts to the rising demand of the cloud and enterprises become more comfortable with less control and the concept of self-service management.

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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

Leader in cloud-data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

In South Africa, Veeam expects similar growth. Speaking at the Cisco Connect conference in Sun City this week, country manager Kate Mollett told Gadget’s BRYAN TURNER that the company was doing exceptionally well in this market.

“In financial year 2018, we saw double-digit growth, which was really very encouraging if you consider the state of the economy, and not so much customer sentiment, but customers have been more cautious with how they spend their money. We’ve seen a fluctuation in the currency, so we see customers pausing with big decisions and hoping for a recovery in the Rand-Dollar. But despite all of the negatives, we have double digit growth which is really good. We continue to grow our team and hire.

“From a Veeam perspective, last year we were responsible for Veeam Africa South, which consisted of South Africa, SADC countries, and the Indian Ocean Islands. We’ve now been given the responsibility for the whole of Africa. This is really fantastic because we are now able to drive a single strategy for Africa from South Africa.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ funded

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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