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5 Myths of the Hybrid Cloud

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Cloud computing has been in the IT agenda for some years now, but with it evolving at such a fast pace, many are sceptical about taking the first step into the cloud. SERVAAS VENTER dispels five myths of the Hybrid Cloud.

Cloud computing has been on the IT agenda of most enterprises for the past few years.  However, as you might expect of an emerging technology, it’s evolving fast and, as a result, what some businesses might have understood about public, private and hybrid cloud may no longer be true. It’s clear organisations and IT departments are struggling to understand what a true hybrid cloud is so we’re debunking the top five myths:

Myth One: I have public cloud services. I have private cloud infrastructure. Therefore I have hybrid cloud…

Owning or investing in private and public infrastructures without having a joined-up plan can land you with the benefits of neither but the risks of both. For example, local or industry data protection regulations may require that data be encrypted according to certain protocols or stored within a specific geography. Additionally, the ‘agility’ benefits of public cloud may be negated by the costs required to migrate an app from a public cloud test environment to a private cloud ‘production’ environment.

Furthermore, a well-built hybrid cloud solution should be a blending of public and private cloud environments that share a common orchestration layer.  This means that data is managed and distributed in a way that optimises workloads, storage and network resources whilst, at the same time, limits organisational risk, increases productivity and delivers agility.  Simply deploying isolated public and private cloud solutions isn’t really the same thing.

In short, you must have a plan, and the proper tools in place, to ensure your private and public clouds can work together.

Myth Two: It’s impossible to have a secure public cloud

There’s a myth that only data within the corporate firewall is secure. False. Today, some public cloud service providers offer encryption and security that’s equal to, or might even exceed, that which you get in typical private cloud infrastructures.

Security in the public cloud is about more than encryption though. Shared resources, international hosting and access also have their parts to play.  What’s critical is that the right data is treated in the right way.  Certain types of data should always go to a private cloud, other data needs to go to very specific types of public cloud, and a third category of data can be stored more flexibly.

When partnering with public-cloud providers, business should be asking: “Am I covered by relevant data sovereignty regulation?”, “Who has access to my data?” And, “Can I move the data if I need to?”

Not all data is suitable for the public cloud and not all public clouds are created equal.  This, again, underscores the requirement for an intelligent orchestration layer and a clearly architected strategy to map data to the cloud. 

Myth Three: You can use the public cloud for everything, so who needs hybrid?

Let’s be clear: putting some data or workloads into public resources, unless they are very carefully controlled public resources, could land you in violation of local or industry specific data protection regulations, and at huge risk. The laws around this are different in every market and are constantly under review as a range of breaches, consumer rights issues and surveillance methods are constantly changing our perceptions on how data can best be protected.

Conversely, that doesn’t mean every bit of data has to reside in the private cloud; rather an intelligent approach is required to match data to the type of storage that best meets its needs.

The success of many of the world’s most innovative organisations is built upon well-designed hybrid clouds. Many of our favourite social networks, which juggle millions of users whilst delivering updates and new services, are utilizing hybrid cloud infrastructures.

Myth Four: You lose all control of data in the cloud:

Whilst adoption of cloud services continues to increase each year, concerns persist; fear of loss of control and lack of compliance from some of the largest providers outweighs the significant benefits that businesses could see.  In some cases, these concerns are well founded: some cloud players can make it hard to extract or migrate your data, deliberately or incidentally, by virtue of the mobility of the data or application in question.

Yet it’s possible to retain control in the cloud, as part of a properly orchestrated hybrid cloud environment. A well-run hybrid cloud has the ability to efficiently deliver resources, empowering IT to be a broker of cloud services, providing the control and visibility the IT department needs, and the on-demand self-service that developers and application users expect. Users can easily provision standardised services directly from an application marketplace portal, delivered from private and public clouds, set by the demands each workload requires, but built on policies set by IT.

Myth Five:  The hybrid cloud isn’t for my industry:

It’s easy to think that some industries deal exclusively in data that’s too sensitive to have anything stored in the public cloud – healthcare and finance spring to mind.  But, often, what we mean is that some industries will never be able to put all their information in the public cloud.  And these then become the sort of organisations that benefit most from a hybrid approach.

Sure, hospitals need to exercise the most extreme levels of caution with patient records, but what about catering information? What about data on their laundry?  How sensitive is the stationery order?  You don’t want to bear the increased costs of protecting non-sensitive data in state-of-the-art facilities.  This is where strategic planning of the hybrid cloud becomes so important.

Many enterprises have already embarked on a journey to the hybrid cloud. This will continue throughout 2015 as businesses look to the cloud for burst resources, data protection, archive, storage tiering and more.

This growth is being driven by factors including greater bandwidth, lower storage costs and enhanced security, combined with the need for greater scale. An increasing number of third-platform businesses like Netflix have become adopters of hybrid cloud, driven by the need to scale at a moment’s notice, but who also understand the growing complexities around securing data across international boundaries.

The competitive advantages in adopting a hybrid cloud strategy are hard to argue.  Forward looking enterprises that are able to see through the myths have the opportunity to completely transform the economics of IT service delivery… and their entire business in the process.

* Servaas Venter, Country Manager, EMC Southern Africa

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Tech promotes connections across groups in emerging markets

Digital technology users say they more regularly interact with people from diverse backgrounds

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Smartphone users – especially those who use social media – say they are more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with friends they don’t see in person, a Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 emerging economies finds.

South Africa, included in the study, has among the most consistent levels of connection across age groups and education levels and in terms of cross-cultural connections. This suggests both that smartphones have had a greater democratisation impact in South Africa, but also that the country is more geared to diversity than most others. Of 11 countries surveyed, it has the second-lowest spread between those using smartphones and those not using them in terms of exposure to other religious groups.

Across every country surveyed, those who use smartphones are more likely than those who use less sophisticated phones or no phones at all to regularly interact with people from different religious groups. In most countries, people with smartphones also tend to be more likely to interact regularly with people from different political parties, income levels and racial or ethnic backgrounds. 

The Center’s new report is the third in a series exploring digital connectivity among populations in emerging economies based on nationally representative surveys of adults in Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. Earlier reports examined attitudes toward misinformation and mobile technology’s social impact

The survey finds that smartphone and social media use are intertwined: A median of 91% of smartphone users in these countries also use social media or messaging apps, while a median of 81% of social media users say they own or share a smartphone. And, as with smartphone users, social media and messaging app users stand apart from non-users in how often they interact with people who are different from them. For example, 52% of Mexican social media users say they regularly interact with people of a different income level, compared with 28% of non-users. 

These results do not show with certainty that smartphones or social media are the cause of people feeling like they have more diverse networks. For example, those who have resources to buy and maintain a smartphone are likely to differ in many key ways from those who don’t, and it could be that some combination of those differences drives this phenomenon. Still, statistical modelling indicates that smartphone and social media use are independent predictors of greater social network diversity when other factors such as age, education and sex are held constant. 

Other key findings in the report include: 

  • Mobile phones and social media are broadening people’s social networks. More than half in most countries say they see in person only about half or fewer of the people they call or text. Mobile phones are also allowing many to stay in touch with people who live far away: A median of 93% of mobile phone users across the 11 countries surveyed say their phones have mostly helped them keep in touch with those who are far-flung. When it comes to social media, large shares report relationships with “friends” online who are distinct from those they see in person. A median of 46% of Facebook users across the 11 countries report seeing few or none of their Facebook friends in person regularly, compared with a median of 31% of Facebook users who often see most or all of their Facebook friends in person. 
  • Social activities and information seeking on subjects like health and education top the list of mobile activities. The survey asked mobile phone users about 10 different activities they might do on their mobile phones – activities that are social, information-seeking or commercial in nature. Among the most commonly reported activities are casual, social activities. For example, a median of 82% of mobile phone users in the 11 countries surveyed say they used their phone over the past year to send text messages and a median of 69% of users say they took pictures or videos. Many mobile phone users are also using their phones to find new information. For example, a median of 61% of mobile phone users say they used their phones over the past year to look up information about health and medicine for themselves or their families. This is more than the proportion that reports using their phones to get news and information about politics (median of 47%) or to look up information about government services (37%). Additionally, around half or more of mobile phone users in nearly all countries report having used their phones over the past 12 months to learn something important for work or school. 
  • Digital divides emerge in the new mobile-social environment. People with smartphones and social media – as well as younger people, those with higher levels of education, and men – are in some ways reaping more benefits than others, potentially contributing to digital divides. 
    • People with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices – even if the activity itself is quite simple. For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. Those who have smartphones are also much more likely to look up information for their households, including about health and government services. 
    •  There are also major differences in mobile usage by age and education level in how their devices are – or are not – broadening their horizons. Younger people are more likely to use their phones for nearly all activities asked about, whether those activities are social, information-seeking or commercial. Phone users with higher levels of education are also more likely to do most activities on their phones and to interact with those who are different from them regularly than those with lower levels of education. 
    •  Gender, too, plays a role in what people do with their devices and how they are exposed to different people and information. Men are more likely than women to say they encounter people who are different from them, whether in terms of race, politics, religion or income. And men tend to be more likely to look up information about government services and to obtain political news and information. 

These findings are drawn from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report. 

Read the full report at https://www.pewinternet.org/2019/08/22/in-emerging-economies-smartphone-and-social-media-users-have-broader-social-networks.

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Nokia to be first with Android 10

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Nokia is likely to be the first smartphone brand to roll out Android 10, after its manufacturer, HMD Global, announced that the Android 10 software upgrade would start in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Previously named Android Q, it was given the number after Google announced it was ditching sweet and dessert names due to confusion in different languages. Android 10 is due for release at the end of the year.

Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global said: “With a proven track record in delivering software updates fast, Nokia smartphones were the first whole portfolio to benefit from a 2-letter upgrade from Android Nougat to Android Oreo and then Android Pie. We were the fastest manufacturer to upgrade from Android Oreo to Android Pie across the range. 

“With today’s roll out plan we look set to do it even faster for Android Pie to Android 10 upgrades. We are the only manufacturer 100% committed to having the latest Android across the entire portfolio.”

HMD Global has given a guarantee that Nokia smartphone owners benefit from two years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates.

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