Although disruptive technologies like cloud and mobile are driving transformation, they are putting CIOs under pressure to deliver a good combination of business value and competitive edge in the ever changing IT environment, says ANURAG AREN.
The latest disruptive technologies such as the cloud, social media, mobility and more are driving digital transformation, creating new and innovative ways of doing business. However, this prevailing trend, while it has the potential to be enormously beneficial, is putting increasing pressure on CIOs to deliver the right combination of business value and competitive edge in an ever-changing technology environment. In addition, customers increasingly expect a seamless, intuitive IT experience, which CIOs must then deliver. The data centre, as the heart of the modern organisation, needs to adapt in order to enable the delivery of agile, flexible services required for a customer-centric enterprise. The Boundary-less Data Centre (BLDC) has thus emerged as the catalyst for this change, driving a new model of ‘workload centric’ IT services that empowers the customer to sense and respond as per value and cost effective services to the business.
Current IT and data centre challenges
One of the most significant challenges today is that the data centre is not optimised, nor is it aligned with business strategy, requirements and outcomes. Organisations are constrained by legacy IT environments, operational issues, lack of appropriate IT compute resources, obsolete technology and more. The current IT landscape is not agile enough to enable faster time to market of new products and expedite release of applications, which reduces competitive advantage. Turnaround time on new releases is slow and the cost is prohibitive if the same hardware and software is used as it has been utilised in the past. Organisations are challenged with the need to reduce costs and cycle times while focusing on the end user experience, becoming predictive in their approach to business, and learning to become workload-centric.
The BLDC is the solution to these challenges, offering a software-defined data centre architecture that is responsive to business outcomes. It serves as underlying enabling technology to allow organisations to become more agile and cater to customer requirements. IT resources including networking, storage and compute can be commissioned in an instant through a self-service portal. Importantly, these resources can be decommissioned as necessary, allowing the organisation to only pay for what they use, when they use it. Utilising a BLDC, organisations are able to seamlessly deliver workloads using a combination of resources from a hybrid cloud-based environment. In addition, the BLDC is hyper-resilient for maximum uptime, and as a software-defined approach is at the core of the offering, it creates a cloud-ready architecture that enables organisations to embrace next-generation technologies such as social, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The advantages of the BLDC
Since a BLDC can be delivered in a variety of different models, including outsourced, in-house or a hybrid Data centres, a key advantage of a BLDC is that the business is not locked into a particular technology or vendor platform. In addition, organisations can leverage significant performance improvements and cost savings. Organisations can be competitive with hardware costs decreased between 30 to 70%, and software licences can be reduced by between 20 to 50%).
In addition, the BLDC facilitates improved alignment between business and IT, as well as pooling of resources for the seamless consumption of IT as well as reduced total cost of ownership. The end user experience is optimised, and the resources consumed by IT can be scaled up and down according to requirements. In addition, agility is improved for faster go to market as well as enhanced automation and automatic scaling of infrastructure to meet demand. This BLDC approach is coupled with role based security and Policy based governance.
These benefits enable organisations to become more flexible, more agile and ultimately more competitive. Costs are automatically reduced by virtue of ensuring optimal technology utilisation, and IT infrastructure is future-proofed. In addition, organisations can quickly launch applications, enhance the end user experience, and expand vertically and horizontally into existing markets with delta incremental cost compared to doing so utilising legacy infrastructure.
The journey toward BLDC
Many organisations have already begun to work towards embracing digitisation and cloud-based technologies, however, this often proves to be a ‘hit and miss’ learning curve as they work towards the desired outcome. Every CIO knows that cloud is successful but is worried about how to get there with minimal risk and assured outcomes. Partnering with an expert service provider can help organisations to reduce the time this process takes, assisting organisations to become more agile sooner, remain competitive and meet changing customer demand.
* Anurag Aren, Head of Global Infrastructure Services at Wipro.
Rain, Telkom Mobile, lead in affordable data
A new report by the telecoms regulator in South Africa reveal the true consumer champions in mobile data costs
The latest bi-annual tariff analysis report produced by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) reveals that Telkom Mobile data costs for bundles are two-thirds lower than those of Vodacom and MTN. On the other hand, Rain is half the price again of Telkom.
The report focuses on the 163 tariff notifications lodged with ICASA during the period 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018.
“It seeks to ensure that there is retail price transparency within the electronic communications sector, the purpose of which is to enable consumers to make an informed choice, in terms of tariff plan preferences and/or preferred service providers based on their different offerings,” said Icasa.
ICASA says it observed the competitiveness between licensees in terms of the number of promotions that were on offer in the market, with 31 promotions launched during the period.
The report shows that MTN and Vodacom charge the same prices for a 1GB and a 3GB data bundle at R149 and R299 respectively. On the other hand, Telkom Mobile charges (for similar-sized data bundles) R100 (1GB) and R201 (3GB). Cell C discontinued its 1GB bundle, which was replaced with a 1.5GB bundle offered at the same price as the replaced 1GB data bundle at R149.
Rain’s “One Plan Package” prepaid mobile data offering of R50 for a 1GB bundle remains the most affordable when compared to the offers from other MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators).
“This development should have a positive impact on customers’ pockets as they are paying less compared to similar data bundles and increases choice,” said Icasa.
The report also revealed that the cost of out-of-bundle data had halved at both MTN and Vodacom, from 99c per Megabyte a year ago to 49c per Megabyte in the first quarter of this year. This was still two thirds more expensive than Telkom Mobile, which has charged 29c per Megabyte throughout this period (see graph below).
Meanwhile, from having positioned itself as consumer champion in recent years, Cell C has fallen on hard times, image-wise: it is by far the most expensive mobile network for out-of-bundle data, at R1.10 per Megabyte. Its prices have not budged in the past year.
The report highlights the disparities between the haves and have-nots in the dramatically plummeting cost of data per Megabyte as one buys bigger and bigger bundles on a 30-day basis (see graph below).
For 20 Gigabyte bundles, all mobile operators are in effect charging 4c per Megabyte. Only at that level do costs come in at under Rain’s standard tariffs regardless of use.
Qualcomm wins 5G as Apple and Intel cave in
A flurry of announcements from three major tech players ushered in a new mobile chip landscape, wrItes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
Last week’s shock announcement by Intel that it was canning its 5G modem business leaves the American market wide open to Qualcomm, in the wake of the latter winning a bruising patent war with Apple.
Intel Corporation announced its intention to “exit the 5G smartphone modem business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices”.
Intel said it would also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business, sharpening its focus on a market expected to be dominated by Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson.
Intel said it would continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but did not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020. In other words, it would no longer be supplying chips for iPhones and iPads in competition with Qualcomm.
“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realise the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”
The news came immediately after Qualcomm and Apple issued a joint announced of an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm, along with a six-year license agreement, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.
Apple had previously accused Qualcomm of abusing its dominant position in modem chips for smartphones and charging excessive license fees. It ordered its contract manufacturers, first, to stop paying Qualcomm for the chips, and then to stop using the chips altogether, turning instead to Intel.
With Apple paying up and Intel pulling out, Qualcomm is suddenly in the pound seats. It shares hit their highest levels in five years after the announcements.
Qualcomm said in a statement: “As we lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT — including smart cities, smart homes, and wearables. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio.”
Meanwhile, Strategy Analytics released a report on the same day that showed Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia will lead the market in core 5G infrastructure, namely Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment, by 2023 as the 5G market takes off. Huawei is expected to have the edge as a result of the vast scale of the early 5G market in China and its long term steady investment in R&D. According to a report entitled “Comparison and 2023 5G Global Market Potential for leading 5G RAN Vendors – Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia”, two outliers, Samsung and ZTE, are expected to expand their global presence alongside emerging vendors as competition heats up.