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Hardware to drive SA’s IT spend

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ICT spending in 2016 will largely be driving by software, IT services and mobile devices. In South Africa though, hardware infrastructure will also be a big driver as a result of current market expansion.

ICT spending in 2016 will largely be driven by investments in software, IT services and mobile devices. In South Africa specifically, overall hardware infrastructure will also be a big driver as a result of current market expansion. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), line of business or decision-makers from departments other than IT will rise to become major influencers of IT spending, making the CIOs role even more complex and demanding.

Over the years, data centres, in particular, have undergone a strategic transformation to become an IT and business enabler rather than a mere business support function. IDC expects that by 2017 and beyond the conversations will move solely to the cloud with all data centre infrastructure spend utilised towards the creation, adoption and optimisation of 3rd platform technologies. Metering and chargeback will become mainstream in the move to create hybrid cloud environments.

Until last year, the infrastructure conversations were still skewed towards servers, storage and networking investments. While there was some overlap between these technology purchases, the majority of purchases were still made in silos on an ad-hoc and needs-base.

Yonela Nkinti, Senior Research Analyst Enterprise Systems, at IDC says: “Our latest research showed a lot of standardisation, consolidation and server virtualisation as enterprises began to understand the need to simplify infrastructure.”

The market has also matured to a stage where the conversations have clearly shifted to virtualised, converged and software-defined infrastructures. “Based on our CIO surveys and industry insights it is evident that enterprises are moving to an automated management phase within their infrastructure, introducing automation and orchestration within their environments,” she says.

Virtualisation

IDC says the percentage of virtualised servers in South Africa will grow 50% by 2018, while servers’ shipments will increase by 3% in the same period. This indicates much faster growth in virtualisation and, as a result, virtualised server environments may reach saturation.

Virtualisation reaching saturation may become a cost saving item due to management complexity. Once the market is saturated, the only way to continue to realise cost savings will be to move to Private/Hybrid cloud solutions or to extend virtualisation capabilities to client and storage infrastructure.

“Software-defined infrastructure may result in as much as six times the cost-savings of pure server virtualisation. This includes the virtualisation of servers, storage, desktops and networking, all underlined by a software management layer which manages all operations,” says Nkinti.

According to IDC’s South Africa CIO survey, 16% of CIOs have already implemented Software-defined Networks, while 38% are planning to implement it before the end of 2017. As for client (desktop) virtualisation, 27% of companies are planning to implement it before the end of 2017.

She adds that many end users were planning to standardise on integrated systems. “We anticipate that, in North Africa and Europe, as much as 50% of all computing, storage or network resources and workloads will run on converged systems by the end of this year. While this hasn’t been the case for South Africa so far, there are indications that a lot of data centres in the region may standardise on converged systems, considering there aren’t too many legacy systems to overcome.”

Agility, productivity, flexibility, and cost saving requirements will largely drive the adoption of converged systems within META. In South Africa, from a vertical perspective, the banking industry will be the main adopters.

“In Africa, the adoption will be higher due to lack of legacy systems and an inherent skills shortage. Organisations in the region will also leverage converged systems to leapfrog older IT setups,” says Nkinti.  “The rising adoption of converged systems will set the base for software-defined environments moving forward and blades will outgrow other form factors as a result of the fast adoption of integrated systems. These technology changes will continue to drive the evolution of data centres if they are to remain relevant.”

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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