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Next big things for big business in 2018

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We are constantly seeing rapid changes in the IT industry but what does next year hold in store for us? THOMAS DI GIACOMO, CTO at SUSE outlines a few developments bound to make headlines.

There are some big things set to come in 2018. In fact, we are seeing numerous significant developments in the world of enterprise IT. These include the emergence of the container infrastructure ecosystem, a continued move to hybrid cloud and the growth in software-defined infrastructure and storage. So, what is to come over the next twelve months and how should IT teams be preparing for any incoming changes?

Maturation of hybrid cloud strategies

There’s a chance that within the coming years the public cloud landscape will diversify. Consulting organisations are developing their own managed cloud services for example, some local public cloud players are becoming more global as well, so we’re seeing more and more cloud providers emerge. Of course, going entirely public cloud poses a risk for lock-in and, as a result, organisations are looking to a hybrid approach. If you do all your compute and have all your data in the same public cloud than you are likely to be locked in, but you avoid this by looking at a hybrid/multi cloud strategy. Consequently, we will see many more organisations subscribing to a hybrid cloud approach.

Hybrid cloud is a reality that enterprise IT must face, not only enabling different clouds to run together but also to maintain and manage them for a long time. Having workloads and data running and being stored agnostically on any type of cloud is definitely key. There are more solutions emerging in this space and this growth in competition may put pressure on their price – for non-open source solutions, that is.

Container ecosystem expansion, and consolidation?

Kubernetes, an open-source orchestration engine, exploded onto the scene two years ago as a way to automate deployment, scale, and manage containerised applications. It has already won the war for container orchestration dominance, and experts predict further rapid adoption over the next few years as organisations realise its full potential.

The next step for the technology is around container eco-system at large. That’s to say security for containers, service meshing and management, networking, management, and storage is the next thing for Kubernetes and the container world to tackle. We are already starting to see all of that happening, and this is set to be a big focus for the next year. As adoption and maturity develop, one of the questions is also if we will see a consolidation of Kubernetes-based solutions and companies in the market already from next year or slightly later.

Hardware – the new software

For some time now, software has been the main topic of discussion when it comes to giving organisations a competitive advantage through technology. However, it’s important we don’t forget about hardware, which is now more important than ever before.

We’re seeing trends emerge such as open hardware, with compute power not only for traditional high-performance computing (HPC) use cases but also some of the new trends we are seeing around machine learning, deep learning and quantum computing, with specialised processing units being used to optimise specific types of computations. This is set to be even more important in the coming years, with the quantum computing market alone set to be worth almost $500 million by 2023.

Being open about being open

The next year will be about figuring out how to combine various emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). Yet, it’s not just about combining these together, but also learning how to integrate emerging technology with existing infrastructure. The combination of big data and existing analytics with AI is one good example of technologies that can be combined with each other to work effectively, so it’s important that we find ways to combine and manage them together.

From an open source perspective, if we’re ever going to achieve success with combining the stack, organisations need to be opening up and working with competitors for the best chance of success. The number of combinations is huge and getting even larger, so it’s more important than ever to be open.

Since the beginning of Linux 26 years ago, we’ve seen enterprise Linux expanded and fragmented with lots of solutions, then consolidated. In the coming year and beyond, it’s vital that the industry continues to make the most of the open source community and use the resources available rather than take a ‘DIY’ approach. IT leaders need to look to the open source community for growing technologies like Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and containerisation, focusing on the business value of the technology itself as opposed to building anything from scratch.

In 2018, we’re set to see the maturation of various technologies, from containers and hybrid cloud to AI. Most importantly, these technologies need to be able to work collaboratively – with each other and with existing infrastructure – if we’re to see them deployed successfully and provide real business value to organisations in the coming months and years.

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Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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