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Vodacom floats into the clouds



Vodacom has recently announced its ‘Vodacom Office in the Cloud.’ A solution which it says uses virtualisation technology to bring enterprise IT services to businesses both big and small.

Vodacom has announced its complete managed office solution for business ‚ Vodacom Office in the Cloud – that uses virtualisation technology and hosted applications, to bring enterprise class IT services to businesses from small to large.

‚We are taking the concept of Cloud computing and offering it in a turnkey solution that fits any business, regardless of size,‚ says Chris Ross, Managing Executive Commercial, Vodacom Group ‚From start-up to established business, the customer can decide how many workstations are required, with which applications, and pay only for what he uses.‚

The Vodacom Office in the Cloud solution consists of:

· A thin client terminal

· A flat screen monitor, keyboard & mouse

· A Cisco VoIP enabled phone handset

· An HP Picture 6 or HP Laserjet M1536 MFP Mono Printer

· Access to the applications portal comprising of a wide choice of business applications

Vodacom Office in the Cloud is a complete managed office solution which enables you to simply rent everything you need for a modern office with lower costs, less problems and more time for your core business. The solution is primarily intended to support businesses by providing them with enterprise-class IT services that would otherwise not be available to them because of high costs (e.g. high availability using redundant equipment, high performance, advanced security).

Legacy desktop environments can easily be replaced with Vodacom Office in the Cloud. ‚According to some studies,‚ says Ross, ‚Personal Computers lose roughly 50% in value annually, apart from being difficult to install or upgrade, and the compatibility issues which arise with new software releases. Vodacom will offer software from the cloud and will be able to extend the life of the desktop to an estimated 12 years. Customers can select software from a web based portal which will automatically be provisioned pending the customer’s internal approval process.‚

Vodacom Business Services selected NIL Data Communications Ltd as a partner in the delivery of this unique cloud solution. NIL is a 22 year old global technology company and has successfully been providing cloud services and data networking solutions within Europe for the past 3 years.

‚Teaming up with Vodacom Business Services to address Cloud opportunities in Africa was the right strategic move for us at NIL, having offered extensive cloud services within Europe, we were able to accelerate their time to market,‚ Martin Camp, NIL Regional Director, Africa.

Customers who order these services will pay a fixed predefined monthly fee per user (workplace) with helpdesk support, monitoring and reporting included.

Ross says NIL was a logical choice as a partner as not only does their cloud solution allow Vodacom to deliver an affordable and efficient cloud solution over their infrastructure immediately, but provides a flexible and scalable portal to deliver a ‚choose and click’ suite of popular office and business applications. ‚Also, NIL has a strong relationship with Cisco, as does Vodacom, and together this enables our infrastructure to leverage next generation Cisco technology, both in the core switching, security and routing environment as well as the UCS (Unified Computing System) server blade infrastructure,‚ he says

‚Vodacom has a long established strategic business partnership with Cisco in South Africa. We are very excited about the many advantages that the three-way collaboration between Vodacom, NIL Data Communications and Cisco will bring to customers in terms of an innovative service within our joint markets. We believe that as well as offering the best-in-breed technology, it is also critical to have the correct business and go-to-market model in place for Cloud Services. Vodacom provides real added value with this operational expenditure (OPEX) and consumption based model,‚ says David Meads, Managing Director, Cisco South Africa.

Prices start at R600 per user per month, and depend on the applications chosen from the application portal where customers have a choice of Windows XP or Windows 7 operating systems. Customers with an existing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement with software assurance will not be required to pay Vodacom for their operating system.

‚Installation and set-up will be done through our outsourced partners,‚ says Vester, ‚and adding an additional workstation in the future will be as simple as a call to your provider. Any changes to the applications on specific workstations are really simple through the online Dashboard available 24×7 to the customer.‚ he concludes.


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