Cloud adoption has reached a new level in South Africa. The digital maturity of local organisations is significant, as revealed by a recent Dell Technologies survey.

There are also other signs, such as the local establishment of international data centres and the high rate of cloud adoption among South African enterprises, expected to reach R32 billion in 2019 – an increase of 11.4% since 2018. The many benefits of cloud are coming into fruition. But this new landscape also brings new challenges with it says Greg McDonald, Director of Sales Engineering at Dell Technologies South Africa.

“Our customers have grabbed the cloud reins and are now expanding to multi-cloud choices. There are two types of workloads – existing and cloud-native – and the challenge is to find homes for either to do their thing. Hybrid cloud architecture can host both types of workloads, then pursue moving away from existing workloads and into the new school of cloud-native workloads.”

There are five types of cloud models:

  • Private Cloud – an in-house cloud environment designed specifically for that organisation.
  • Public Cloud – third-party cloud providers where organisations access services and products.
  • Hybrid Cloud – a mixture of public and private cloud environments.
  • Edge Cloud – cloud instances at the periphery of cloud environments that handle specific requirements with less latency.
  • Multi-Cloud – a mixture of several public cloud providers with room for private cloud environments.

Most organisations will use more than two cloud platforms, hence why multi-cloud is the leading trend in the industry. Why would they do this? For cost and efficiency: different clouds offer different services and pricing models.

Some have greater security, some are very flexible to manage different workloads and some have a location advantage. Providers can range from massive hyperscale environments to specialist VMWare landing zones. The value an organisation gets from cloud depends on how able it is at shifting workloads, data and applications will determine.

Back in charge of the cloud

But operating multiple clouds is a complex challenge. Dell Technologies proposes using a platform that provides consistent infrastructure and operations experiences across all types of clouds:

“Multi-cloud doesn’t have to be complex. The right platform can integrate all the different components and give a clear view of cloud operation. These can then be scheduled, automated and analysed in real-time. Companies can extend their hybrid cloud systems interfaces easily and get rid of the management complexity.”

Dell Technologies and VMWare have created such a platform. Most of the heavy lifting to get the platform ready is done at Dell Technologies. This pre-built system only needs power and a network connection. It can be up and running within a few hours with minimal fuss. 4,200 global service providers add to the picture, including hyperscalers such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, as well as smaller local ISPs where VMware landing zones are available.

A one-stop multi- and hybrid-cloud management solution? That sounds too good to be true – and in most cases, it would be. But Dell Technologies has spent significant R&D resources to build the best balance between hardware, software, services and deployment.

This approach is enhanced by other cloud-management services developed by Dell Technologies. “Poor management of multi-cloud risks depleting all the value expected from the cloud,” said McDonald. “This is one area where companies can’t waste a lot of time and resources getting their act together. They need to get down to business, so the growing challenge for technology providers is how can we make cloud management as seamless and intuitive as possible?

“I believe we have the answer, through our management platform and services, through our extensive R&D and by collaborating with our partners. This in turn, increases business agility, accelerates time-to-market, and improves cloud economics and reduces business risk.”

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