Kathy Gibson reports from Huawei Eco-Connect in Sandton – T-Systems and Huawei are partnering to offer public cloud infrastructure and services in South Africa, with SAP as one of the core offerings.

The agreement was signed this morning by T-Systems CEO Gert Schoonbee and Huawei Enterprise MD Alex Du.
The Open Telecom Cloud will go live in the third quarter of this year.

“This is a key partnership between T-Systems and Huawei,” says Edwin Diender, vice-president: government and public sector utilities at Huawei. “It allows South Africa to move up the cloud value chain.”

Schoonbee says that T-Systems has provided outsourcing services to enterprises in South Africa for the last 20 years, and some cloud services for the last 10 years.

“We have seen there is a gap and an opportunity in South Africa to provide a hyperscale cloud solution that is based in South Africa and is not just an instance of what is happening globally,” he says.

“We looked at our mother company Deutsche Telekom in Germany, and we looked at China – and decided to become part of the Open Telecom Cloud partnership that the two companies have globally.”

Being part of the global partnership means that T-Systems will be able to take advantage of developments around the world, and implement them locally.

“As things are developed in China and Germany, we will get the benefit of that,” Schoonbee says.
Open Telecom Cloud will provide IaaS, PaaS, and also software as a service, with SAP the core application that will be offered.

“We also want to keep jobs in the country,” Schoonbee says. “Every time you use a global cloud some money leaves the country, and some jobs leave the country. With the Open Telecom Cloud we not only keep data in South Africa, but also create an environment for partners to build additional capabilities in future.”

Schoonbee says the Open Telecom Cloud will be run out of T-Systems’ data centre in Johannesburg. Two alternatives are also under consideration as secondary data centres.

“This instance of the Open Telecom Cloud will run in South Africa., so data will not leave the borders of the country,” he adds. “This is quite important in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI), which all organisations will have to comply with in future.

“We will provide an alternative solution for existing and new customers to give them access to a big pubic cloud solution that is evolving.”

The new service will go live in the fourth quarter of 2017, but Schoonbee says T-Systems is already talking to customers about their current cloud needs.

He declines to disclose the investment that T-Systems is making in the Open Telecom Cloud.

“In this new world of partnering, we have gone for a revenue sharing model. That is quite unique for us, and is partnering on a different level.

“We are trying to leverage what has been invested already in Germany and in China, which has minimised our actual investment costs.

“So it’s an innovative model.”

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