Friday, 1 October 2010

Clouded in Mystery

Cloud computing is changing the way we do business but as Zachary Ochieng finds out, it is the first baptism of fire for a number of CIOs.

The transition from the mainframe to the client-server in the early 1980s has heralded a paradigm shift to Cloud computing, an Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand. While the Cloud computing arena still presents challenges to a number of CIOs, its benefits cannot be gainsaid. For one, Cloud computing users avoid capital expenditure (CapEx) on hardware, software and services when they pay a provider only for what they use.

Delano Kiilu Longwe is the Business Manager, Data Centre and Application Infrastructure at Seven Seas Technologies (SST), a leading provider of integrated business and technology solutions across Africa in the Financial, Telecom, Real Estate, Service Industries and Government. Says he: "Cloud computing is a journey. It is not a destination. At SST we think every organisation will be able to leapfrog a lot of those steps by having the right people they are talking to or simply using the right cloud services."

According to Longwe, with Cloud computing, businesses stand to benefit because they no longer have to spend CapEx on technology in order to gain a competitive advantage.

"It is the technology that gives you a competitive advantage. There is a journey to public cloud in East Africa. It means that an organisation which already has a huge compute, storage and software platform, can decide to provide access to external users to leverage off those facilities at a cost. This will become very easy with the current bandwidth we have in Kenya", says Longwe.

The upshot is that initially large and mid enterprise organisations will benefit because they no longer need to invest CapEx in order to have a business advantage in the market. Such organisations will be able to use their operational expenditure ( OpEx) and leverage off the latest in technology and go to the market and immediately have a competitive advantage within the market by use of technology.

According to Collin Mamdoo, Chief Operations Officer, Internet Solutions, the leading converged communications provider, Cloud computing allows businesses to grow and become agile as staff and other costs are reduced.

"The other advantage offered by Cloud computing is space reduction. If you have multiple servers, they consume a lot of electricity. But moving them to a virtualised environment results into cost reduction", says Mamdoo.

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