There are specific benefits associated with virtualisation, cloud computing and web-services in business. Experts in the field of IT solution development, integration and application believe that there is now greater awareness of the realities of acquiring and utilising these services - and that, ultimately, success is dependent on connectivity.
In an overview of the current market, Bradley Love, MD of Network Platforms, a South African provider of IT solutions, says that whilst the term "cloud? has emerged as a buzzword and there is more emphasis from software providers on hosted cloud services, connectivity plays a substantial role in cloud solutions.
"One of the fundamental aspects affecting Cloud services is connectivity and the recent price decrease and improvements is speeds have contributed to companies moving to or considering Cloud services,' Love explains.
Love says there is a growing awareness of what virtualisation, cloud computing and web-services mean for the market. It is all about positioning services and technology to differentiate the business.
"The impacts of cloud computing include quick deployment, cost savings, better infrastructure and scalability,' he continues.
Network Platforms suggests that email, file storage, off-site backups, disaster recovery, PBX, HR, CRM and accounting applications can be deployed quickly because there is no need to procure and setup the server infrastructure required to host these applications.
"Traditionally the server infrastructure that is procured to host internal infrastructure needs to be replaced every five years so this element is eliminated. The other cost saving is there is no need to employ the services of a company to manage the server infrastructure,' adds Love.
In order to meet market demands and adapt to pressures on the system, companies are looking to invest in access to hardware infrastructure that would previously have been difficult or costly to implement.
"The hardware that hosts the applications within the datacentres generally has a lot of redundancies and infrastructure that would not make business sense to implement from a cost perspective - like generators, security, fire suppression, cooling, multiple servers for failover, multiple switches, multiple storage platforms and in some cases multiple data centres and very good connectivity. Furthermore, if there is a requirement for additional hardware - due to growth, for example, if more memory, processors or disk space is required this can be allocated quickly,' Love continues.
But before decision makers decide to branch into cloud service, management at Network Platforms suggest they review what connectivity is available from locations that need to access the cloud services, as well as cost implications, amongst other considerations.
Love adds that it is important to confirm what hardware infrastructure the services will be hosted on in order to understand the redundancies and what backup procedures are in place.
With regard to the further rollout of web-services to compliment cloud uptake and delivery, Love suggests that trust required by client to handing over their infrastructure to be hosted is one challenge and connectivity another.
Despite the challenges, Love is confident of the growth opportunity that resides in these technologies and application across Africa.
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