Guest Blog: Bringing the VMware Cross-Cloud to Africa

January 23, 2017
Guest Blog: Bringing the VMware Cross-Cloud to Africa

As one of Africa’s biggest VMware partners, Node Africa is helping businesses across the continent on their digital transformation journey, using the full suite of VMware cloud solutions. As we enter 2017, we asked Node Africa’s CEO, Phares Kariuki, to share his thoughts on the opportunities for businesses and partners in Africa.

Businesses today are looking more carefully at what services exist across different clouds and how they can execute these while efficiently managing costs. The IT ecosystem in Kenya is a complex mixture of opportunities and challenges set against a backdrop of limited hardware and the need to balance workloads on increasingly lean budgets.

Many companies are exploring innovative ways to secure workloads for less, and testing processes and software before signing up to long term commitments with vendors. For example, an insurance company we work with recently put workloads on VMware’s Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) platform and benefits from infrastructure in a ‘try as you buy’ model. This enables the company to scale on demand, and the agility and cost savings incurred have made an impressive impact.

Having a consistent long term platform underpinning this, like VMware’s Cross-Cloud strategy, is incredibly valuable. This approach allows companies to take advantage of multi-cloud strategies which are transforming the flexibility available to many Kenyan businesses. VMware’s Cross-Cloud Architecture enables businesses to run, manage, connect, and secure applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment.

The primary benefit of a solution like network virtualization platform NSX in Kenya is that it doesn’t matter what hardware you have as all the intelligence is taken care of by the software. This gives businesses the flexibility to use hardware from different manufacturers, swap features in and out and offer better security with more granular policies.

But what are the opportunities this creates for partners?

Great chances exist for VMware partners to help customers understand the ins and outs of cross-cloud architecture and the associated management, policies, networking and security.  As part of this they can help customers work smart and make the most of whatever budget they have, be it working across multiple geographies or providing the best guidance when hardware choices are limited. It is partners who understand the delicate balance of the Kenyan and African business technology landscape that will be successful. Partners must also be aware that the value add for the customer lies in expertise in how to adopt SDDC and not infrastructure sales – so the opportunities are limitless.

Kenyan businesses realise the value of finding a partner that is as invested in their journey as they are, both in terms of infrastructure and getting the best from their cloud strategy. At Node Africa, we have a wealth of experience in running critical systems and creating bespoke cloud infrastructures.

My advice to others is to add value by helping companies implement the rich feature sets of platforms such as NSX. Many are still leaving these under used and I expect to see more demand for edge routing and closed data center networking policies in 2017 as more companies embrace flexible platform architectures in their journey towards digital transformation.

In Africa, money, agility and peace of mind will be at the top of the business agenda for next year in many companies – but finding a partner to help them realise the full potential of their IT budgets will be too.

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