Africa has long been considered as a destination for investment and growth. The developing economies across the continent offer significant opportunities for those seeking potential beyond European and Asian markets. Claude Schuck, regional manager for Africa at Veeam, takes a look at the role data availability will play in this regard.
“According to the 2016 Veeam Availability Report, application downtime costs companies more than $16-million annually. Part of this availability challenge revolves around maintaining legacy systems. Given how many companies in Africa still rely on these more traditional IT systems, things need to change if the continent is to live up to its reputation as a platform for growth.”
Schuck believes that business in Africa needs to transform and invest in modern data centres. A component of this investment entails getting a virtualised platform in place, using more modern storage systems, and being able to access hosted and cloud services. These elements are essential to minimise the impact that downtime can have on an organisation.
“Of course, the temptation is to simply rush in and join the hype around cloud computing. But it is not something you buy. Instead, the cloud (and all things virtualised) is something you do. African companies need to invest in having the ability to consume hosted services. In the always-on world, customers’ expectations have been raised and as such they have become more impatient when things don’t work. Downtime is simply not an option anymore, and virtualisation offers one way of addressing those concerns,” he says.
The move to virtualisation is an important one to not only minimise this downtime but also to remain relevant in an increasingly connected society, he adds. For Schuck, it is very much a case of companies needing to remain competitive by becoming always-on.
“Today’s business environment is non-stop. Every company has software and applications with users accessing information from a variety of devices. It becomes vital to maintain access 24/7 to the data at the back-end and ensure those devices are connected to the hosted environment.”
There also needs to be a change from how businesses on the continent view technology. Decision-makers need to take a mental step forward to move IT away from being a cost centre and just keeping the lights on to one that drives innovation and revenue opportunities as a value centre.
“In Africa, connectivity is becoming increasingly affordable to businesses of all sizes. This has resulted in a shift in how companies view their data availability options. No longer restricted to just being on-site, cloud and virtualisation technologies are giving companies on the continent viable options to remain always-on. In a world where businesses are judged by their ability to keep their data available and their websites always online, no business can afford not to embrace this new era of always-on,” he concludes.