Q&A: Is cloud computing confusing CIOs?

IBM has opened new facilities, an IBM Cloud Data Centre and Cloud lab this week, to extend the company’s cloud delivery capabilities and to meet market demand in sub-Saharan Africa.

Werner Lindemann, IBM sub-Saharan Africa VP for Global Technology Services (image source: file photo)

IBM has deployed Cloud Data Centres in Singapore, Germany, Canada, the US and Johannesburg, South Africa.

In Africa, IBM currently operates in 20 countries, with services being the company’s biggest growth area.

Werner Lindemann, IBM sub-Saharan Africa VP for Global Technology Services took time off during the official launch of the company’s hybrid private cloud solution to speak to ITNewsAfrica regarding IBM’s cloud computing plans in Africa.

Why do African CIOs fear getting into cloud computing?

IBM has also conducted a survey across the African continent for CIOs. About 67% of CIOs are currently looking at how they could bring cloud or are investigating how cloud can be applicable for the business environment.

During most IBM business proposals, most CIOs ask: “ What is the cloud angle to this?”

The most prevalent deployment of cloud on the African continent for now has been private cloud and probably the biggest challenge we have to overcome is around skills in the market as well as bandwidth costs.

Is cloud computing really new?

Cloud computing is not new. The basic fundamentals of cloud computing is still technology. There are only two things that are new about cloud computing, it is the fully-fledged automation – the ability to do self-service on the Internet and the delivery model.

How will cloud computing affect current IT departments?

If a company does an IT project, they need to buy two portions of equipment – one is test and development and the other is production.  If you get as a service, a test and development environment from a cloud provider, you would save about 80% of the cost of setting up.  You can procure from a cloud service for 6 months, instead of buying it, owning it and writing it off over 3 years.

Does IBM offer a comprehensive cloud service?

Companies need to ask the hard questions from their IT vendors.

– Are you really providing a cloud end-to-end solution as a provider or are you just doing hosting services?

There are a lot of companies out there that are doing hosting services and proclaim that they’re doing cloud computing.

– Can you do self-service for me? If I want additional technology, do you have an actual catalogue that I can go and choose from?

– Can you really measure it and bill me on a pay-per-usage basis?

There are very few companies around the world and in Africa that can do that on an end-to-end basis.

Are South African organisations bullish about cloud computing?

About 67% of CIOs that IBM has spoken to are investigating the cloud applicability to their environment and they are looking for the benefits around cloud.

Should corporate companies opt for public or private cloud?

Public cloud is not an enterprise class service. Today public cloud is ideal for small businesses, with no enterprise class commitment from the company. The public cloud’s terms and conditions are non-committal.

What sort of cloud computing adoption rate are you predicting for Africa?

I think cloud is beyond the hype.  By 2015 we would get most of the key enterprises having cloud deployed in their business environment.

Is cloud computing disruptive to a business?

I think cloud is beneficial to a business if they utilize the right governance principles.

How much money is IBM investing into cloud computing?

Globally we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars into cloud. It’s one of our top 3 investment strategies around the globe. Globally IBM invests $5 billion per year on emerging technologies.

In the African context, in the last few months we’ve invested a substantial amount to make sure that we deploy our data centres to provide cloud as a service to our customers.

Bontle Moeng