By Ralph Berndt – Cloud technology has become a driving force behind how South African companies across industry sectors operate their IT infrastructure.

However, they’re not just sticking to one form of technology. They’re blending cloud services with on-premises solutions to harness the best from a multi-cloud, hybrid world. The conversation now isn’t about choosing between the two. Rather, it’s about figuring out the optimal blend.

One significant trigger for this transition, especially in Africa, has been the arrival of new undersea cable systems. The access to bandwidth these cables provide has been a game-changer for connectivity on the continent. We’ve witnessed a significant shift, with numerous businesses moving from on-premise environments to hosted data centres.

The large-scale investments by new entrants, like Google Equiano, have substantially amplified the undersea capacity into South Africa and other African landing points.

These hyperscale data centres, partnered with content delivery nodes from giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and AWS, have ushered in a new era. The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is no longer a distant dream; it’s a tangible reality in South Africa. This transformation means that businesses in neighbouring countries can now easily access these large-scale investment data centres due to the increased connectivity speeds available.

The growth we’ve seen in this sector has been significant. Most, if not all, of these services – from firewall provisioning to software applications – are now cloud-based. The integration of content with undersea cables is a significant driver of this trend. It’s hard not to mention Teraco and its NAP peering environment, which has been a monumental driver for businesses and their ability to connect to major content delivery nodes.

The consumption trend, too, is shifting. Consumers and businesses alike are embracing the ‘everything-as-a-service’ model. The affordability, accessibility, and proven business cases of these services have diminished the initial resistance. There was a time when businesses hesitated, taking cautious steps towards the cloud. Now? The gates are wide open, thanks to the investments from the content providers and data centres.

However, caution is still important. Businesses are diligently understanding their workload for cloud investment. While there might be instances where they pay for more for these cloud strategies in the long term, the access to flexible resources and scalability is unmatched. Yet, some prefer a physical or virtual self-deployed environment within a Data Centre, particularly considering cost and transactional service usage. Managed virtual platforms have emerged as a solution to this challenge.

The future seems to tilt towards a hybrid approach, with not all investments pouring into hyperscalers only. Application providers have come of age, and we’ll likely see a future dominated by application holders. The vision is clear: subscription services will reign supreme, with OEMs renting out services. The end clients, then, won’t even need to deliberate where to host services and data. The landscape is evolving, and inq. is thrilled to be part of this journey.


Ralph Berndt is the sales and marketing director at inq. SA