In today’s world, intelligence is everything. We have an overload of information, and distributed systems to translate that information into profit-driven decision-making.

Cloud computing is the platform which is driving the ability to connect everyone to everything, and everything to everything – and which is resulting in billions of data sets being recorded every second.

The term cloud computing is a broad and, at times, a complicated term encompassing a vast array of technologies.

Cloud 9 has a single mission: to deliver next-generation cloud solutions to enable more profitable decision-making. “To make good on our mission, we had to investigate how existing data centres are being managed, from the operational efficiency, flexibility and total cost of ownership (TCO),” explains Stewart Diss, general manager of Cloud Nine Holdings, independent company within the COREX stable.

“We also needed to find a more economical way to transform the traditional data centre into a next-generation data centre,” he adds “We looked at how much data the world is collecting, how that data is being analysed and how business intelligence tools with predictive artificial intelligence (AI) can improve decision making without the need to hire expensive data scientists.

“Lastly, we wanted to find more advanced business process tools that can address the needs of both SMBs and enterprises.

“Today, Cloud 9 offers simplified intelligent solutions to businesses of all shapes and sizes to guarantee business owners, managers and employees can collaborate in the next era of cloud computing.”



To address the distributed, inefficient and high TCO of data centres, Cloud 9 has an exclusive partnership with Sangfor, a cloud computing and network security company registered in Hong Kong, with research and development (R&D) in Silicon Valley and Shenzhen.

Sangfor is the fastest-growing company in its area, with more than 35% year-on-year growth and one of a very few software development companies that is CMMI Level 5 certified.

“All of Sangfor’s products are featured in Gartner Magic Quadrant, with specific focus on hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI),” says Diss.

“Sangfor’s HCI is the world’s first and only third-generation HCI which can show a 70% reduction in overall capex (capital expenditure) and opex (operational expenditure) compared to traditional data centres,” Diss points out. “It also addresses the reduction of power, cooling and spatial costs by up to 90%.”

HCI is forecast to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43% to 2022 and its innovation shows it is the HCI disruptor.



Sangfor’s solution offering expands to virtual desktop interface (VDI), which is finally becoming mainstream. Diss believes VDI will eventually eliminate the need for desktop computers in education, enterprises, government and other industries.

“VDI will be the future,” he says. “And Sangfor has made a number of advancements in delivering a reliable, stable and smooth experience.”

Cloud 9 recently launched Sangfor’s VDI solution into the local market.

“In typical Sangfor style, the solution goes overboard by offering an easy-to-use interface to control sensitive data throughout all aspect of your VDI environment,” Diss says. “Running VDI will reduce a customer’s total cost of ownership (TCO) in management, maintenance, operations, power usage and investment.”



South Africa is ranked 92nd of 144 countries for bandwidth speeds, putting CIOs under pressure to improve user experience, work efficiently, protect networks, reduce bandwidth consumption, guard intellectual property rights, protect against malware, implement Internet access compliance and deal with bring your own device (BYOD).

It’s a touch job without the right tools.

Sangfor’s IAM solves all of these concerns and also provides powerful big data analytics to help businesses understand the problems and solve them.

Diss cites the example of a university that implemented Sangfor IAM. “Administrators will receive reports on Internet addiction, poor student analysis, mental health, potential terrorist activity, employee resign risk and information leakage.”



To add to the bandwidth limitations, business applications that might perform well on the local area network (LAN) don’t always operate or transmit efficiently on the wide area network (WAN). “This could be because of bandwidth constraints, protocol limitation or latency,” Diss explains. “Too often, organisations have had to resort to increasing their bandwidth – and costs – to solve these problems. And this solution is not always effective.”

Sangfor’s WAN optimisation (WANO) solution allows head office, branches and partners in different locations to experience an accelerated network performance where business-critical applications won’t be hindered and data exchange will be accelerated.

Sangfor’s WANO uses byte cache technology that allows deduplication of data across the WAN on subsequent transmissions. Once data is transmitted from one end to another, it is cached at byte level.

“As we know, different compression algorithms have different compression efficiencies for different data, and a single compression algorithm is unable to achieve maximum compression ratio,” Diss explains. “Equipped with three built-in compression algorithms, as well as dynamic compression technology, Sangfor WANO can substantially minimise the amount of data transmitted.

“It also eliminates the redundant data transmission that occupies up to 95% of WAN traffic, delivering cached data at LAN speed.”



The world was recently subject to WannaCry, one of the largest cyber-attacks ever recorded.

With around 75% of the attacks happening at the application layer, it is important for businesses to ensure that they have the right tools to protect them.

Unfortunately, many vendors will sacrifice some critical features for better performance. This will often lead to attacks bypassing the existing security solutions.

Successful application layer security must focus on detection methods, software architecture, engine performance and computing power.

This is where Sangfor NGAF excels, with superior technologies overcoming common performance issues. “This is why Sangfor is the world’s first fully-integrated NGFW and WAF,” Diss says.

Overall, Sangfor addresses the reduction of cost to operate the data centre and ensure your data security and integrity is always at its highest.


Predictive AI and business intelligence

The world’s data is doubling every 18 months and the rate is increasing. But research shows that SMBs and enterprises are making use of only 25% of the data they are creating.

Big data can be likened to an iceberg: analytics value is currently limited to the tip of the iceberg, but what’s buried underwater can be of great value in creating unlimited business opportunities.

This is why Cloud 9 offers business intelligence and predictive AI. “With our collective experience to deliver IoT services, big data analysis and predictive artificial intelligence any business of any sizes and industries can now gain insight into the full iceberg,” says Diss.


Business intelligence

Cloud 9’s business intelligence platform is based on analytics, big data, cloud and mobility. It leverages the expertise and knowledge gained over 18 years and a total of 22 software invention patents in the US and Taiwan.

Cloud 9’s BI can create significant value for customers by providing professional data analysis, visualisation, and big data management.


They have developed a highly creative visualization and simple user interface for viewing and analyzing of structured or unstructured information. On the trends of enterprise mobility and BYOD, they facilitate customers to fulfill effective management internally and precision marketing externally. The vast majority of enterprises still remain in the traditional reporting stage, very few enterprises apply data visualization, alert, actionable analytics. In order to gain the greatest benefits of cloud services, enterprises have to consider mobile applications to escalate enterprise mobility. In order to fulfil enterprise mobility, enterprise often develop different applications for different functions or system, those applications naturally become silos. Cloud 9’s mobile application software and services provide different cloud services based on business needs, including private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud and personal cloud to immediately create high-performance cloud applications for business.

Targeting the SMB market, Cloud 9’s Business Intelligence Platform brings a new dynamic by offering an aggregated intelligent CRM and Marketing platform which utilizes their deep understanding of Business Intelligence. This platform includes a Pipeline Management System, Digital Marketing with campaign management and Social Media Analytics, Sales Journey Management to drive businesses sales teams, Mobile Reporting which empowers the road worriers as well as provides realtime communication internal to your organization or externally, and lastly Quick Report which is a powerful SMB Business Intelligence tool.



As businesses start migrating to the cloud, the need to ensure their ERP system isn’t left behind.

Cloud 9 has partnered with NextERP, which delivers a private or public cloud ERP system.

One of the dangers inherent in moving to cloud-based ERP is that it might be a stripped-down version that could put a business at risk. To counteract this, NextERP adopts best practices in workflow management around multiple departments within a business.

From its modular design, including a powerful general ledger component providing budgets aligned to the income statement and reporting into balance sheet, chief financial officers (CFOs) can keep their finger on the pulse of the business at all times.

The debtors module has granular control of each customer’s account, making reconciliation of statements easier and helping to shorten the debtors days cycle.

Meanwhile, the boundaries of international trading have been eliminated, which is why NextERP has a multi-currency creditors module to support international business trade.

NextERP offers full inventory management down to serial number tracking. This has become an extremely important component to businesses as they need induvial item history and warranty status.

A workshop module has been created which integrates the serial number tracking to deliver a full comprehensive understanding of all jobs, including detailed note taking for multiple technicians working on the same job.

“In a nutshell, NextERP is a holistic cloud-based ERP systems that will ensure your business is always under your control,” says Diss.


Artificial intelligence (AI)

The future of IoT analytics is composed of three stages: connect, analytics, and predict.

From fundamental data connection to advanced analytics to predictive modelling, Cloud 9 helps IoT companies grow and scale at every step of the way.

The company’s AI engine is a cost-effective business intelligence solution that allows anyone to collect, understand and drive decisions from IoT data.

“Over the years, we talked to numerous hardware companies and manufacturers regarding their data collection,” says Diss. “What we found was that most manufacturers do not actually consistently collect data from their devices. Among those few companies who do collect data, even fewer of them can make sense of the complex IoT data – and they do so through very costly means such as hiring consultants and data scientists.

“Most other AI engines out there all require companies to have at least one in-house data scientist in order to understand data results and provide actionable insights. But Cloud 9’s big data AI engine automatically chooses the optimal machine learning model and provides the right actionable insights for marketers and executives,” he adds.

“We believe that IoT analytics should not have to involve the combined use of several costly product and services, which is why Cloud 9 offers an integrated and cost-effective solution that covers the entire process of IoT analytics: data connection, core analytics, and prediction. “

Cloud 9’s AI engine does not require human action in order to function; it allows anyone to use utilise deep learning and predictive analytics for their device.

“Marketers and executives can get the right actionable insights without the need of data scientists.,” Diss concludes. “Whether your product is a smart home device, a wearable device or any other type of IoT device, Cloud 9 has the right analytics for you.”



Sundray has been successful in areas like enterprise, hotel, education, shopping centres, government and more. “What’s driven its growth has been its commitment to providing a faster, safer, more manageable, value-added Wi-Fi solution,” says Diss.

Sundray’s software is embedded into the wireless access controller, while the advanced application layer feature give administrators full and granular control over network utilisation. More than 2 000 applications are available with a high level of granular control.

Meanwhile, the solution’s big data analytics provides reporting on individual user profiling to identify what the user is doing on the network, where the user is within the building and tracking their movement.

For enterprises, the report-generation functions can provide a detailed analysis of user behaviour to help improve the performance of the network.

“Any business that wants to offer professional hot spot services should seriously consider Sundray,” Diss says. “The built-in marketing portal offers 10 authentication methods such as SMS, WeChat, App, QR Code and Captive Portal, to collect user information and analyse individuals’ behaviour. This information can be used to deliver push notifications via Facebook, SMS, Webpage or WeChat on a schedule or based on location.”

This marketing functionality can be extended with Google search manipulation based on category or keywords as well as flexible date-ranged heat mapping to show traffic flow, people counting, density over any specific duration.

“Overall, this is an all-in-one enterprise WiFi solution with a built in marketing platform that can fit multiple industries,” Diss explains.