Verizon partners with IBM and Red Hat to deploy its 5G network as an open hybrid cloud platform

IBM and Verizon have a long and successful history of collaboration, built on a shared vision to drive continuous innovation for consumers and businesses in all industries. Therefore IBM is delighted to announce the next major step in their partnership. Verizon has chosen IBM and Red Hat to help build and deploy an open hybrid cloud platform with automated operations and service orchestration as the foundation of its 5G core.

This work with Verizon comes at a critical time for the telco industry as telcos position to deliver on the fundamental transformation potential of 5G. With increased bandwidth, reduced latency and cloud native capabilities, telcos now have the opportunity to leverage their unique and trusted role in communications to capture value from enterprise 5G adoption. 

Why is this so crucial right now? Because it’s the kind of platform transformation that enables telcos to play a leading role in bringing connectivity and compute together for the 5G era. And the value that can be driven from this is clear, as 91% of high performing CSPs surveyed by the IBM Institute for Business Value expect to outperform their current financial expectations in five years as a result of using 5G-enabled edge computing.  In simple terms, telcos must become platform businesses, or face competing with them. 

Think about the rate and pace of innovation we are all experiencing, including heath care – evolving from telehealth doctor visits to network enabled remote surgeries. Or consider factory workers who can now gain access to video and real-time, augmented reality tools to improve quality and yields while they predict maintenance and repair needs before they happen. Or complex modern power grids that can support clean energy and more intelligent, real-time monitoring via 5G-enabled sensors.  All of these innovations must be powered by agile network platforms that can support AI and data intensive use cases as low latency edge computing moves closer to where data is created and captured.  

Verizon is a great example of a communication services provider that is on the forefront of this transformation, by embracing an open hybrid cloud platform that enables a world-class operations environment, aligned to their next-gen vision of an intelligent, highly automated and efficient 5G network. With this transformation, they can scale and deploy new services across a variety of environments, speeding innovation that delivers new value to customers.

By working with Red Hat and IBM Global Business Services (GBS) to build their 5G core network services on Red Hat OpenShift, Verizon is evolving to an open, cloud-native, containerized webscale platform that is ready to harness innovative applications that can support advanced 5G use cases. This open hybrid cloud foundation is designed to help them draw on the power of the immense up-stream open source community, while retaining the architectural control necessary to speed new features, offerings and services like network slicing and multi-access edge computing to market. And they can retain choice over what cloud (public or private), on-prem or Edge environment is best to deploy these solutions.

IBM Global Business Services, a leading systems integrator in the telco industry, is also integrating Telco Network Cloud solutions into Verizon’s Service Orchestration Platform to automate and manage services much more efficiently. This integration is designed to improve the service quality, predictably and automation of virtual network functions and comply with Open Network Automation Platform interfaces.

Taken together, today’s news is an enormous step forward in how IBM is supporting Verizon’s position as a network-as-a-service leader in 5G. With this approach, Verizon gains more control over how they choose to drive new value for their customers. They have flexibility in how and where they move their data, and what tools and technologies they choose to develop these emerging 5G-enabled business solutions.

We all know change and opportunity go hand in hand, and Verizon has long embraced forward thinking – especially now, when the industry is racing to create and capture new value as the market adopts 5G. As we look towards a future with 5G, IBM and Red Hat are deeply engaged, and working hand in hand with leading telecom operators all over the globe, to co-create and deliver open hybrid cloud platform solutions that will enable them – and the enterprises they serve – to thrive in this next era that combines the power of “connectivity + compute.”

Microsoft, Accenture, GitHub and ThoughtWorks start Green Software Foundation

As the world works to address the urgent carbon crisis, more companies than ever before are making environmental impact pledges to be carbon neutral or carbon negative. Accenture, GitHub, Microsoft and ThoughtWorks are proud to be among the companies that have made commitments to help address the global climate crisis, but as an industry, we can come together to accomplish more.

Today, at Microsoft’s annual (virtual) Build Developers Conference, software development is front and center and at the heart of every keynote, every session and every panel. As we think about the future of the software industry, we believe we have a responsibility to help build a better future – a more sustainable future – both internally at our organizations and in partnership with industry leaders around the globe. With data centers around the world accounting for 1% of global electricity demand, and projections to consume 3-8% in the next decade, it’s imperative we address this as an industry.

To help in that endeavor, we’re excited to announce the formation of The Green Software Foundation – a nonprofit founded by Accenture, GitHub, Microsoft and ThoughtWorks established with the Linux Foundation and the Joint Development Foundation Projects LLC to build a trusted ecosystem of people, standards, tooling and leading practices for building green software. The Green Software Foundation was born out of a mutual desire and need to collaborate across the software industry. Organizations with a shared commitment to sustainability and an interest in green software development principles are encouraged to join the foundation to help grow the field of green software engineering, contribute to standards for the industry, and work together to reduce the carbon emissions of software. The foundation aims to help the software industry contribute to the information and communications technology sector’s broader targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Paul Daugherty, group chief executive – Technology and chief technology officer at Accenture, said, “Sustainability is our greatest responsibility, and this is the decade that organizations must deliver on their promises to improve our communities and our planet. Accenture is proud to be a founding member of the Green Software Foundation and we look forward to collaborating with other organizations to evolve the culture of software engineering so sustainability is embedded by design, contributing to a meaningful reduction in the carbon emissions of computing and making a positive impact on the environment.”

Erica Brescia, chief operating officer, GitHub, said, “We envision a future where carbon-free software is standard—where software development, deployment, and use contribute to the global climate solution without every developer having to be an expert. GitHub is proud to be a founding member of the Green Software Foundation and we remain committed to building an environmentally sustainable home for all developers.”

Mike Dolan, general manager and senior vice president, the Linux Foundation, said “The software industry and open source software community have both the opportunity and ability to build digital infrastructure with the least possible impact to our environment.  We are happy to support the Green Software Foundation and its mission to build a neutral ecosystem for collaboration on standards, tooling and best practices for green software.”

Brad Smith, president, Microsoft, added, “The scientific consensus is clear: the world confronts an urgent carbon problem. It will take all of us working together to create innovative solutions to drastically reduce emissions. Today, Microsoft is joining with organizations who are serious about an environmentally sustainable future to drive adoption of green software development to help our customers and partners around the world reduce their carbon footprint.”

Alongside founding members, Accenture, GitHub, Microsoft and ThoughtWorks, Goldman Sachs and nonprofits including Leaders for Climate Action, Watt Time and The Green Web Foundation have also joined The Green Software Foundation.

The purpose of the Green Software Foundation:

  • Establish green software industry standards: The foundation will create and publish green software standards, green patterns and practices across various computing disciplines and technology domains. The group will encourage voluntary adoption and help guide government policy toward those standards for a consistent approach for measuring and reporting green software emissions.
  • Accelerate innovation: To grow the green software field, we need to nurture the creation of trusted open-source and open-data projects that support the creation of green software applications. The foundation will work alongside our nonprofit partners and academia to support research into green software.
  • Drive awareness and grow advocacy: If we want companies to build greener applications, they need people who know how to build them. As such, one of our key missions is to drive widespread adoption of green software across the industry through ambassador programs, training and education which leads to certification and events to facilitate the growth of green software

Vertiv introduces new Plug-and-Play micro data center system for edge computing in EMEA

Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, introduced the Vertiv™ VRC-S, a fully factory-assembled micro data center designed for fast, easy installation at the edge of the network and other small IT sites. Available now in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the Vertiv VRC-S incorporates a rack power distribution unit (rPDU), the Energy Star 2.0 certified Vertiv™ Liebert® GXT5 uninterruptible power supply (UPS), monitoring sensors and software, and the latest Vertiv™ VRC rack cooling system in a highly-efficient, all-in-one IT rack.

“Choosing and deploying a micro data center has never been faster or easier, and it can even be experienced virtually with our new augmented reality app”, says Alex Pope, vice president of integrated rack solutions for Vertiv in EMEA. “The Vertiv VRC-S is a very efficient plug and play solution that can be delivered to your location with integrated UPS, which powers both the in-rack cooling and backup ventilation as well as the power distribution for IT assets, with pre-wired monitoring for simple connection to your utility power and network. This new offering is a strategic result of Vertiv’s product innovation roadmap and latest R&D investments, which will progressively bring more edge-ready, micro data center solutions to the market”.

Ideal for edge deployments such as retail stores and distribution, transportation, healthcare and light industrial applications, the Vertiv VRC-S is available in a number of pre-built, standard models which can be delivered in days and installed within hours. The Vertiv VRC-S micro data center can be experienced virtually with the latest Vertiv XRapp, the new AR-powered mobile application that enables users to embark on an immersive exploration of all the unit’s components, while also revealing the operating modes and key features that are invisible to the naked eye, but deliver end-to-end system functionality that is unique in the market. More information on the AR experience bringing the Vertiv VRC-S to life is available on the Vertiv website, while the Vertiv XR app can be downloaded for free from Google Play (Android) and Apple App Store (iOS).

Micro data centers are designed to support edge computing applications, meaning anywhere that critical, small-footprint compute resources are needed. Unlike prefabricated modular data centers which are typically larger stand-alone installations deployed outside main buildings or in remote locations, micro data centers – the size of a standard IT rack – can be deployed in environments such as offices, clinics, retail stores, or other commercial or industrial spaces. The Vertiv VRC-S is pre-engineered and factory-integrated to deliver maximized reliability, efficiency and speed of deployment.     

The Vertiv™ VRC-S enclosure utilizes unique pseudo hot/cold aisle inside the rack for efficient airflow and prevention of hot spots. The rack-mounted cooling unit in the Vertiv VRC-S is designed specifically for edge computing IT loads. By using speed-controlled fans in combination with a variable speed compressor, the unit adapts the cooling capacity to the actual IT heat dissipation, thus minimizing energy consumption. The Vertiv™ Liebert® GXT5 on-line double-conversion high-efficiency UPS provides power continuity to all integrated components, including the 3.5 kW cooling system and backup ventilation. The Vertiv™ Geist™ rPDU provides power distribution with outlet-level switching, and includes Vertiv™ Intelligence Director software to deliver remote monitoring and management of the entire power and cooling system through a single IP address for easy remote monitoring, control, and predictive maintenance.  

The Vertiv VRC-S comes with a three-year warranty covering the entire system. Installation and preventive maintenance services are available through local, factory-trained Vertiv services professionals and channel partners.

Rwanda Telecentre Network to offer e-learning opportunity for digital users

Rwanda Telecentre Network, a network of service access points that brings digital services to people throughout Rwanda is offering young Rwandans skills for work scholarship for those who are interested to gain new skills to enter into the job market.

Why this Skills for Work Scholarship program?​

There is a clear recognition that skills, like a passport, can boost the upward mobility of the informal workforce, contributing to the employment of more women in the formal labor force. People need skills that would offer them decent work, entrepreneurship, stable income and remuneration, and social protection.

Furthermore, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown measures have impacted thousands of learners around Rwanda, leaving them with little or no option to continue their education. Thousands have lost their jobs and livelihoods and need reskilling to regain employment.

Recognizing the shortage of skilled workforce and the catastrophic effects of the pandemic on thousands of Rwandan people who have become unemployed, or are on the verge of losing their jobs, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), has launched the “Skills for Work” program as an immediate solution to these challenges.

RTN-COL Skills for Work Scholarship Program

Rwanda Telecentre Network invite eligible Rwandan citizens to apply for the Commonwealth of Learning-Skills for Work Scholarship. The aim of the scholarship is to close the skills gap for in-demand and high-demand jobs in commonwealth nations. RTN-COL aims to support the efforts of Member States to disseminate skills required for decent employment and entrepreneurship and pave the way for skilling, reskilling, upskilling, and lifelong learning.

RTN-COL will offer three types of scholarships under the Skills for Work Program:

1) RTN-COL-Grow with Google Skills for Work Scholarship

2) RTN-COL-Coursera Skills for Work Scholarship

3) RTN-COL-Udemy Skills for Work Scholarship

Do you need to pay any registration or / and course fee?

No. There is no cost to participate in the program. All courses accessible through both desktop and mobile app are provided free of cost thanks to the financial and technical assistance provided by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).

How can you Join?

Fill out the application form that can be accessed here.

[Interview] Nick Treurnicht, Customer Engineer for Google Workspace, DigiCloud Africa, South Africa

Nick Treurnicht
is the Customer Engineer for Google Workspace at DigiCloud Africa, Africa’s Google Cloud Brokerage, specialising in Google Cloud products – including Google Cloud Platform, G Suite, Google Maps and Chrome.

Kindly introduce yourself and your role at DigiCloud Africa.

I have been working with Google Workspace since 2013 and have sold it, trained on it, deployed it and migrated it.  I started at a Google Partner in South Africa and assisted in them becoming a Premier Google Partner.  I have in depth knowledge of the entire platform and who it best serves customers in adopting the real cloud.  I then moved to Digicloud Africa as Google’s Distributor as I have a passion not just for South Africa, but the whole of Africa.  This continent is where Google and Digicloud can enable the next billion users.  I assist our ecosystem of Partners with technical expertise, customer engagements and solutions validation.  I assist them with deployments and migrations as well.  A happy customer makes for a happy partner.  And the partners are our customers.

Digicloud Africa is Google’s enablement partner in Africa. Tell us about this.

Digicloud Africa is the sole distributor in Africa for Google products; Google Workspace as well as Google Cloud Platform.  We function as the enablement and onboarding arm of Google, assisting in growing the Google ecosystem in Africa.  We onboard and train and assist with upskilling the partners on behalf of Google.  We offer our customers sales expertise as well as technical assistance so that they may best serve their customers.  We have experts on all the Google products that have worked at other partners and have gained valuable experience over the years that we now share with our partners, showing them how to become a Premier Partner themselves.

What role is DigiCloud Africa playing in growing African businesses, especially when it comes to cloud adoption?

Digicloud Africa employs a variety of Cloud Architects, Machine Learning specialists, Data Engineers and DevOps Engineers, Security Engineers to name a few.  All skilled and experienced in Google Cloud Platform.  Our partners’ customers benefit from our experience and guidance to assist them in their journey into Google Cloud.  We also assist in marketing the skills of our partners and host webinars online alongside our partners for visibility.  With Google Workspace, we show companies how to run their collaboration platform fully in the cloud.  Use your account from any internet connected device and never lose a document or an email ever again.  Ongoing engagements with the customer ensures that we are there every step of the way to assist the customer in making the right IT decision that supports their cloud strategy.

Why are the solutions you’re providing so important for African businesses?

Now is the best time to adopt the Cloud and with Digicloud Africa and Google’s support it’s easier than ever before to make it happen. If you are building an application or starting a company, you don’t need to and often cannot afford to, start by investing in hardware.  It is costly and requires continual maintenance and upgrades.  This stifles innovation.  Africa has an amazing entrepreneurial spirit that we wish to see growing over the next decade.  The Cloud not only helps you scale up when you need the services, but also scale down when it’s not needed during a lockdown as we saw in 2020.  On a continent where finding the right hardware is often difficult and costly, the Cloud offers you access to state of the art technology.

The demand for cloud services in Africa is growing fast, especially during this pandemic? Do you believe it’s time for every business to move to the cloud?

Yes.  Maintain the servers you have while planning your journey into the cloud.  Stop investing in costly short term solutions (server upgrades).  Modernise your application architecture so that you can run it in the most efficient manner in the Cloud.  Don’t just spin up virtual machines in the Cloud and keep running legacy code in the same old way.  Africa has tremendous skills in IT engineering.  At the start of the pandemic and the lockdown in 2020, we saw many companies running legacy systems rush to deploy Google Workspace.  Most of the companies already running Workspace didn’t have a hard time picking up their laptops and working from home.  We even saw an increase in productivity instead of a decrease, as most business owners and managers feared.

Let’s talk about the future. In Africa, cloud remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure. What does the future look like?

The future is serverless with a hybrid cloud strategy.  Customers in the cloud should be able to move their applications and workloads between clouds seamlessly.  They will be able to work from anywhere in the world from any type of device; Windows, Macbook, Linux or Chromebook.  Google Workspace for Education is also taking off in Africa in a big way where again Chromebooks are playing an important role.  Kids today entering the workforce tomorrow won’t comprehend why they can’t work remotely or switch devices in the middle of the day and continue working.  Users shouldn’t be bound to their desk, where they can only perform their job function from their device.  Brick and mortar shop fronts will be less prevalent as it’s too costly to maintain and staff.  eCommerce and Logistics is going to play an important role and the cloud will enable that to scale globally.

You are among the speakers an upcoming Google Workspace webinar on April 22nd,  why was it so important to have this webinar?

Post lockdown regulations in South Africa have revealed that users want to continue to work from home.  People are much more productive when given flexibility and the right tools.  This webinar will show you in a very practical way how many Workspace customers did not have a hard time with lockdown or working remotely.  You had access to all of your emails AND files and business tools just like you did in the office.

Still, on the webinar, what should participants expect?

Participants can expect to get a great overview of what Google Workspace is capable of.  They will see the product in action as well and learn how easy it is to use.  They might have heard about ways of using Google Workspace and they might have heard about how other companies are using it successfully, but this webinar will give them a forum to ask questions and ask to see certain features in action and debunk myths about Google Workspace.  They will hopefully be inspired to do things differently and see how MS Office isn’t needed for an organisation at all.  No Office, no servers.

With the webinar happening, what opportunities do you see for DigiCloud in Africa?

We see a big opportunity for all the Africa companies still running legacy email servers on prem to modernise their setup.  All the companies wanting to replace MS Office with something more robust and easy to use where Google Workspace is a natural fit.  Many people have a misconception on what Google Workspace has to offer and only a practical demonstration of “A day in the life of a Workspace user” can really show them how easy IT can be.  The opportunity for Digicloud is really to showcase the strength of our Partner (Incentro) in Africa and how they are supporting their customers and helping them digitally transform.\

Any closing remarks?

This document was edited on a Chromebook (not Windows) using Google Docs (not MS Word) in the Chrome browser.  Every word that I typed was seamlessly saved as I typed without having to activate a certain setting.  The document was automatically saved to Google Drive which means it was backed up to our eDiscovery and Compliance platform (Google Vault) which is built into Google Workspace.  We want to show Africa how easily we do things and solve problems and build workflows without needing to host any servers without any downtime, from anywhere, on any device.

Click here to register for Google Workspace webinar on April 22nd