[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is transforming the education sector in Africa

In our last Africa cloud review column, we highlighted how cloud can help power smart cities in Africa. Cloud provides the digital infrastructure for smart cities: in other words, a city’s cloud will function as a storage and analysis system for the data used in everything.  

Other than smart cities, the education sector in Africa is also poised to benefit from cloud. 

In an interview with IT News Africa back in 2019, head of E-Learning at the University of Pretoria, Dolf Jordaan noted that the cloud is transforming teaching and learning as we know it, while fast-tracking education improvement from primary school to university. ‘’It allows educators the ability to collaborate on content, share information, and even asses projects,’’ he says.

Cloud computing helps students, teachers, and administrators alike. It allows students access to homework wherever there’s an internet connection, teachers to instantly upload learning materials, and administrators to easily collaborate with one another and save money on data storage. 

When the pandemic most African schools decided to take their learning online. Virtual learning finally became a reality. In Kenya, the government introduced a new digital learning model to 24,000 public schools so that virtual learning in Kenya is accessible to all children. Using cloud, schools were able to save money on licenses, hardware, power, and support. Additionally, schools were able to access online editions of textbooks which saved money and ensured students are learning from the most recent books.

The benefits of cloud in education are massive. The safety, stability, and ease of use of cloud computing in education in Africa is resulting in widespread adoption in educational institutions of all sizes and types.

From 3-4 November 202, Google cloud will also be hosting a government and education summit. You can read all about this online event and how to register here

In the news

Oracle announced that it has selected Johannesburg for its first African Cloud region. Microsoft added Availability Zones to Cloud regions in South Africa and South Korea, while seemingly de-listed a second region in South Africa. Maher Al-Khaiyat, the regional business applications director for Microsoft MEA in a column published on Kenya’s Business Daily also highlighted how cloud-based IT solutions can help firms manage change

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud can help power smart cities in Africa

The term Smart City is not a new one and, while some examples already exist on the African continent, it is not as widespread as it should be. From Accra to Cape Town to Nairobi, turning Africa’s megacities into tech and data hubs of the future.

Like Smart City initiatives across the world, cities in Africa are initiating tech and data-driven solutions to overpopulation issues caused by drastically increasing urbanization. What role is cloud playing in this?

According to Clive Charlton, Head of Solution Architecture for Sub-Saharan Africa at Amazon Web Services (AWS), connectivity, public policy and cloud skills are among the key challenges facing African cities as they move to become smart cities. The deployment of Smart Cities heavily relies on the advances achieved in cloud technologies. To speed up their sustainable development, these cities need to be on the cloud.

Cloud provides the digital infrastructure for smart cities: in other words, a city’s cloud will function as a storage and analysis system for the data used in everything. PCs and server files, web page meta-data, images and video and data created by machine-to-machine communication will all be housed in the cloud.

As it stands, African cities already have the opportunity to go smart, thanks to high cloud adoption.

Countries like South Africa already have a wide range of domestic fibre network providers, with new fibre network providers like Vuma providing an open access fibre network resold to a number of retail service providers, with download speeds of up to 1 Gbps (the highest in Africa).

There are also five key international subsea cable systems connecting South Africa. The country has seen a rapid introduction of new CSPs, with Microsoft Azure Cloud and AWS entering the market as a gateway for the rest of Africa. Amongst new CPS is Alibaba Cloud which said it intended to enter the South African market but as yet has not entered.

South Africa has 12 DC providers with over 40 Data Centre Facilities. There has been new Data Centre build announcements with one of them being Global Data Centers, a subsidiary of NTT Ltd, announcing at the of September 2020 the build of a new Data Centre facility at the Central Point Innovation District in Johannesburg called Johannesburg-1.

Cloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes. And as we mentioned in a previous column, the continent is suited to jump to the cloud more than its peers. This will in turn accelerate the growth of smart cities in the region.

If we explore the applications of cloud computing, there are multiple benefits as to why smart cities should opt for it.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Africa is an emerging data center market

Africa is an emerging data center market and has witnessed around 15 data center investments in 2020.  The region is experiencing growth in internet penetration, which can be a major driver for data center investors.

The growth in the adoption of IoT and big data analytics services will result in the rapid growth of data center development in Africa. This is according to a new report by ReportLinker, a market research solution. 

The report, released last week, notes that the market is evolving, and investments are expected to rise significantly with contributions from local and global data center operators.

The continent currently requires a 1000 megawatts and 700 data centers facilities. The demand has been growing over the last decade – following a similar path to industry development across the globe, as content consumption becomes more of a priority

Data centers are being utilized more than ever. ‘’ For example, the world’s largest internet exchange facility, DE-CIX Frankfurt, saw on-average data traffic increases of 10 percent in early March last year as people started staying at home. Our switch to video conferencing, which has seen triple digit growth, is another example of changing habits and the need to understand how our data usage will affect our data centers.’’  Carol Koech, the Country President, Schneider Electric East Africa said in a column published recently.

Last week, Africa Data Centres announced plans to build large hyperscale data centres throughout Africa, including the North African countries of Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.The project will involve building 10 hyperscale data centres, in 10 countries, over the next two years – at a cost of more than US$500m. It is being funded through new equity and facilities from leading development finance institutions and multilateral organisations.

Data center spending is also going up with research firm Gartner estimating that end-user spending on global data center infrastructure is projected to reach US$200 billion in 2021, up 6% from 2020. 

The priority for most companies in 2020 according to Naveen Mishra, senior research director at Gartner is keeping the lights on, so data center growth is generally being pushed back until the market enters the recovery period. Gartner expects larger enterprise data centers sites to hit pause temporarily and then resume expansion plans later this year or early next. However, hyperscalers will continue with their global expansion plans due to continued investments in public cloud.

South Africa is the leading colocation data center market in Africa, with high cloud-based service adoption, increased enterprise digitalization drive, and migration from on-premises facilities expected to drive the data center market in the country.  The market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 15.17% during the period 2020−2026. In 2020, Teraco Data Environments, Africa Data Centre, NTT Global Data Centers were the major data center investors in the country. For instance, Teraco Data Environments’ JB1 and JB3 facilities added a space of over 43,000 square feet.

Bottom line, Africa is by far the most exciting region when it comes to digital growth and data centers are the basis of this growth.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

Introducing Incentro Africa Google Bootcamp: Now available online for free

Incentro and Digicloud have organized a Google bootcamp for both professionals and students. The bootcamp will be run by Google certified engineers and architects from both Kenya and South Africa.

Successful students at the end of the program will sit for an exam and get Google Cloud Certified – attaining one of the most coveted industry recognition, allowing them to validate their expertise and take their careers to the next level. Incentro will also provide the successful candidates with an opportunity to join the team for at the Nairobi office, that will deliver great Google Cloud solutions to the African market.

See program details in the attachments below:

Google Cloud Architect/Security Engineer
Google Collaboration Engineer

This bootcamp is perfect for both undergraduates pursuing an I.T. related degree or diploma or an I.T. professional looking to advance their careers.

Interested?

Sign up by completing these exams and forward the results to googlebootcamp@incentro.com.

Registration closes on 15th September.

See you online! 

For any questions reach out to Matthew Munyiri – matthew.munyiri@incentro.com.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Africa is suited to jump to the cloud more than its peers

The speed at which Africa’s business sector has changed over the past year has been nothing short of astonishing. Business leaders have had their hands full, from enabling remote work on a previously unprecedented scale to adapting to disruptions among many other things. At the center of this change is cloud.

Before the pandemic hit, a number of businesses in Africa were at different stages of their cloud strategies, whether that meant moving their email server to the cloud or upgrading to Google cloud or Microsoft 365. This process has been accelerated as many workers were forced to work remotely.

According to a Synergy Research Group survey, which we wrote about in our last cloud review column,  spending on cloud infrastructure bypassed spending on data center hardware and software for the first time in 2020 . This study shows that spending on cloud infrastructure services (PaaS, IaaS, and hosted private cloud combined) grew by 35 per cent to reach almost $130 billion in 2020, while spending on data center hardware and software dropped more than 5 percent to less than $90 billion over the same period.

Cloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes.

At the enterprise level, consulting firm BCG estimates that two-thirds of companies globally already use multiple clouds. It predicts that by 2025, up to 60 per cent of consumer-facing applications, almost 40 per cent of data warehouse and analytics workloads, and more than 30 per cent of core business applications will be running on public clouds operated by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Traditional on-premises technology will handle no more than a third of these workloads.

In Africa, the continent has been suited to jump to the cloud more than its peers. 

”If you look at Africa from an economic development standpoint, you would be quick to assume the continent is not geared up to take advantage of the latest trends in cloud technology. But you would be wrong. ” Winston Ritsonthe Group Head for Cloud Services at Liquid Intelligent Technologies.   says in an OP ED published last week. 

Winston notes that international investors are clamoring to the front of the investment line to fund a boom in the African Cloud Computing market. 

”The proliferation of smartphones, mass adoption of business software and general economic growth prospects have seen a great demand for data centers to be built within continental borders. A young mobile population is driving end-user demand and the potential for the next Cloud boom,” he says.

In the news

Last week, Liquid Intelligent Technologies creates direct access to USA internet resources via a new POP connection to Miami. The new POP is connected to Liquid’s 100,000km of fiber across 11 countries on the continent and another 14 countries via the Operators Alliance Program and Liquid Satellite Services. This results in customers being able to leverage a better connection to the US, giving them access to Cloud services, OTT resources, Internet content and high-quality voice and video calls with family and business partners.

A South African financial institution also partnered with Sapiens on Cloud-Hosted Bancassurance solutions. The financial institution will implement Sapiens’ cloud-hosted, IDITSuite for short-term insurance and Sapiens Intelligence, with the help of Sapiens Managed Services.

Google Cloud and SAP  announced an expanded strategic partnership to help customers execute business transformations, migrate critical business systems to the cloud and augment existing business systems with Google Cloud capabilities in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Nguniri: Kenya’s Data Center Market Size by investment is set to Reach $342 Million by 2026

Kenya is witnessing the growing adoption of digital services such as cloud, big data, and IoT driving the demand for data centers in the region.

Kenya’s data center market is set to grow at a CAGR of 12.36% during 2021-2026. This is according to the “Kenya Data Center – Investment Analysis & Growth Opportunities 2021-2026” report released this week.

The report notes that  the data center market in Kenya includes around six unique third-party data center service providers operating around nine facilities. 

Kenya is one of Africa’s primary data center hubs and is considered the gateway to the East African region. Nairobi, the capital city, is a favorable location for data center development. In Kenya, Unaitas Sacco, a financial firm, selected Eastra Solutions for installation and commissioning services to Unaitas Data Center. Atos is investing in the development of a new data center facility in Kenya with around USD 260 million investment at the Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC) in Butere, Kakamega County.

Icolo.io which is among the top data centers investors in Kenya recently announced the construction of its third data center in Kenya to be located in Nyali, Mombasa. Called MBA2, the new data center is expected to be completed in Q1 of 2022 and set to provide an estimated capacity of 1.6MW megawatt and 1,200 square meters of IT space. 

Other key investors include IXAfrica, PAIX, Teraco Data Environments, and Wingu.

Other tech giants like Huawei Huawei Technologies is among the leading vendors in the modular data center space with multiple efficient and reliable deployments. All the vendors the report notes have taken precautionary measures to reduce disruptions in their supply chain operations. The most commonly adopted servers in the industry include rack and blade servers from Cisco Systems, HPE, Dell Technologies, IBM, and Lenovo.

Data centers are being utilized now more than ever according to Carol Koech is the Country President for Schneider Electric East Africa. Data spending is also going up with Gartner estimating that end-user spending on global data center infrastructure is projected to reach US$200 billion in 2021, up 6% from 2020. The landscape in East Africa is no different. In Kenya for example, the country has a total number of 43.7 million Internet/data subscriptions according to the Communication Authority of Kenya; this coupled with the country’s youthful demographics means that data demand will rise rapidly, which will require more data centers. And we can already see investments in this space.

Across Africa, the continent accounts for less than 1% of the world’s co-location data centre supply, with South Africa accounting for the bulk of the continent’s capacity. Co-location facilities rent space, power and cooling to enterprise and hyperscale customers; they also offer interconnection enabling businesses to scale at low complexity and cost.

Nina Triantis, Global Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology at Standard Bank notes that we should expect to see a substantial wave of data centre investments materialise across the continent, led by regional economic powerhouses including South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.  

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Moving to the cloud is the key to succeeding in the digital era

Moving to the cloud is the key to succeeding in the digital era. Many business leaders in Africa are making this move to improve security, flexibility, and agility whilst others are doing it to keep relevant and productive, ultimately with the bottom line in mind.

Before the pandemic hit, businesses were at different stages of their cloud strategies, whether that meant moving their email server to the cloud or upgrading to Google cloud or Microsoft 365. This process has been accelerated as many workers were forced to work remotely.

According to a Synergy Research Group survey, spending on cloud infrastructure bypassed spending on data centre hardware and software for the first time in 2020. This study shows that spending on cloud infrastructure services (PaaS, IaaS, and hosted private cloud combined) grew by 35 percent to reach almost $130 billion in 2020, while spending on data centre hardware and software dropped more than 5 percent to less than $90 billion over the same period.

An increasing number of African businesses are reaching a pinnacle of their digital transformation journeys with most of their IT already running in the cloud. However, it’s not only about having a cloud strategy but rather knowing how to use the cloud to its full extent to propel a business into the future. Cloud is giving organisations the ability to simplify and scale their systems landscape without sacrificing performance.

With this in mind, a number of cloud providers have been trying to set base in the continent. Recently, Zadaraannounced Africa’s largest network of interconnected, carrier-and cloud-neutral data center facilities, Africa Data Centres, and service provider Global Sense deployed Zadara’s edge cloud services to their marketplace.  In South Africa, HUAWEI opened applications for its Women4Tech digital training programme. The free online course is open to savvy, tech-forward women entrepreneurs, and aims to advance their skills and help them use new technologies like Cloud Computing  to grow, improve and digitise their businesses.

At the same time, Google Cloud also appointed Niral Patel as Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. Patel will be based in Johannesburg and will be responsible for leading Google Cloud’s business across Sub-Saharan Africa region. 

As we have mentioned in a previous column, with cloud-enabled intelligent enterprise capabilities, organisations can achieve the speed needed to stay ahead of competitors and other disruptors while maintaining the certainty of measured, data-driven decision-making.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Increase in connectivity and broadband services is driving huge demand for cloud services in Africa

In our last Africa Cloud Review article, we highlighted extensively how cloud providers are fighting for a share of the growing cloud market in the continent.  As this market grows, it is generating a lot of interest and deals as cloud players and providers position themselves to take advantage of this boom.   

As this happens, the demand for cloud experts is also on the rise. In May this year, tech giant Google announced a new programme to offer new scholarships for Android, Web and Google Cloud development to developers across Africa. The programme will be offered in partnership with tech talent companies Pluralsight and Andela. A total of 40,000 scholarships will be offered to developers spread across Mobile and Cloud development tracks and, at the end of the training, the top 1,000 students will earn a full scholarship to certify in Android or Cloud development. Last week, Global IT consulting firm Accenture also launched the Accenture Cloud Engineering Centre in South Africa to train hundreds of cloud engineers in efforts to fuel Africa’s cloud computing boom.

According to Willie Schoeman, MD of Accenture Technology in Africa, in an article published by IT Web, as data traffic demand and cloud adoption continue to soar in South Africa, the increase in connectivity and broadband services is driving huge demand for more data centres, leading to a widening skills gap. 

In May, Amazon Web Services (AWS) also announced that it’s bringing its re/Start cloud skills training program to Kenya and South Africa this month as part of its rapid expansion plans this year. AWS re/Start is a free, full-time, 12-week program designed to support people who are unemployed or underemployed, and who have little technology experience, for careers in cloud computing. The program provides participants with new cloud computing skills, career and resume coaching, and interviews with local employers.

With all these reports, it’s clear that the continent needs more cloud computing skills. IT professionals in the region need to gain skills in cloud and data architecture due to the rapidly increasing number of organizations subscribing to integrated cloud services in recent years.

Google Cloud

With 24 regions and 73 zones in 17 countries, Google Cloud delivers high-performance, low-latency cloud services to customers. In Africa companies like Incentro have been at the forefront in offering Google Cloud services.

Last week, the company was credited by DigiCloud Africa for its role in expanding Google Cloud in the continent and subsequently being recognised as the Google Cloud Expansion Partner of the Year – Europe, Middle East, and Africa. 

In March this year, the company announced that it has achieved the Google Cloud Partner “Work Transformation” Specialization, in the Google Cloud Partner Specialization Program. By earning the Partner Specialization, Incentro Africa has proven their expertise and success in building customer solutions in the Work Transformation field using Google Cloud Platform technology – such as technical implementation, change management, training and ongoing premium support.

Google Cloud and SAP SE also last week announced an expanded strategic partnership to help customers execute business transformations, migrate critical business systems to the cloud, and augment existing business systems with Google Cloud capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

Bold company Incentro credited for growth in Google Cloud adoption in Africa

DigiCloud Africa has credited Incentro Africa for its role in expanding Google Cloud in Africa and subsequently being recognised as the Google Cloud Expansion Partner of the Year – Europe, Middle East, and Africa. 

The annual award recognises one global partner in the region that has shown outstanding success in helping a large number of customers achieve better results through the Google Cloud Platform and Google Workspace. 

Incentro Africa (founded 2017), announced in 2020 that it had achieved the Work Transformation – Enterprise Partner Specialization in the Google Cloud Partner Specialization Program, becoming the first and only premier partner with this specialization in Africa. 

By earning the Partner Specialization, we proved our expertise and success in deploying Google Workspace to enterprise organizations, which includes providing services across all project work streams – such as technical implementation, change management, training and ongoing premium support.

Our continued collaboration with DigiCloud has yielded many successes with key clients such as Central Bank of West Africa (Google Workspace) , Textbook Center (SAP on Google Cloud) and Britam (Workspace).

“We are proud to have been credited by DigiCloud as one of their key partners in achieving this truly prestigious award – the first for an African organization no less.” said Dennis de Weerd, Sales Director, Incentro Africa. “Our continued partnership is truly a special one and look forward to many more shared successes.” he continued.

“Whilst the complete list of resellers would be too lengthy to mention, three companies were monumental in their efforts through 2020 to drive Google Cloud adoption in Africa, namely: Incentro Africa, for work in Kenya and Senegal specialising in workforce transformation, machine learning and infrastructure…” Gregory MacLennan, CEO, DigiCloud.

About Incentro

Incentro delivers innovative digital solutions, grounded by passion and happiness of employees, Incentronauts. 340 Incentronauts worldwide (The Netherlands, Spain, Kenya) are helping organizations to reach their digital goals.

Based on the maturity of clients, they setup an e-commerce environment which enables customers to deliver an awesome shopping journey and drive growth. They deliver a full range of services from strategy until conversion optimization for B2C and B2B focussed companies

Incentro Africa opened her door in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2017; The takeout on things was special: the company aimed for the delivery of fairtrade software solutions in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Our mission? To positively impact the lives of 10.000 Africans before the year 2022.

We continue to achieve this by bringing quality services and digital solutions to the (East) African market, supported by strong partnerships and growing local talent into product experts. We help organizations in developing their Cloud digital strategies in order to increase productivity and collaboration. We achieve this through our value propositions and expertise in enterprise collaboration, cloud migration, and developing smart applications.

Are you bold enough to step into the unknown? We are… and we dare you to do the same. We will be with you every step of the way. Not by making small changes but to truly do things differently – for a change!

With over 10 years of proven expertise in technical consultation and related services, Incentro, the only Google Premier Partner in East, West and Central Africa has become the go-to partner for successful business transformation in the continent.

From Enterprise Collaboration, Cloud Migration and Smart application development, we proudly serve over 26 countries in Africa and are growing. Whatever your ambition is, we’ll aim for maximum impact. We dive deep into your organization, challenge your plans, build solutions swiftly and make sure they work.

Please feel free to visit our website or send an email to Customer Success Manager Elizabeth Akinyi – liz@incentro.com.

www.incentro.com


[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud providers are fighting for a share of the growing Africa’s cloud market

From all the previous Africa Cloud Review articles we have published, we have been highlighting how the cloud market in Africa is growing. Cloud-based office applications have increasingly become vital components of the African modern workplace. 

As this market grows, it is generating a lot of interest and deals as cloud players and providers position themselves to take advantage of this boom.   

In May last year, African Data Centre Association (ADCA) predicted that 20 new data centre facilities will come online across Africa by the end of 2020. ADCA in a research paper noted that Africa had entered a phase of “accelerated growth” due to heightened demand for local hosting and cloud services, and that the continued development of carrier-neutral data centres will support the continent to “unleash its potential”.  By the end of that year, more players started setting up data centers across the continent. 

Africa’s data centre market is poised for massive growth this year as internet penetration rates rise and the continent begins to play catch-up with other regionsNina Triantis the Global Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology at Standard Bank, in a column we published here on  Africa Business Communities last week notes that we should expect to see a substantial wave of data centre investments materialise across the continent, led by regional economic powerhouses including South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. For the time being, Africa accounts for less than 1% of the world’s co-location data centre supply, with South Africa accounting for the bulk of the continent’s capacity. 

Last year,  South African data centre company Teraco commenced the construction of its new hyperscale data centre with 38 megawatts (MW) of critical power load. Last month, the company’s  ACE submarine cable went live and is available for interconnection at three of Teraco’s data centres across South Africa, expanding access to broadband connectivity and digital services in Africa. Spanning approximately 17,000 km along the West Coast of Africa, ACE lands in 19 countries before being backhauled by MTN South Africa, the landing partner, into Teraco’s data centre facilities.

These developments are important for Africa because cloud requires no on-premise storage or physical infrastructure that continuously needs to be updated. This lowers the total cost of ownership and IT maintenance costs in the long run, which is very useful for start-up companies with limited initial budgets. 

In the news

Last week, Zadara announced Africa’s largest network of interconnected, carrier-and cloud-neutral data center facilities, Africa Data Centres, and service provider Global Sense deployed Zadara’s edge cloud services to their marketplace. Zadara products and services are available in Midrand, South Africa with further expansion into all Africa Data Centre locations coming in the not too distant future.

Google also last week named Digicloud Africa the Google Cloud Expansion Partner of the Year for 2020 in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. DigiCloud is one of several of the tech giant’s reseller enablement partners in the region. Others include Incetro Africa,  an IT service provider delivering custom-built cloud-based software solutions for the European and African market. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.