Clouded in Mystery

Cloud computing is changing the way we do business but as Zachary Ochieng finds out, it is the first baptism of fire for a number of CIOs.

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But Adnet's Mr Mwaura has a different view. He feels the region is not ready and businesses have to weigh the pros and cons of Cloud computing. He says it will take some time before the networks are trusted.

"We need to be cautious. We are adapting a lot of technology from the West without considering whether it is relevant to us. Though we have fibres, the redundancy level in Africa is still very low. Personally, I feel Cloud computing is something we need to adopt cautiously. We also need to consider what aspects of our IT information need to go to the cloud. The technology is ripe but Africa is not ready. It may be catching up and people like the phrase but I think it's too early to say it's right for us at the moment", Mwaura observes.

FUTURE LOOKS VERY BRIGHT

That notwithstanding, Longwe says the the future looks very bright for Cloud computing in the region.

"Over the next 12 months initially, we are going to see a number of large players offering cloud services, initially starting at basic level i.e IT as a service; later on we will see Software as a Service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service and disaster recovery as a service. Later on, the industry will begin to grow and become more intricate and start offering CRM as a service", says Longwe.

Those with big money will invest in creating Cloud computing platforms for their own internal use as well as offering services to the outside world. In the next year or so, multinationals will begin to pool their resources as they begin to use Cloud computing facilities within the region given that they are already targeting Kenya due to the availability of the undersea cables.

Longwe says that in the next five years or so, we are going to see a lot of federated clouds, where one cloud can move and grow into another. Initially, this will be seen in Kenya, with the Kenyan private clouds beginning to mesh with the Ugandan, Tanzanian and Rwandan clouds and create larger pools of resources that people are able to share. Private clouds will eventually become public clouds.

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