Africa's cloud is hybrid, but adoption varies across regions

Cloud readiness depends on conditions -- including infrastructure reliability, cloud POP presence, and regulatory regime -- within each region, and even each country.

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Globally, CIOs see hybrid cloud as the future, and this is more true in Africa than in other regions due to a variety of factors including spotty infrastructure, regulatory regimes that often hamper telecommunications buildout, and a general wariness toward third-party outsourcing.

A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index Report finds that 85 percent of the 2,650 IT decision makers surveyed in multiple industries and business sizes from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa see hybrid cloud as their ideal IT operating model.

IBM touts hybrid cloud as the darling of digital banking following its embrace by the likes of Bank of America and Australia's WestPac. The financial services arena in Africa is seeing similar moves. Top South African banks like Standard Bank and Old Mutual have chosen AWS as their preferred cloud provider to enable them to migrate part of their production workloads to the cloud.

Hybrid cloud has different definitions but essentially it is a computing environment designed to allow enterprises to run applications and share data simultaneously across multiple clouds -- public and private -- and on-premises data centres. In Africa, many enterprises will end up straddling public and private cloud environments by necessity, given the fact that public cloud services on the continent will for at least the medium term remain limited.

In Africa, even though top-line annual cloud services revenue will double in the 2018-2023 period to hit US$3.8 billion, at the moment only about 30 percent of the revenue generated is through public cloud, according to a Xalam Analytics "State of Cloud 2019" report on Africa. And even at the end of the period in question, about 60 percent of cloud revenue will come via private cloud services, Xalam predicted.

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