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The Margin Q1 2020

The Margin Q1 2020

South Africa now has threepublic cloud regions. Thefirst, Azure, which landed in2019, is said to be enjoyingstrong growth, but we’re alsogetting the big one – Amazon Web Services– sometime in the next couple of months.Oracle has also joined the party.
According to AWS channel chief DougYeum, with whom I spoke recently, wheneverit switches on a region, there’s a jump ineconomic activity in that territory, which willbe particularly welcome.

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We’re taking a close look at the world ofpublic cloud this quarter, which has evolvedfrom the days when people thought it wasthe answer to all their woes.
It’s perhaps not fair to say there’s a‘problem’ with public cloud, and the pictureis more nuanced. The hyperscalers roll outmore and more services in the hope they’llbe used, and if they’re not, well, perhaps thecustomer, particularly in South Africa, isn’tready yet. As our piece says, it pays to thinkabout what you want to put in the cloud. Acompany called LanDynamix had a hand indesigning an IT strategy for a local SME,and management was keen to simplify theIT function. Cloud, it was thought, would bethe way to do this, but the business casefor buying on-premises servers won out inthe end. It’s important to note that this wasa small company, and it was not going todouble in size any time soon.
evertheless, we are on an unstoppablejourney. If there’s any chance your businesswill grow – or needs to scale its computeresources, say, during a sales period or atthe end of the month – cloud is usually thefirst option because of its ease of use. Itnow appears, however, that a hybrid cloudapproach is gaining momentum. This is amélange of private, on-prem and third partycloud, and the workloads, at least in theory,flow between them. A survey by Nutanixshows that 84% of local respondents aremoving their public apps back on-prem. Thiscompares to 73% globally, and 71% in EMEA.The survey said these apps are typicallyheaded for traditional datacentres.
These companies are, however, notstopping their journey, they’re just being alittle more careful.
Meanwhile, growth in the global cloudinfrastructure services market is showingno signs of slowing down. Canalys reportsthat it grew 37% in Q4, to over $30 billion.AWS is the leader, with 32% of the market,followed by Azure at 18% (an improvementfrom 15%), then Google (6%) and Alibaba(5%). Total spending for the year was at$107 billion compared to $78 billion the yearbefore, said the research house, adding thatthis underscored the relentless expansion ofthe IT industry, driven in large part by digitaltransformation schemes in all verticals.
With increasing competition, it’s alsobecoming a fractious market. AWS lost outto Azure for the JEDI defence contract lastyear, a decision they’re appealing. Therewas another spat in early February whenAWZ rebutted claims by Azure that SQLran faster on its platform. Not so fast, saidAWS, complaining that the benchmarkswere skewed in its rival’s favour. I thinkwe can expect a lot more of this. As ourmarket matures, however, it’s not a case ofeither AWS or Azure. Look instead to yourworkload, and think where it will run best.

Matthew Burbidge
Editor
matthew@itweb.co.za



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