SURVEY: SA lags in cloud adoption

By Alison Job
Johannesburg, 24 Feb 2021
Riaan Graham, enterprise director for CommScope sub-Saharan Africa.
Riaan Graham, enterprise director for CommScope sub-Saharan Africa.

A recent data centre survey, conducted by ITWeb in partnership with CommScope, the survey results, found that 36% of respondents had an in-house data centre, while 32% used a combination of in-house and co-located data centres, and 11% used a co-location facility. The remainder (22%) used cloud services. 

"A fair margin of businesses still favour in-house data centres, although we’re seeing a distinct move towards co-location," says Riaan Graham, enterprise director for CommScope sub-Saharan Africa, comments. “I would have expected to see stronger adoption of cloud-based services, but this statistic could be owing to security concerns, a lack of data centre infrastructure or even cost. Compared to EMEA, it seems that local businesses have a relatively low uptake of cloud-based services.”

Nearly half (47%) of respondents plan to change their storage vendors over the next 12 months, while 36% are looking at changing their virtualisation software and server vendors. Just over a third (35%) are considering changing their security vendors and a 32% may change networking suppliers.

“The fact that almost half of respondents will change storage vendor says they’re probably shopping around for better services versus cost, which is a good thing as a reactive market is good for everyone.

"There seems to be a lack of loyalty towards specific vendors in general. We’re seeing a more dynamic market with a growing number of players emerging, offering businesses options in terms of service and cost.”

Data centre investment is expected to increase over the next 12 months by 64% of respondents, while 18% expect it to remain flat and 17% expect it to decrease. 

Graham says this is to be expected, with a number of data centres under construction in South Africa. “There’s always rapid uptake of new data centres that offer proper storage, security and value to the market.”

Growth in data centre capacity is being driven by a myriad of things, with a combination of data volumes and number of applications heading the list (38%) followed closely by just data volumes (37%) and just number of applications (16%).

Compared to EMEA, it seems that local businesses have a relatively low uptake of cloud-based services.

Some 36% of respondents review their data centre strategy more than once a year, and a third (32%) review it annually. A low percentage - 8% - review it less than once a year. A quarter (24%) weren’t sure how often their data centre strategy was reviewed.

“A data centre strategy is critical in today’s market. The CTO, COO and CFO need to constantly re-evaluate how they can optimise the business’s offering as well as their investment in the data centre. At the heart of an organisation’s capability, the data centre requires a proper strategy to support it.”

Data centre modernisation plans included migration to the cloud (59%), with colocation and managed services (29%) and consolidation (12%) also featuring.

“Cloud-based services represent a marriage between risk and reward and while cloud saves costs and is scalable, businesses are concerned about security.”

Asked to rate how critical it is for them to have enhanced application performance with close to zero downtime, 89% of respondents said it was extremely important, with 11% saying it was somewhat important. “I’d say that the 11% are obviously not in key industries or impacted by real-time data connectivity or transfers,” says Graham.

Three quarters of respondents (76%) say they have a strategy to move to the cloud but, interestingly, 24% have no plans to migrate to the cloud. “This statistic indicates that while businesses have a strategy for cloud, they haven’t pulled trigger just yet. 

"Again, this leaves us lagging behind the US and Europe on cloud adoption,” concludes Graham. 

About the survey

ITWeb, in partnership with CommScope, conducted a survey on the status of South African organisations’ data centres.

The survey ran online for three weeks during November 2020 and sought to uncover how much companies were planning on investing in their data centres over the next 12 months, what’s driving growth in data centre capacity and how often data centre strategies are reviewed.

A total of 110 responses were captured, with 59% of respondents being at executive or middle management level, working in a range of industries, and 66% of respondents coming from the IT, government and financial sectors.