Oracle ups IaaS push in SA

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Cherian Varghese, Oracle VP and MD of technology in Africa.
Cherian Varghese, Oracle VP and MD of technology in Africa.

Enterprise software giant Oracle is targeting SA's growing infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market.

This was revealed by Cherian Varghese, Oracle's VP and managing director of technology in Africa, in a recent interview with ITWeb. This was after the company held its Oracle Digital Day hosted in 25 Africa countries simultaneously.

A recent report by Synergy Research Group notes Amazon is maintaining its dominant market share in public cloud services, followed by Microsoft, Google and IBM respectively. It adds the next 10 cloud providers in the ranking have slipped off the pace a little, though this group does include Alibaba and Oracle, which continue to grow at impressive rates.

According to market analyst firm Gartner, the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 18% in 2017 to total $246.8 billion, up from $209.2 billion in 2016. The firm says the highest growth will come from cloud system infrastructure services (IaaS), which is projected to grow 36.8% in 2017 to reach $34.6 billion.

Last month, Oracle reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and adjusted revenue as the business software maker benefits from its transition to cloud-based products. Sales of the company's cloud computing software and platform service rose nearly 62% to $1.19 billion, while its software licensing business fell nearly 16%.

"Driving IaaS adoption across Africa is a key focus for Oracle," says Varghese. "While the business benefits of the public cloud are increasingly clear, organisations face a myriad of performance, security and management concerns which means they can't simply abandon their existing IT practices and move all workloads to a multi-tenant cloud world."

He points out SA has, traditionally, been an early adopter of latest technologies, and the same is true for IaaS. "Our IaaS offerings enable organisations to be agile while reducing cost and enhancing speed to connect with customers and partners."

Nonetheless, Varghese says, IaaS adoption in SA is in its early stages. "At Oracle, we are focused on raising awareness among the public and private sector regarding the benefits of IaaS cloud solutions. Awareness and lack of complete information regarding the benefits of adopting IaaS and managing change is a key challenge."

He explains that in today's dynamic and rapidly evolving economic scenario, organisations across all industry verticals are focused on securing maximum value while also cutting costs. The same is true for public sector entities as they aim to deliver seamless services while reducing investments and efforts to build and maintain a complex IT infrastructure, he adds.

With the roll out of Oracle IaaS solutions in SA and the rest of Africa, Varghese says, Oracle has realigned its sales team.

"We are focusing on a cloud-first approach. We have initiated a massive programme to train our sales and pre-sales team on identifying key cloud opportunities, educate our customers and partners and allay any concern about moving to the cloud.

"We have launched a unique TCO calculator. With this new tool, businesses can, in an instant, establish the amount they will save by moving to the cloud. Within a few minutes, businesses can compare the cost of running their applications on-premises versus IaaS."

He notes the calculator can present a valuable report outlining savings and benefits to support a business's case for migration.

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