IBM targets SOEs, enterprises with new Cloud Satellite

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Craig Holmes, IBM Southern Africa technology executive.
Craig Holmes, IBM Southern Africa technology executive.

Tech giant IBM says it anticipates rapid adoption of its Cloud Satellite service in SA, as it prepares to fully launch the public cloud platform nationwide.

Announced globally in March, IBM Cloud Satellite is an extension of the IBM Public Cloud that runs inside the customer's data centre or out at the edge, from any cloud vendor.

It is based on Red Hat’s OpenShift and connected via a satellite link, which acts as a control panel to bring a secured, unifying layer of cloud services for clients across environments, regardless of where their data resides.

During a recent virtual round table, Craig Holmes, IBM Southern Africa technology executive, explained the satellite service is the tech giant’s answer to establishing a data centre region in Africa, as the company has no immediate plans of setting up data centres on the continent.

The satellite service, being tested at IBM’s local innovation centre, will enable partners to develop solutions and service capabilities, particularly for cloud services, to help local organisations implement their digital strategies, he added.

“We see a tremendous opportunity for Cloud Satellite in SA – and we are in early trials and commercial discussions with a number of companies in SA,” said Holmes.

“We believe we will see a rapid adoption of our Cloud Satellite in SA, especially from state-owned organisations and privately-owned enterprises that require heavy security and customer data privacy.”

In 2018, IBM, in collaboration with Chinese multinational tech giant Huawei and IT services company Gijima, launched the “first government cloud” service, which saw the migration of South African government data to cloud services.

Holmes pointed out that IBM is constantly looking for partners to develop solutions, expertise and cloud-based service capabilities, as local firms increasingly make their cloud shift.

Around 84% of surveyed South African C-Suite executives are either pursuing or planning hybrid cloud strategies, according to an IBM study conducted by research firm International Data Corporation.

While cloud promises to alleviate common business pain points, many local enterprises are still struggling to unlock the desired and potential business outcomes from their cloud solutions, notes IBM.

The company believes IBM Cloud Satellite will help address critical data privacy and data sovereignty requirements in various industries, including telecommunications, financial services and healthcare.

In light of the Protection of Personal Information Act which took effect on 1 July, Holmes added the service would provide efficiency and security to workloads related to online learning, remote work and telehealth services.

IBM recently announced it is investing $1 billion to help its global partners and their customers remain at the forefront of hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, to assist them in navigating through the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic.

The company is investing in developing emerging tech skills, expertise and support by ensuring partners are trained and highly skilled as part of its drive to increase competencies amid the IT skills shortage across the globe.

"New programmes, funding and a simplified approach empower our partners to deliver innovation for customers. This will also drive IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI strategy as customers modernise, migrate cloud workloads and infuse AI into their businesses,” noted Holmes.

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