The datacentre tripartite alliance

IBM, Vodacom and Gijima have partnered to unveil the first IBM cloud datacentre on the African continent.

Read time 3min 30sec
Hamilton Ratshefola, IBM
Hamilton Ratshefola, IBM

South Africa has, once again, scored a first on the African continent. IBM recently unveiled its first datacentre on the continent in the heart of the country's economic hub - Johannesburg.

To successfully launch this massive facility - dubbed the IBM cloud datacentre - the computing company entered a tripartite alliance with Vodacom and Gijima to support cloud adoption and customer demand across the continent.

In Q1 2014, IBM announced a $1.2 billion investment in datacentres around the world and the new datacentre is part of that investment.

The new IBM cloud datacentre is tailored towards running and managing SAP applications and workloads in the cloud and underscores IBM's growing cloud footprint, which now includes 46 cloud datacentres across six continents.

The facility will provide SAP enterprise customers in South Africa and the rest of the continent with access to IBM's global network of cloud datacentres and services expertise. IBM says this will enable businesses to run critical applications in the cloud, providing access to a broad array of services for building in-country cloud solutions, while offering faster network speeds to improve performance and reach endusers even faster.

With this new datacentre, IBM is looking to capitalise on the opportunities that the South African cloud computing market presents. Research firm IDC says South Africa's cloud computing market is expected to grow to $249.6 million in 2016, with a continued focus on public cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service spending.

IBM, Vodacom and Gijima say the new datacentre is a significant development for the tech industry in terms of building the local capacity to use and leverage new technology platforms. It's also noteworthy for South Africa as the datacentre provides a cloud managed-services offering for Infrastructure- as-a-Service, as well as SAPcertified Platform-as-a-Service, they note. For the first time, enterprise businesses can shift to cloud-managed services, but ensure data sovereignty and protection.


The companies say bringing together Vodacom's network and Africa footprint, Gijima's SAP enterprise expertise, and IBM's cloud platforms will create a powerhouse in cloud services.

"We're working to drive cloud adoption that best leverages an enterprise's existing IT investments," says Hamilton Ratshefola, IBM country general manager in South Africa. "Our new cloud datacentre gives organisations a local onramp to IBM cloud services, including moving mission-critical SAP workloads to the cloud with ease. It also gives customers the added flexibility of keeping data within the country, which is a key differentiator for IBM."

CIOs are looking to gain efficiencies and cut costs by moving more of their IT infrastructure, applications and processes into the cloud.

Vuyani Jarana, Vodacom Business

"The increase of enterprise cloud computing on the continent is being driven by large enterprises and multinational organisations expanding their presence and IT requirements across Africa," says Vuyani Jarana, chief officer of Vodacom Business. "CIOs are looking to gain efficiencies and cut costs by moving more of their IT infrastructure, applications and processes into the cloud. Vodacom's extensive fixed and mobile network infrastructure, pan-African and global footprint and its investment in datacentre infrastructure provide the ideal platform and environment to deliver cloud services to large and multinational enterprises."

Eileen Wilton, CEO of Gijima, believes that the timing for the introduction of the managed cloud service offering on South African soil is opportune as the industry readies itself to respond to local enterprise requirements in accelerating their digitalisation strategies.

"Further, we have successfully completed our turnaround and are now embarking on a new strategy underpinned by new offerings for our clients," says Wilton.

"Gijima is investing in its capabilities and will be creating cloud training for onboarding; it will focus its efforts to help its organisations have a cloud strategy and products that are right for it."

This article was first published in the June 2016 edition of ITWeb Brainstorm magazine. To read more, go to the Brainstorm website.

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