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Firms go for Cloud Computing to store data

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – Local companies and public sector players seeking to cut their capital expenditure (CAPEX) on IT are considering Cloud Computing services for information storage.

Speaking during a media workshop hosted by Safaricom on cloud computing on Wednesday, EMC Sales Manager for East Africa Mumo Musembi said saving on capital and operational costs for most companies are key drivers to move to Cloud services.

“Typically when a company needs to procure IT or get an application they always have to go and buy servers and storage applications. Moving to Cloud Computing takes away that purchase, so it’s moving from buying to renting,” he said.

Musembi added that his company, a multi-national computer systems firm, registered huge gains after moving its applications to the Cloud Computing system.

As far as IT benefits, EMC saw a $12 million (Sh1.1 billion) cut on power and space saving and saving another $74 million (Sh6.9 billion) on data centre equipment after transferring just 25 percent of its mission critical applications to the Cloud.

“We saw a 34 percent increase in energy efficiency and saved $11 million (Sh1 billion) in operational expenditure costs,” he revealed.

It is estimated that 11 percent of most companies’ IT budgets are spent on new applications while the other 89 percent goes to maintaining those applications and software programs.

Safaricom Head of Enterprise Sales Evans Nyagah said the company has already attracted clients from both the private and public sectors since launching the Cloud service last month.

“We have on board the public sector 90 percent of which is the government. When you come to the corporate world we already have about five customers confirmed and we have 11 other customers on a proof of concept,” he said.

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Global Cloud Computing services revenue is expected to hit $148.8 billion come 2014, according to recent Gartner research.

Though the Cloud is still a fairly new concept to the African region, global giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Google have for the last year been trying to convince other companies to give up building and managing their own data centres and use their computer capacity instead.

Since the technology has recently entered the market, concerns surrounding how to secure it and police it are arising.

As a result some companies have not held such a utopian view of Cloud Computing, expressing scepticism in the idea of outsourcing IT services to an outside vendor.

Nyagah said Safaricom that holds Africa’s largest indigenous cloud, has based its security standards on global benchmarks for cloud providers with a 99.999 percent reliability.

“We have endorsements from the biggest technology players, which are EMC and Cisco and that means during our deployment we had to make sure our cloud environment was up to standard,” he said.

The Safaricom Cloud is locally hosted with the support of its partners EMC, Seven Seas Technologies and Cisco offering data storage and backup services on a pay-per-use basis.

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