There can be no doubt that 2020 was the year in which digital transformation became mainstream, accelerating South African organisations’ journey to the cloud.
“When it comes to cloud, Covid-19 had a massive impact,” says Phil Bradley, NetApp Business Manager at CoCre8 Technology Solutions.
“This is particularly true in South Africa where remote working has traditionally been discouraged, but now being enforced.”
And this has had a knock-on effect on the type of servers, storage and networking that organisations are investing in.
“The move to remote working has led to organisations spending less on their own infrastructure and more on cloud services, be it Microsoft services or the development of new applications for remote work integration on other public cloud platforms,” Bradley says.
In the past, many enterprises were reluctant to move their data into the cloud because they couldn’t be sure where it would end up being stored – but this concern has been addressed with the hyperscaler cloud providers now well-established in the local market.
“The launch of Microsoft Azure’s and AWS’s data centres in South Africa has reduced the risk of data sovereignty problems for many South African organisations, allowing them to utilise cloud services with less potential consequence than before,” Bradley explains.
“Backup-as-a-service (BaaS) is also on the increase with a number of private cloud service providers offering varying levels of backup and disaster recovery services.”
“Many South African organisations are also embracing the ability to utilise cloudbased, on-demand artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) functions to quickly and seamlessly integrate these exciting new technologies into their customer and business offerings and functions,” he adds.
There are many compelling reasons to consider storage in the cloud, but Bradley points out that there are challenges too. “The most significant issue that organisations encounter when moving to public cloud is the expense,” he says.
“Cloud resources are – by far – less expensive than on-premise infrastructure. However, it’s a completely different infrastructure medium and the architecture of the client’s environment has to take that into consideration. “
“One cannot simply lift and shift most on-premise workloads to the cloud using the legacy designs for compute, memory and storage allocations,” he cautions.
“That’s where many organisations get burnt.”
Bradley explains that cloud architectures are use case-specific, and the allocation of compute, memory and storage needs to be elastic, switching systems on and off when required, scaling resources up or down as needed and even enabling the ability to switch the instances off, so customers don’t have to pay when they aren’t using the resource.
“Cloud storage is also very different,” Bradley adds. “Organisations have been caught out by unforeseen costs associated with ingress and egress of data and naturally the appropriate type of storage utilisation for any given application.”
The CoCre8 and NetApp solution
NetApp helps to simplify and accelerate an organisation’s cloud transformation by delivering unmatched control, protection, automation and efficiency for data workloads and applications running in the cloud, says Bradley.
NetApp has also partnered with the world’s largest public clouds, so its tightly integrated cloud service offerings make it easy to migrate and manage your workloads with ease.
As a key NetApp partner in South Africa and Africa, CoCre8 is embarking on a “NetAppreboot” campaign, essentially focusing on South African market sectors where NetApp has traditionally not previously participated.
“CoCre8 is starting relevant conversations related to the ‘new NetApp’,” Bradley says.
Of course, NetApp itself is not a new company, he points out. The organisation has been delivering data management solutions for over 20 years, leading the market as a top storage vendor in a number of European countries as well as in APAC and the US.
And NetApp ONTAP is the number one storage management software globally. Bradley says the new conversations aim to increase awareness of the range of solutions that NetApp offers, and to cement its position as the leading cloud data management solution provider.
“Often, we enter into conversations with clients who remember NetApp as just a NAS device, and some who have a picture of NetApp as a unified storage system, capable of both SAN for block and NAS for file protocols.“
“Often, people are not aware that NetApp is a truly Modern Unified Storage and data management solution.”
He describes Modern Unified Storage as the concept of having one platform for everything.
“A unified solution simultaneously supports mixed architectures, environments, infrastructure, workloads, protocols, data, and media.”
NetApp Reboot by CoCre8 is about cultivating a new mindset within its partner and customer communities.
“This means increasing the market awareness of NetApp’s storage management heritage and innovative ethos that has positioned them as a world leader in hybrid cloud data management solutions,” according to Bradley.
Leading in multi-cloud data management
NetApp is no longer just an on-premise storage hardware provider, Bradley explains.
“The company is leading the way globally in software-defined data management across multi-cloud. Whether it’s on-premise, private, hybrid or public cloud, NetApp can ensure you reduce your wastage within the cloud and thereby your expenditure.”
Two key NetApp solutions that address some of the challenges associated with cloud adoption are Spot by NetApp and Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
“Neither of these solutions require an overhaul of your on-premise infrastructure,” says Bradley.
“Instead, they complement existing environments.”
Spot by NetApp helps customers overcome nasty public cloud financial surprises, using AI/ML to help organisations utilise Spot Instances.
A Spot Instance is an unused compute instance that is available for less than the on-demand price in Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
If customers are already using a Spot Instance, Spot will protect them against unexpected evictions common to these types of consumption models.
Spot technology uses machine learning and analytics algorithms that enable users to utilise spot capacity for production and mission-critical workloads.
This allows them to enjoy up to 90% cloud compute cost reduction with SLAs and SLOs that guarantee availability.
Spot continuously scours the different capacity pools across operating systems, instance types, availability zones, regions, and cloud providers to make the most intelligent decisions in real-time regarding which instances to choose for provisioning and which ones to proactively rebalance and replace.
For cloud operations agility, Spot uses application-driven provisioning to effortlessly and affordably scale any workload, from stateful single instances to cloud-native VM-based or Kubernetes clusters.
Spot uses the ideal mix of cloud compute resources, from on-demand to reserved and spot instances, based on the dynamic needs of the application.
In addition, Spot extends your Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/ CD) pipeline of choice with Continuous Optimisation (CO) to complete the application delivery pipeline.
“The technology has recently been adopted by a global virtualisation software company, a number of global electronic, telecommunication and third-party IT giants, among others.”
“And they have saved over $250-million across AWS, Azure and GCP directly off their bills.”
Cloud Volumes ONTAP (CVO) leverages the NetApp ONTAP operating system in the cloud, bringing enterprise grade data management tools such as de-duplication, compression and compaction to reduce a customer’s Cloud “footprint” and drive down their cloud storage spend.
CVO also adds benefits such as enterprise grade security, snapshot, replication and data management capabilities.
Customers don’t need to replace existing on-premise infrastructure since CVO is software-defined and therefore integrates with third-party arrays.
“Typically this means a reduction in your costs of somewhere between 40% and 50% of cloud compute and storage bills – and we have seen numbers as high as 70% for some organisations,” Bradley says.
“More importantly, it frees up resources to undertake core business functions and achieves these results in a standardised, repeatable way while mitigating risk and at the same time can also be centrally controlled and monitored.”
The resilient architecture solves data loss and downtime problems before they occur, using cross-zone high-availability, cross-region DR replication, built-in backup to object storage, and instant restore from point-in-time snapshots.
Overall, CVO creates unified storage to give customers a single great experience on any cloud.