Enterprise storage trends in Africa

Posted on September 17, 2014 08:34 pm

According to the latest data, Africa is home to six of the top ten fastest growing countries in the world. As the speed of change in African businesses continues to improve, there is need for organisations to provide cost-effective and better performing supportive Information and Technology services.Businesses in Africa have realised that while information is their most valuable asset, it is often the most costly to maintain.In Uganda and Kenya, users are accessing data more frequently from more devices than ever before and that is the similar trend in Burundi,Tanzania and Rwanda in the greater East African region.Today’s business understand that storage, security, access and analysing data at the same time managing it securely and cost-effectively makes the difference between business success and failure.The trend so far has seen business in sub saharan Africa continue to demand IT infrastructures that allow them to rapidly and efficiently deliver quality services.Depending on the region, African business have different storage preferences.In East Africa,Flash storage’s is the most commonly used and this is because of its ability to handle data at much faster rates although cost has hindered its adoption. At the moment,multi-level cell and single-level cell with automated tiering has made customers in East Africa get flash performance at economics equal to disk prices in the western world.

As African business look toward converged infrastructures, the complexities associated with heterogeneity within their environments has been front and centre. In South Africa, Namibia and Angola, the driving force behind converged infrastructures has been the opportunity to increase efficiency and agility in operations, applications and service management. This has led to reduced cost of running applications, faster infrastructure deployments, simplicity and speed of management, and improved time-to-value for application and cloud deployments. Convergence has been easier as business in South Africa choose from physical converged infrastructure offerings where storage, server, networking and management in the same chassis and in the cases of Zambia, Zimbabwe software-based management layer that aggregates customers’ heterogeneous infrastructure investments into a virtual converged infrastructure.  In West Africa, Software-defined storage which means storage architecture that pools together existing and new storage resources and allows developers and other business stakeholders to access these resources without administrator intervention through APIs or even service catalogs. Software Defined Storage has found its way into the business storage in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast where flexibility and reduction of the overall cost of storage has seen its popularity grow significantly.

In North Africa,storage vendors have placed a significant focus on automation and easier-to-manage storage environments to not only reduce storage complexity, but also reduce costs. The most prominent one are the automated snapshots, tiering, virtual server and desktop integration and optimisation, and de-duplication and compression are ways for organisations to apply additional automation to reduce overall storage costs. In Egypt, a study conducted last year revealed that automated tiering helps businesses in Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities to manage data when and where they need it, and in the most cost-effective storage tier. In Tunisia organisations buy storage that is capable of more performance than they might ever consume because they aren’t confident in their ability to measure and configure precise real-time demand for performance.Storage systems with automated tiering have been allowing users to let system determine the optimal tier for data workloads and in some cases allows data to gravitate toward the media choice that best fits its actual needs and budget considerations. Africa’s continuing data explosion and advancements in technology will keep driving momentum as storage users demand innovative solutions to cost effectively keep pace.

Contador Harrison