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Disaster recovery in Africa makes cloud attractive

Rebecca Wanjiku | March 16, 2011
The entry of multinational corporations into African markets, along with increased attention and investment in disaster recovery and business continuity, has led to the growth of cloud services on the continent, analysts say.

Internet Solutions is one of the major companies offering cloud services through its MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) platform, with data centers in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Mozambique.

"All cloud based services are deployed in a cluster format; multiple instances are replicated throughout the IS cloud across the continent and data is also separately backed up," said Loren Bosch, sales director for Internet Solutions in Kenya. "The global IS network is built on an MPLS platform and have invested in multiple international capacity options within the group, to make sure our network intelligent enough to switch to alternate services when unexpected disasters occur."


Big corporations with big budgets have been able to benefit from large-scale cloud services involving computing infrastructure and software. Smaller companies' use of cloud services is more limited, however, and often focuses on marketing via e-mail and mobile devices. In Africa, the growth of the "mobile cloud" has been spurred by efforts to expand business into areas with poor infrastructure, which typically provide minimal economic returns on investment.

Cloud-services and infrastructure providers who take the lead in offering mobile services are therefore likely to be early winners, according to market observers.

"The quality of provisioning through self service portals and the simplicity of use will determine the default leaders in the market for cloud services -- mobility will play a major role as consumers target ease of access," said Seven Seas' Macharia.

Service providers that get in the market early and expand aggressively are likely to become defaults leaders, in much the same way as

Safaricom became dominant in the mobile money arena by launching M-Pesa early on, he said.

"The ability to scale ... will determine the rate of growth both in terms of revenue and actual size for entrants into the public cloud market and will likely result into a customer lock-in model similar to the trends witnessed in the evolution of M-pesa services," Macharia said.


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