As the only gold certified Microsoft Cloud Operating System Network (COSN) partner in Africa, Business Connexion (BCX) has launched the first pay-as-you-go service for Windows Azure Pack out of its carrier-neutral, certified Tier IV data centre. The solution combines enterprise-class control and compliance with a fully managed service and self-provisioning, providing clients with flexibility and increasing their agility in the market.
“There is no doubt that local markets are becoming increasingly competitive,” says Jacques Loubser, managing executive of Converged Infrastructure Solutions, at Business Connexion. He adds, “technology in itself is also no longer a differentiator, but has rather become an enabler. This, coupled with a need to be more innovative and agile, is driving cloud adoption across the continent and is transforming the data centre.
“One of the biggest benefits of this solution lies is that it is hosted locally. It reduces latency, or the amount of time it takes for a data packet to travel from source to destination and solves the issues around data sovereignty,” says Loubser. Comparing the movement of data to travel, he notes, “travelling to an international versus a local destination will naturally take longer and cost more and the movement of data is no different.”
According to IDC’s 2015 Top 10 ICT Predictions for Africa, security concerns are increasing due the increase in mobile device, data and access methods. IDC believes this will drive governments on the continent to address cyber security legislation and look at further country-specific data protection that could require in-country presence and hosting.
“Clients are increasingly prioritising dealing with a local partner as it creates a sense of comfort being able to deal with directly with a person where the data resides. It also simplifies the support process and eliminates the need to bring an additional support partner into the fold. They are also looking to consolidate the number of vendors they deal with,” adds Loubser. “We are also the first COSN partner to make the self-service control panel available in Africa. Through this panel clients that know what they want can purchase the technology they need online, simplifying the procurement process,” he continues. The Windows Azure Pack solution can also be deployed in the client’s own data centre.
The launch of this solution marks a major milestone in Business Connexion's journey. “We have evolved from being a system integrator to cloud integrator and our vision is to, by 2020, become the cloud integrator of the Internet of Things,” says Loubser. “We apply the same consistent framework that Microsoft uses in their data centres in our own. What is key, however, is that we can manage the subscriptions and services through one single pane of glass. As the cloud becomes more commercialised and we add more services, this will all be managed seamlessly through one interface that is easy to use and provides transparency to the client,” he concludes.
As a control panel for Windows Azure Pack delivery, Business Connexion chose Odin Service Automation, a leading end-to-end cloud enablement platform. “Business Connexion is the first in the market to offer a fully automated smooth customer experience for ordering and managing virtual infrastructure from the local cloud based on Microsoft Azure. Coupled with top-notch data center facilities and Business Connexion industry expertise, it creates for a unique offering for the South African market”, says Alex Fine, sales director Sub-Saharan Africa at Odin.