Cloud computing will shape the future of how businesses will operate in Africa; It is now dictating how IT services are being consumed and how they play critical part of every company's business offerings.

CIO East Africa's Peter Nalika meets two tech allies, Tony Munro who flew into Kenya with lots of cloud orchestration intellectual skills and Joseph Kairigo who has deep roots of the East African market cloud intel as to why cloud will be a big deal for Kenyan businesses and help move half of their work load to this platform.

They are both convinced that by Dimension Data, acquiring OpSource, a skilled cloud company based in the US, it will play a critical role in helping East African organizations effectively adopt cloud architecture.

The cloud, Dimension Data new venture

Tony Munro, the Solution Executive, Dimension Data, terms their cloud as a world class leading opportunity that they bring to Kenya. Many of African countries can leverage cloud to accelerate their approach into the world class infrastructure which might cost more if they try to build it themselves.

"The main pitch is not broad to everybody; we are looking at the government, service providers and making the industry aware of the benefits that cloud can bring and again try to demisfy the cloud journey," says Munro.

"In many cases everybody is taking about cloud and supposedly they got one, we try to clarify the difference between cloud, hosting, what features make the cloud worthwhile and quite a bit of education on what Dimension Data actually thinks of the cloud," says Joseph Kairigo, the MD Dimension Data, East Africa.

When did Dimension Data bring cloud services to Africa?

From an African continent perspective, which is more broader, we announced our cloud strategy February this year after purchasing a US based company "OpSource" out of Silicon Valley and previous relationship with NTT from a global network point of view with a lot of integration skills has led to what Dimension Data is today. We got managed cloud platform.

(MCP) from the OpSource environment, and cloud controls, which are the stuff that basically does the orchestration. Orchestration, the billing, the security, this is the part that people are still battling with, this is

What is taking time of people who are building their own cloud infrastructure? To be honest this is what gives cloud the characteristics.

How are you going to make it in this market?

One of our main elements of strategies is to enable service providers to provide cloud, to businesses, government departments or central government entity to be able to link and utilize the cloud. If you look at it, we have been in the business of enabling service providers to bring cloud in the market. We do though has a cloud exchange, which is a global network of cloud environments (a network of MCPs)

This allows people to have access to global cloud network, for example if you outsource client from a US based and you are a Kenyan based company, you are able to spin up virtual machine for a cloud instance in the US.

This will then get away with a number of latency issues that one will pick up, and so many issues.

So when you talk about survive, i think what we have is a leading enablement environment, this is key. We are collaborating with Microsoft into bring Lynch, SharePoint and exchange for those environments that are not going to engage into office 365.This is one of the top services that has enabled us step in the cloud. Cloud is a fairly doubting thing for many client environment to take a step on it, however they should hold their breath and jump in, our role is to facilitate their journey and make sure every step on the way we a solution ability help them migrate to the cloud rather than have a giant leap for that matter.

Do you have any clients in the pipeline

We obviously are targeting certain markets, however we can't say we have client X or Y onboard at the moment, but the bigger picture is enabling the service provider. For instance if a service provider would want to build a cloud today, a lot is involved, they would require a data center and skills to offer the services, then you will need solutions like the servers and hardware, and the orchestration (Billing unit) all this is a complex entity.

A good number of existing service providers don't have the capacity to do all this, Dimension Data is picking intellectual capacity from OpSource, then bring it into Africa. Ordinary we would not have thought of such solutions and help launch the services in a couple of months.

So enabling service providers, who will offer these services to government departments which will be in a position to share computing power and avoid the necessity of each ministry to build their own. Simply we are offering B2B services and to individuals who can purchase MCP on virtual machines using credit cards or a contract or a payment mechanism that will spin up this platform today.

What is your solution like, security wise

Key element of cloud is security, If you don't get security right, what you are doing is creating vulnerability. Critically important if you look at the cloud architecture it is not built with security bolted on it but from the core app. Part of the solution is right down to a VLAN level as part of the spin up process of a virtual machine which is actually unique. If starts from the physically level all the way up as we move to the virtual environment.