Africa could lead in moves to hybrid enterprise

By Tracy Burrows, South Africa

With less legacy infrastructure to hold it back and rapid moves to mobile and cloud, African enterprise could become a leader in moves to the hybrid enterprise, says Karl Campbell, Regional Vice President for the UK and South Africa at Riverbed Technology.

Riverbed explains that hybrid enterprise is not to be confused with hybrid cloud: Hybrid cloud is when both private and public clouds are used by an organisation to deliver applications, store data etc. It can form part of the hybrid enterprise, but the hybrid enterprise refers to an organisation that uses a mix of on-premise and cloud/SaaS apps that use MPLS and public Internet connections. In a hybrid enterprise, the data and applications are located in a combination of data centres, branch offices and the cloud.

Gartner expects nearly three quarters of large enterprises expect to have hybrid deployments by 2015. In Africa, Riverbed sees multinationals making the first moves to hybrid, says Campbell. “They are looking at smarter ways to manage services to branches, control their levels of service and reduce points of failure. But the single biggest motivator for many clients in emerging markets is moving data offsite to improve data security, reduce the risk of a loss of data and cut the cost of data recovery,” he says.

Across Africa, public sector organisations are also starting to see the potential benefits of a hybrid model. “In departments managing citizen grants, for example, it is critically important to safeguard records. Moving data out of branch office supports this.”

Riverbed reports that organisations in key growth areas such as Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique are well placed to begin strategizing and rearchitecting their systems to start moving to a hybrid model.

Moving to a hybrid model does, however, raise the question of the skills needed to do so. Campbell expects to see growing demand in Africa for systems analysts, architects and engineers to support changing enterprise needs. 

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