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2020: the year containerisation dominates PaaS

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How will infrastructure evolve and provide the sourcing, migration and delivery of services for today’s digital migration? According to Benjamin Coetzer, Director, Routed – a vendor neutral cloud infrastructure developer – Platform as a Service in conjunction with the rising trend of containerisation, is delivering these answers.

As of 2019, Gartner says that the total Platform as a Service (PaaS) market contains more than 360 vendors, offering more than 550 cloud platform services in 21 categories. Gartner expects that, from 2018 to 2022, the market will double in size and that PaaS will be the prevailing platform delivery model moving forward.

Coetzer says that the adoption of PaaS has boomed leading to an increasing and subsequent uptake of containerisation: “Enterprises are embracing containers at a much faster pace than expected, giving rise to Containerisation as a Service (CaaS). The thriving open source community combined with the availability of mature commercial offerings has given much needed confidence to enterprise customers.”

He says that containers will redefine the hybrid cloud by bridging the gap between legacy and modern applications and on-premises and public cloud infrastructure.

“As software providers become more comfortable with building out containerised applications and consuming PaaS offerings, more and more responsibilities will be moved away from consumers of cloud infrastructure.  What will become vital is workload mobility, the ability to move applications between cloud infrastructure providers, to avoid vendor lock-in scenarios, which is a huge risk currently,” says Coetzer.

Migration from on-premise to cloud, or cloud-to-cloud remains fairly primitive and will become crucial for adoption in the years to come. Coetzer says that VMware is already working towards a multi-cloud management platform to enable this scenario. He expects more vendors to develop competing offerings but says that the VMWare platform is currently leading this race.

“Containers are changing the way resources and services are consumed by developers, from internal or external cloud infrastructure providers. It’s also introducing new networking and security challenges, which are being addressed by NFV solutions. There are some exciting projects that are changing the face of private cloud infrastructure hosting facilities, while the cloud giants Azure and AWS have been feverishly innovating Kubernetes-as-a-Service offerings and expanding on their already vast Platform-as-a-Service offerings,’ says Coetzer.

According to Forbes, Kubernetes has become the front and centre of enterprise container platforms. From traditional OS vendors to modern PaaS providers, every major platform vendor has a commercial Kubernetes offering making it the new operating system of the data centre. Traditional PaaS has gradually transformed into a container management platform. PaaS industry leaders have embraced Kubernetes as the foundation of their platforms and according to Forbes, 2019 will witness the complete transformation of PaaS into CaaS.

Coetzer sees this trend extending locally making 2020 an exciting year for further digital transformation.

South African cloud adoption curve increases its trajectory

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The cloud adoption curve should plateau in South Africa, according to Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, a vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider. As a result of the rapid digital transformation taking place, cloud engagement is on the increase according to Cruise. He says that IDC research also states that 93 per cent of South African companies are developing cloud strategies, and are either in the implementation phase or planning implementation in the near future.

“There is a clear shift towards more agile platforms and the establishment of South Africa as a natural hub for regional expansion. The establishment of two Microsoft Azure cloud data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town is clear evidence of this transformation. The emergence of companies like Microsoft, into the local market, is likely to see a move away from personal clouds, favoured by business, to more powerful and reliable public clouds.”

Adopting a new mindset, Cruise says that local organisations have started to address the three main stumbling blocks for cloud adoption: cloud infrastructure, data protection concerns and conservative financing structures: “Digital transformation and its sub-sets such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning (ML) are all increasing the pressure on local organisations to more quickly adopt a cloud strategy. Mobility will also continue to play a role in the overall cloud-effectiveness of organisations.”

Having addressed security concerns, cloud providers have strengthened their platforms, easing the potential cloud-adoption burden for organisations. Cruise says that the next shift will come as workloads are migrated to the cloud: “We anticipate this shift to take place in the fintech space as well as in the manufacturing sector over the next five years. There is a belief that this will assist with accelerating time-to-market and reinvigorate new business models.”

The increasing competition between cloud vendors such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon’s AWS will assist in further developing the local cloud market: “Not only is competition healthy, but this brings further investment and development, all of which bodes well for South Africa.”

The burgeoning SME sector will also increase its use of cloud technology in an effort to better compete and achieve long-term success. Local cloud vendors will need to continue to find ways to address this growing market and assist in serving the needs of entrepreneurs: “Cloud strategies can assist to redefine business models and business boundaries; ultimately helping SMEs compete more effectively.”

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