Considering the major industry buzz and media hype around cloud computing over the past three years, the actual uptake of the solution has not been warranted.
In a rush to maximise cloud revenue and attract customers, providers are now creating platform as a service (PaaS) services that ride on top of their cloud infrastructure services, or underlie their cloud software services.
In addition to development platforms, providers are offering platforms that comprise functionality for delivery, administration, and integration of software as a service (SaaS)-based software. Moreover, in the complex ecosystem that exists to deliver SaaS applications to business users, PaaS services represent an important jump-off point for collaboration and integration among multiple vendors and participants.
“Because PaaS is more than mere application development, success is not restricted to companies that have a history of commercial software development,” notes Frost & Sullivan’s head of ICT for Africa Chantel Lindeman. “Communication service providers and cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon Web Services, are charging into the PaaS market alongside software companies like Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce.com.”
One of the biggest perception gaps in the area of cloud computing, otherwise known as the “broken promise” of cloud, is the anticipated cost reduction. It is believed cloud will reduce costs, where this is not always the case with companies having to run two systems; one on-site for core applications and another off-site with non-critical data. The implementation of cloud is also not as easily implemented as portrayed, and requires a good support structure.
“Despite further misconceptions surrounding the issue of cloud, such as that of security risk, and reliability and performance of connectivity in South Africa, private clouds have managed to ease the concerns of companies looking to implement a cloud solution,” notes Lindeman.
The key to deciding on, and implementing, an efficient software system is understanding the product offering of the business. SaaS is currently in development phase, however, niche players are building traction in the market. Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) is showing steady growth in the market and cost benefits can be clearly seen on the P&L, with a reduction in infrastructure spend.
There has been an uptake in the cloud solutions, specifically in IaaS, due to the fact that companies are noticing the direct correlation on their CAPEX to invest in virtual machines versus investing in infrastructure on-site.
The uptake of other solutions in the cloud sector is still in its nascent stage and Frost & Sullivan estimates that it will require another three years until we see a significant uptake. Key to the uptake of cloud solutions will be better established connectivity throughout the country.