New cloud service provider and cloud broker Node Africa has demonstrated how viable the notion that Africa can and should be a “cloud-first” continent truly is.
In just six weeks the company was able to deploy a complete greenfield data centre infrastructure in Kenya, using the full cloud provider stack, vCloud Air Network (vCAN), from VMware.
“When we looked into launching the business, I turned to my decade-long experience of working with VMware and decided that it would be the perfect solution on which to build the fabric of Node Africa,” said Phares Kariuki, CEO of Node Africa.
Node Africa was faced with several, significant challenges when building its business, which provides customers with bespoke cloud infrastructure and services that extend to consulting, design, build and deployment of complex IT solutions.
First among these was the need to deploy its data centre in less than two months; next was the need to create a hybrid cloud offering – a combination of a private and public cloud; and finally the need to mitigate the considerable bandwidth challenges so prevalent in and characteristic of Africa.
To successfully meet all three challenges the company deployed VMware’s vCloud Architecture Toolkit to build a scalable cloud infrastructure that uses the vSphere hypervisor; vCloud Director to build differentiated cloud services that are inherently hybrid-aware; and VMware NSX as the basis of this network in order to allow it to use budget-friendly commodity networking equipment.
“The amount of money we have saved on networking equipment, as a result of using NSX as the basis of our network, has been amazing. We saved $10 000 on just our initial network infrastructure investment. That’s big for a greenfield start-up. You can achieve so much more with NSX than traditional network vendors,” adds Kariuki.
Node Africa also elected to become a vCloud Air Network (vCAN) partner in order to leverage the service provider-friendly model of securing product, as well as providing it the ability to offer its own customers access to VMware infrastructure on a month-by-month, pay for what you use and pay-as-you-grow subscription basis.
Finally, by using the VMware solution stack, the company was indeed able to mitigate bandwidth constraints and reduce latency (the time it takes for data to be stored, retrieved or streamed) to mere milliseconds. As a result, Node Africa is now also able to offer solutions such as backup-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, as well as multi-vendor hybrid cloud offerings.
According to the company, the most substantial benefit enjoyed by its customers who already run VMware in their systems is the ability to replicate to and deploy on the Node Africa’s system in just six hours.
Just three months after it launched, Node Africa already has 21 clients who are either signed on or test-driving its service and, according to Kariuki, every customer who has opted to try its service has ultimately signed on.