Cloud computing surge for Africa, Middle East

2014-11-13 10:42 - Gareth van Zyl
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Johannesburg - The fastest cloud computing traffic growth in the world is forecast to happen in the Middle East and Africa.

Cloud computing involves remote servers, which are connected to the Internet, replacing the likes of personal computers to store and process data.

And according to a Cisco Global Cloud Index, cloud traffic in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is expected to surge to a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 54% from 2013 to 2018.

Network equipment maker Cisco explains that MEA is racing ahead of Central and Eastern Europe at 39% CAGR, and Asia Pacific at 37%.

Africa’s booming mobile phone growth is cited as a key reason for the region’s explosive demand for cloud services.

According to mobile phone body the GSMA, sub-Saharan Africa will become fastest-growing smartphone market globally over the next six years as more affordable devices become widely available.

“As mobility is becoming more and more prolific across the continent, people are demanding to have access to personal, business and entertainment content wherever they go and on any device,” says Den Sullivan, Head of Architectures Emerging Markets at Cisco, in a statement.

“This has increased the demand and use of cloud-based technology across Africa,” he added.

Other findings regarding MEA in the report include that data centre traffic in MEA will reach 366 exabytes per year (30 exabytes per month) by 2018, up from 68 exabytes per year (5.7 exabytes per month) in 2013, a CAGR of 40% from 2013 to 2018.

The report also forecasts that MEA will have 57.1 million consumer cloud storage users by 2018, compared to 22.8 million in 2013.

Falling costs drive adoption

Greater adoption of cloud services in Africa is also being spurred on by falling bandwidth costs in African countries, according to Mervin Miemoukanda who is a Senior Research Analyst for the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Undersea broadband cables, such as Seacom on Africa’s east coast, have boosted bandwidth supply on the continent and driven down prices.

Miemoukanda further told Fin24 of other factors helping to drive cloud adoption.

“Another reason is more and more international vendors and local service providers have complemented their product portfolio with cloud-based services such as ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS),” Miemoukanda told Fin24.

“So in a sense, the demand for cloud service is being boosted by the supply,” Miemoukanda added.

He also said that in Africa, most businesses have limited IT budgets and therefore cannot afford the capital outlay required for on-premise solutions, making the cloud an attractive model.

* Follow @GarethvanZyl  on Twitter. For more tech news, follow Fin24tech @Fin24_Tech.

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