A few weeks ago I attended the annual #SATNAC conference in George. One thing became abundantly clear very quickly.
The South African ISP’s & Telecoms providers that attended, talked and exhibited there are seriously out of touch with the cloud reality. These included the likes of Telkom, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent & Ericsson & Nokia.
All of them mentions the “internet tsunami”, talking of an overwhelming demand for data and connectivity. None of them realises that the demand is actually for services. There response is entirely based on data volume and how to scale it.
A further failure is the absolute lack of realization that cloud services and virtual server hosting is not the same thing. Moving your physical server to a hosted virtual server (VPS) does not mean you have now cloud enabled your applications. It simply means you have moved your hosting.
We are still seeing virtually all local ISP’s tout VPS as cloud services. It is not the same thing. Allowing users to increase or decrease the capacity of the VPS still does not make it a cloud. VPS is simply one of the building blocks of a complete Cloud infrastructure.
Clouds must come with a scalable services as well. No one does this as well as Amazon, which offers an overwhelming array of cloud services. They offer countless API’s, SDK’s and developer tools for storage, queues, db transactions, payments etc.
I develop mobile apps and their accompanying cloud backends, and as a result use Amazon’s Web Services and Rackspace’s Private Cloud services on a daily basis. I use them not because they are cheaper than the local alternatives, I use them because there is no local alternatives.
The SA startup scene is buzzing with activity, and almost all startups these days are building web and mobile apps. Those that need real cloud services are forced to use on of the bigger international players.
I would love to see some like Afrihost, Web-Africa or RSA Web pick up the challenge and create a true cloud service, hosted right here in SA. Imagine if one of our local ISP’s decides to become the SA Startup partner and give the startups the tools they need to build new world class apps. Once a startup has gone live on a specific architecture it is hard to migrate, so the first ISP out of the starting blocks may well have a customer for life (depending on their service level of course).
In the Garden Route we are building a local ICT incubator for our own startup scene, and am going to put together a ‘startup cloud’ for this purpose. We want startups to focus on building their app & their business, not on first building the building blocks for their app, which is how it works today.
Are there any SA ISP’s out there up for the challenge of building a true cloud platform?