Archive for Luty, 2012

Ruckus Delivers Operators More Capacity and Performance with Higher Density 802.11n AC-Powered Outdoor Wi-Fi Access Points

By admin, 22 lutego, 2012, No Comment

With Integrated AC Power, Optional Fiber Interface and Support for Up to 500 Clients, the ZoneFlex 7762-AC is Ideal for Operators Looking to Offer Public Access, Data Offload, and Wireless Backhaul

Ruckus Wireless has announced the immediate availability of the ZoneFlex 7762-AC, and the ZoneFlex 7762-S-AC, the industry’s first 802.11n outdoor AC-powered Wi-Fi access points (APs) that integrate Ruckus-patented BeamFlex adaptive antenna array technology for unmatched range and reliability.

The 7762-AC line is ideal for mobile operators’ looking to provide more ubiquitous, reliable, high-capacity Wi-Fi coverage, improve the subscriber experience, and support a growing number of smartphones and mobile devices connecting to their networks. With AC power support, the 7762-AC offers fast and easy mounting to street lights, traffic controls, and other street furniture, to quickly light up outdoor metropolitan and other high-density areas with high-performance Wi-Fi.

In addition to public access services, the 7762-AC is well suited for small cell wireless backhaul and mobile data offload, and is designed to be co-located with small cell base stations to minimise expensive site acquisition.

“With so much data traffic clogging cellular networks, operators are looking to re-architect by offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi and certain core processing functions to the edge of their mobile networks,” said Michael Fletcher, Sales Director for Ruckus Wireless, Sub-Saharan Africa. “While unlicensed Wi-Fi was widely considered unreliable and uncontrollable by carriers, with recent advances in the technology, it is now being embraced by operators worldwide as one of the most economical tools for adding capacity, coverage and performance to support a new class of higher speed subscribers.
 
“Our new 7762-AC access points solve these problems with easy deployment anywhere AC power is available,” Fletcher continued. “And with a full range of patented Smart Wi-Fi technologies integrated into each device, the 7762-AC offers the industry’s best range, reliability and capacity over other 802.11n outdoor AP alternatives at a much more attractive price point.”

Product Details
The ZoneFlex 7762-AC series is a family of two-stream, 3×3, dual-band 802.11n access points capable of delivering up to 12dBi of signal gain and 15dB of interference rejection and 600 Mbps of capacity. The hardened outdoor AC-powered, 802.11n APs (IP-67 rated) are ideal for high-density user environments such as stadiums, convention centers, shopping malls, and other public areas, and can support up to 500 clients per access point.

The ZoneFlex 7762-AC is available in two models: the 7762-AC, which integrates a 360° directional smart antenna array; and the 7762-S-AC, a sectorised array model that focuses Wi-Fi coverage within 120° beam width. Additionally, the ZoneFlex 7762-AC supports a number of advanced features designed to increase the performance and stability of carrier-class Wi-Fi networks and to simplify deployment. These include:

• Optional, field-installable fiber interface for easily adding backhaul capacity supporting EPON, GEPON, CWDM, and 1000Base-LX,

• 802.3af, power over Ethernet output to drive attached devices such as IP surveillance camera,

• Patented multi-element adaptive antenna array technology that automatically extends signal range and increases link reliability by selecting the best signal path for each client,

• Smart Mesh support for reliable and adaptive long-range, non-line of site backhaul,

• Predictive channel optimisation using ChannelFly technology to maximise network capacity and client throughput in high-density, noisy Wi-Fi environments,

• An “Any Angle” mounting bracket to simplify installation, providing maximum flexibility.

Designed in an ultra small form factor that weighs less than 2.2 kilograms (5 lbs.), the 7762-AC features separate radios for access and backhaul traffic to deliver optimal throughput to clients throughout the network. The 7762-AC can be deployed stand-alone or centrally managed through the Ruckus ZoneDirector controller or wireless services gateway.

T-Systems Enterprise Development Programme – from start up to success

By admin, 22 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Companies are often measured not only by their own success but their ability to accelerate the growth and sustainability of the industries they are active in. T-Systems Enterprise Development Programme in South Africa is no different and has contributed to the business growth and subsequent success of its South African partners.

Mthombo Managed Services (M-IT) and Tactical Software Systems (TSS) Managed Services are perfect examples of the success of the programme which speak volumes of not only of T-Systems’ commitment to its partners but also its ability to transfer skills which are based on globally benchmarked practices and technologies. 

T-Systems’ Enterprise Development Programme includes financial support towards training  as well as mentorship and partnership with regards to steering and developing business in a sustainable and competitive manner.
M-IT, for example, has since its inception in 2000 grown from a startup with three employees to a company with over 200 engineers nationwide, specialising among others in contact centers, infrastructure, projects and managed services.

Parastatal arivia.kom and M-IT has since 2003 partnered on a number of prominent public sector projects.  Additionally, in 2005 MI-T merged with EOH to form a black-owned listed company. EOH described the transaction with M-IT is an excellent example of true business transformation.

Subsequent to the acquisition of arivia.kom by T-Systems in 2010, the partnership has been fortified and the companies’ have more recently partnered on a major public sector implementation.

Says Sam Sibeko, operations manager at M-IT: “There is considerable skills transfer between MI-T and T-Systems which is undoubtedly indicative of our mutual interests and strong partnership. From MI-IT’s perspective it is important to be exposed to the methodologies of a global ICT company such as T-Systems which in turn enhances our own competitive advantage.” 

“We look forward to our ongoing partnership with T-Systems and have already set plans in motion for a strong 2012 where we can continue to build not only our own business but also our relationship.”

TSS employs over 120 professional consultants and has in the last 14 years grown to offer critical business management services that span a vast array of disciplines such as SAP software implementation, outsourcing, consulting and Business Process Re-engineering & Workflow Process Modeling.

The company was also in a partnership with arivia.kom (from 2004) and the relationship has continued with T-Systems subsequent to the acquisition.  Today, TSS and T-Systems’ relationship features a number of important public sector contracts.

“Our understanding of the demands of the local marketplace coupled with T-Systems’ global expertise is undoubtedly a winning formula.  One of the biggest benefits of partnering with T-Systems is that the company enables you to fast-track your skills and expertise while also allowing you stand on your own when you are ready,” says Jehan MacKay, chief operations officer at TSS Managed Services.

“Going forward we will continue to grow both our businesses while working more closely on exciting, future projects.”

Comments Collin Govender, Vice President: Human Resources at T-Systems South Africa: “Our Enterprise Development Programme proactively works at enabling our partners to grow their businesses.  Additionally, these partnerships also expose us to great local skills that strengthen our own service delivery to clients.

“It is therefore a two-way skills transfer process that ultimately enables our partnerships to go from strength-to-strength and improve our individual and mutual competitive advantage,” she says.

MI-T and TSS are undoubtedly testament to T-Systems South Africa’s Enterprise Development Programme which is not only characterised by past successes but also continues build on these milestones to strengthen and importantly create a platform for sustainability for years to come.

Datacentrix bolsters ECM competencies with OpenText and SAP

By admin, 20 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Provider of high performing and secure ICT solutions, Datacentrix, has successfully joined the OpenText Partner Program for SAP Competence, as well as attaining the status as SAP Special Expertise partner.
 
Under the extended agreement with OpenText, a global Enterprise Content Management (ECM) leader, Datacentrix will deliver and support products of the OpenText ECM Suite for SAP Solutions.
 
Jürgen Maier, SAP Ecosystem Program Manager Europe/ APJ at OpenText comments: “Datacentrix has invested heavily in technical certification and training to build the resources required to deliver SAP Archiving by OpenText, SAP Document Access by OpenText and SAP Employee File Management by OpenText, each of which are resold by SAP.”

The companies, together with SAP, will collaborate on the implementation of joint market offerings, based on the OpenText ECM Suite for SAP Solutions, in conjunction with Datacentrix’ comprehensive offering, ranging from the core areas of infrastructure and business solutions, to outsourcing and other related IT services.

OpenText has successfully integrated with SAP for two decades, delivering solutions to more than 3,000 SAP customer sites around the world. Its ECM Suite for SAP Solutions offers a complete range of capabilities for managing and archiving business documents – incoming/ outgoing invoices, orders, delivery notes, quality certificates, travel receipts, digital assets, human resources documents – that originate from customers’ SAP applications.

“We are excited about Datacentrix joining the OpenText Partner Program for SAP Competence,” comments Maier. “This latest extension of our partnership agreement reinforces the faith we have in Datacentrix and the fact that the company continues to deliver great results with OpenText. With Datacentrix, we have a highly committed, innovative and growth-oriented SAP Competence Partner on board that has excellent project, industry and process knowledge to deliver high quality projects around our products for SAP clients in the South African market. We’re looking forward to this next chapter and continuing to build on our relationship with Datacentrix.”

“Our partnership with OpenText has spanned a number of years now and encompasses a large customer base. Due to the organisation’s strong alliance with SAP, it made a great deal of sense for us to join the OpenText Partner Program for SAP Competence,” explains Shakeel Jhazbhay, Business Unit Manager at Datacentrix. “By the same token, the timing was also right for Datacentrix to become a SAP Special Expertise partner – we currently have a number of technical staff members certified on the SAP/ OpenText offering and are able to provide these competencies on a country-wide basis.”

“SAP is determined to continue its investment through the ecosystem – a community of organisations and individuals focused on a common goal – and channels, as this reinforces the important role that partners play in bringing our solutions to market,” says SAP Africa Director of Ecosystem and Channels, Desmond Nair. “We are looking forward to working even more closely with Datacentrix as we believe the company has a significant role to play in driving usage of innovative technologies, such as the OpenText ECM suite, into the South Africa market.”

SAP is continuing to grow its business through partners, and the Datacentrix and OpenText partnership helps accelerate this focus of the organisation, concludes Nair.

Syntech now distributing Echo™ ExpressCard®/34 Thunderbolt™ Adapter

By admin, 20 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Cape-based ICT distributor, Syntech SA, has announced it is to distribute the new Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter from US-based Sonnet Technologies.

Craig Nowitz, managing director of Syntech SA, said the  adapter enables users of computers equipped with a Thunderbolt port, including the latest Apple® iMac®, Mac® mini, MacBook Air®, and MacBook® Pro models, to connect seamlessly with compatible ExpressCard/34 cards from Sonnet and other manufacturers.

“Originally intended for notebook computers, ExpressCard/34 adapters offer users additional connectivity and functionality beyond what is available through their computers’ stock configuration,” said Nowitz.

“With our Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter, users can now extend the capabilities of their Thunderbolt Technology-equipped Macs like never before. With a single Thunderbolt adapter, they can instantly add connectivity to their computers, whether increasing the number of ports, incorporating new interfaces, or adding peripheral devices that otherwise could not connect through a Thunderbolt port,” said Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. “By hot-plugging and swapping ExpressCard/34 cards, users have unprecedented flexibility to change interfaces and devices when needed.”

The new ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter supports most PCI Express®-based Sonnet professional ExpressCard/34 adapters and specialty adapters from other manufacturers. Supported cards range from CompactFlash™ and SDXC™ UHS-I card readers to FireWire® 800 and eSATA adapters. The new Thunderbolt adapter also supports ExpressCard adapters supplied with specialty devices such as the AJA® io Express. Sonnet expects other manufacturers’ ExpressCard/34 products to become compatible as their drivers are updated to be Thunderbolt technology-aware.

Since announcing this product, Sonnet has received many inquiries about this product’s compatibility with SxS™ memory cards, because they are designed to interface with an ExpressCard/34 slot. Based on testing in Sonnet’s lab, it is expected that the Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter will be fully compatible with, and transfer data at full speed from SxS memory cards once Sony makes available an updated driver that is Thunderbolt technology-aware.

Developed by Intel® and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt technology supports high-performance data services and high-resolution displays through a single compact port. The Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter supports PCI Express 1.1 technology with 2.5 Gbps throughput in both directions. The Sonnet adapter connects directly to a computer or at the end of a Thunderbolt device chain with a Thunderbolt cable (available at the Apple Store®).

The Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter (part number ECHO-E34) is compatible with all Apple computers running Mac OS® X and equipped with Thunderbolt ports.

Picking the right cloud-based call centre technology infrastructure provider

By admin, 20 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Negotiate fixed-rate inclusive service upfront in your contract

By Bruce von Maltitz, Director of 1Stream

In a previous article, 1Stream dealt with the need for companies setting up cloud-based call centres to find a provider that offers a service component. But how do you know your provider is a trusted provider and not just in it for the consulting hours?

There are many tell-tale signs.

Contractual guarantee
It sounds deceptively simple, but many cloud-based call centre clients are ambushed into paying substantial consulting fees long after the deal is signed.

This is because many contracts do not include service in the price. Providers that are guilty of this are only too happy to charge for any subsequent problems, such as integration with current technologies, quality issues or the sticky problem of reporting.

The latter issue is bigger than it seems – with the dearth of good middle management skills in the industry, including consulting in the upfront price can help you decide the correct reports for your business. Should your provider leave you to make sense of the many different report types available yourself, confusion could set in and agents will find loopholes to exploit. A consultative approach gives the customer the assurance that managers will be walked through choosing and understanding a few reports that will work best for the business. Contracts without a service element, on the other hand, can leave managers overwhelmed and at the mercy of abuse.

Most contractors provide administrator and end-user training, but with the high churn in the industry this is often money in the water, so the provider can still earn high recurring revenue. The solution in all instances is to negotiate consulting, trouble-shooting and managed service elements upfront.

Many clients baulk at having service quoted, but it should be clear that an installation of the complexity of a call centre may require support throughout the project life cycle. Having the fact of service guaranteed at a fixed monthly hosting fee will prevent future surprises and minimise the upfront investment.

Specialist call centre provider
Geared for big and small companies
Large systems integrators by their very nature have a broad skills base supporting multiple vendors’ technologies. Their scale and generic skills mean they are geared for dealing with large corporates, which are in turn likely to have the skills on board to manage call centre setup and operations themselves.

Small and mid-range companies, however, require specialists that can run with the entire project. In fact, even big companies can benefit from a hands-on technology provider, given the continuing skills dearth in the industry.

All-round experience
Ask about the collective experience of your provider’s core team. It’s not enough to have vendor experience – providers ought to offer a well-rounded perspective from the side of the vendor, managed hosted service provider, integrator, consultant and even call centre management.

All-round experience will increase the likelihood of your provider being “plugged into” the industry and being able to easily resolve or broker a solution to any problem you may encounter.

Methodologies
An experienced, well-rounded team will have the project templates and methodologies to guide you through every stage of the project – from requirements gathering through to implementation and support.

A powerful all-round knowledge base further provides continuity in your dealings with the provider, which few generic integrators offer. Large integrators make use of large teams of sales, project management, implementation and support staff, with little or no personal relationship or continuing knowledge of the client.

But continuity goes further than one project or mere personal acquaintance – in the case of churn, it may amount to a serious erosion of the provider’s knowledge of a client account or even the technology it supports.

Proven technology credentials
While your call centre infrastructure resides in the cloud, your staff and management will come in frequent contact with its management systems. Call centres are all about reports and management of agents: aside from the issue of being able to interpret reports correctly, you have to be able to trust the technology in the first place.

An agent who games the system is a management issue, but an unproven call centre management system can give rise to a crisis of faith in the technology, which is far more fundamental.

Setting the scene for success
There are many ways in which to fail at the risky business of setting up and running a call centre. Picking a service-minded hosted provider is one way of ensuring you don’t fail before you’re even out of the gates.

 

Budget Speech Expectations from the mouth of the entrepreneur

By admin, 20 lutego, 2012, No Comment

With the annual Budget speech just round the corner, predictions are rife and economists wait with baited breath to analyse and discuss the implications it will likely have for the South African economy and of course, for businesses across industries in 2012.

For the SA entrepreneur – essentially the country’s economic power force – verbalising hopes and expectations publically for Budget, for Government consideration, becomes more and more critical each year. And so it is with this premise in mind that entrepreneurial business Dariel Solutions shares its hopes for Budget 2012, especially in light on the commitment reiterated in SONA.

“We are hoping for further investment in infrastructure, and of course education and skills development – particularly around science, mathematics and technology training,” said Malcolm Rabson, MD of Dariel Solutions. “Last year we were pleased at the investment pledge of R800 billion over the next three years in infrastructure and the R10 billion for job creation, small enterprise development and youth employment. We look forward to the Minister’s overview of success to date, and are hoping for more budget this year to continue this momentum.”

Dariel Solutions are dedicated to growing the right skills and developing the IT knowledge base to propel South Africa in becoming a software powerhouse – which is why infrastructure and skills development investment from a government perspective nationally is so key.

Similarity, as outlined in SONA, there are many critical factors that play a role in meeting Government growth objectives. One such factor is IT investment which is key in mining, transport, community services and trade to name just a few sectors. For Dariel, a prime example of how IT facilitates growth and development can be seen in the Healthcare sector. Customised IT solutions are changing the ways health practitioners operate and the manner in which they interact with their patients. Imagine hospital staff being able to digitally store patient information (which moves with the patient if necessary), offer results such as X-Rays to patients in digitalised format, as well as being able to track the number of beds available in the hospital at any given time – instantly! This would assist with information retention, decrease the need for duplication, decrease admin time and of course, result in benefits and differences where it counts – patients experience.

“Without fundamental IT infrastructure investment, talking job creation to fight poverty for example – amidst many other social, health and global economic challenges – is futile. Our hope is that Government places large scale budget commitments to an industry that has typically been shrouded by buzz words, empty promises and ROI limitations. Today IT has earned its place and is considered (and proven) a key business driver and enabler to develop businesses of all sizes – operationally. The President again reiterates the importance of public/private partnerships, and surely this includes the estimated 1.5 million small businesses in the country? Certainly we support this premise and look forward to contributing to SA’s growth as an IT powerhouse across Africa and abroad,” concludes Rabson.

Soarsoft Africa simplifies Microsoft systems management with ENow software solutions

By admin, 20 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Robust monitoring solutions now available for all key components of Microsoft infrastructure

Soarsoft Africa, a specialist in archive, migration, collaboration and messaging services, has recently concluded an agreement with ENow to deliver its products into the South African and African region. ENow, a Microsoft Gold Partner, is a developer of innovative systems management software that provides robust monitoring and reporting features for all key components of Microsoft infrastructure, including Exchange, Active Directory and SharePoint. Reports are delivered through ENow’s personalised dashboards.

George Amoils

George Amoils

Says George Amoils, director at Soarsoft Africa: “As a company that has a specialist focus on messaging and collaboration platforms like Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint, the ENow solution complements many of our current offerings, skills and solutions, by simplifying the management of the underlying platforms we focus on. Using ENow solutions, users can easily monitor their environments at a glance through a sleek dashboard interface that alerts you to any problems long before they become a major issue.”

Soarsoft Africa is the first company to deliver the innovative ENow range in South Africa. Solutions include Mailscape, which enables monitoring and reporting on Microsoft Exchange, Compass, which is a monitoring and reporting solution for Active Directory, and the forthcoming product Foresight, which provides these tools for SharePoint.

“We selected Soarsoft due to their deep experience with Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory and SharePoint. It is very important for our partners to have comprehensive understanding of these core systems as our solutions are based on these technologies, and the team at Soarsoft Africa met and exceeded our expectations,” says Jay Gundotra, CEO at ENow.

Not just an IT tool

“ENow’s dashboard based monitoring and reporting solutions provide real-time live snapshots of Active Directory, Exchange and soon also SharePoint architecture. With an easy to read interface, business users can use the tools to gain proactive insight into the health of the Microsoft environment to ascertain whether everything is working as it should. This mitigates the risk of downtime by alerting administrators to any issues before they can escalate into major problems,” says Amoils.

Mailscape is an award-winning solution that simplifies Exchange management by providing monitoring, reporting and administrative capabilities in a single, affordable solution. The product is used in over 30 countries by enterprise companies, including Facebook, NYSE, DirecTV, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and CB Richard Ellis.  Compass delivers Active Directory monitoring and reporting through a single, user-friendly dashboard. Both products are quick to install, easy to deploy and offer an intuitive user interface which enables organisations to optimise system performance, minimise downtime, and improve the level of service to end users.

“What sets these products apart from the competition is the ease of use and ease of installation, combined with the fact that the tools are highly customisable to meet the unique needs of individual organisations. With an intuitive interface that makes obtaining the right information simple, ENow products are not just IT tools but tools for business as well,” Amoils adds.

“The ENow products are ideal for organisations of all sizes, including outsource partners, Internet Service Providers, Managed Service providers and any other enterprise that needs to manage Microsoft architecture,” he concludes.

Take image capture into another dimension with the HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 from DCC

By admin, 20 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Imagine a world where your multi-function printer is smart enough to not only print, copy and scan but also capture images, render them in three dimensions and upload them, all at the touch of a single button. Imagine no longer, because the HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275, available from distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC), does all of this and more, at a price that will suit the budget of even the most cost conscious consumer.

The TopShot is a revolutionary new way to capture images of three dimensional objects. When you place the object you wish to photograph on the image capture platform or “stage” and at the touch of a button the overhanging arm with built-in eight megapixel camera will take six different images, three with LED flashes from different angles, and three in ambient light conditions with different exposure levels, to mimic a studio-like product shot. These six images will then be intelligently combined to deliver a virtually glare-free and shadow-free 3D image, perfect for catalogues, online stores or anyone else who wants to show off their products in a different dimension.

“The TopShot represents brand new technology from HP and is a unique offering in the marketplace. It is HP’s first all-in-one to offer new 3D image capturing technology with background removal in a 3D scan/capture. Distinctive design elements such as the high resolution camera embedded in an elevated arm above the capture stage, which folds away when not being used, offers perfect functionality,” says Caron De Fortier, HP Printers and Supplies Division Manager at DCC.

Add into the mix simple workflow applications such as scan-to-web, scan-to-cloud, business card scanning and receipt scanning and tracking, along with high quality colour laser printing, copy and scan functionality, and the TopShot represents the ultimate productivity tool for business. It even offers a multitude of options for printing, from standard USB connection to Ethernet, ePrint and AirPrint wireless and WiFi direct printing, for computer-less operation. While you might think such a clever device would prove difficult to use, HP have taken care of that too. HP Smart User Install means you simply plug it in and follow the instructions on the 8.9cm full colour touch screen, and the same screen is used to operate every feature and function on the all-in-one.

“The TopShot is also HP’s smallest multi-function printer and incorporates a host of earth-friendly features perfect for the eco-conscious user. HP’s Auto-Off technology turns the printer off when it’s not being used, and Instant-On makes sure it starts up immediately when you need it. HP also offer free cartridge recycling in South Africa and around the world, through the HP Planet Partners programme,” De Fortier says.

Aside from nifty features and clever functionality, the TopShot is the perfect multi-function printer for everyday use. Printing 17 pages per minute black and four ppm in colour, with 245dpi max scan resolution and 600 x 600 dpi max copy resolution, it performs all of the jobs around the office with ease.

The HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 retails at a recommended price of R3499.00 Incl V.A.T. and is available to resellers immediately from DCC.

Migrating your database to the cloud? Ensure it has a silver lining

By admin, 20 lutego, 2012, No Comment

By Gerrit-Jan Albers, Service Delivery Manager at RDB Consulting

Despite international interest and uptake, cloud computing has been slow to gain traction in the local market.  However, the fact remains that cloud computing can demonstrate great benefits in a number of Information Communication Technology (ICT) areas, including the database.  This is particularly relevant in the local market.  Migrating the database to the cloud is becoming an increasingly viable option for businesses, but organisations wishing to go this route need to choose their partner carefully or risk falling foul of an ineffective database service.

Gerrit-Jan Albers

Gerrit-Jan Albers

Some of the generic benefits of the cloud include significantly reducing capital outlay and introducing a ‘pay-per-use’ model which enables Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as larger organisations to take advantage of the latest technology in an affordable way.  With regards to the database, benefits include lower energy consumption and reduced energy costs, optimised office space and consolidated infrastructure amongst others.

Another major benefit of the cloud, and more specifically databases hosted in the cloud, is the ability for organisations to leverage greater economies of scale.  Put simply, the provider should be able to negotiate better rates based on greater volumes of customers.  The database for multiple clients will also be centralised, therefore fewer resources are required to administer this database.  This means that both support and licensing costs are impacted in a positive way for the end user.  As the database is provided as a service, it also reduces the hardware requirement and as a result the capital outlay required for businesses, making technology more accessible and affordable for SMEs.

The cost saving benefits are not just applicable to the SME market as a continuing unstable economic climate has meant that even large organisations are constantly looking for ways to trim costs to the minimum.  For all sizes of organisations, cloud databases also provide access to scarce skills that may not otherwise be available, and access to existing infrastructure which is bound by Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to be kept up to date. The database as a cloud service is highly scalable and flexible and the service can be tailored and adapted dynamically as conditions and markets change.
 
However, simply migrating the database to the cloud does not automatically mean that businesses can leverage these benefits. There are several considerations that need to be taken into account in order to ensure that your organisation can realise the ‘silver lining’ of the cloud-based database. 

One of the main inhibitors of cloud computing, including cloud databases, in the South African market is the issue of connectivity. When critical database information, applications and services are hosted within the cloud, connectivity becomes crucial. If connectivity fails, staff are unable to access any of the information and applications stored in the cloud database, which could effectively cripple any organisation. Support is another crucial aspect, given the mission critical nature of the database to many organisations.

A large number of organisations fall short  when it comes to implementing cloud database services as they assume that the service provider delivering the cloud infrastructure will be able to offer high service levels coupled with the required experience. Unfortunately this is often not the case, since database administration and maintenance are specialist skills that are not in large supply. This tends to result in a cloud service that fails to deliver on the database functionality and required uptime and availability.  It can end up costing a company more money rather than saving money in the long term.

Organisations need to be wary of cloud and hosted providers that claim to offer everything, as their service levels tend to be inconsistent across the various services. They may be specialists at hosting in the cloud, but might lack the skill, experience and expertise to migrate and maintain specialist, mission critical company databases and database applications. In order to truly leverage the multiple benefits of the database in the cloud, the better option is to engage with a specialist outsource database partner.

Attaining the services of a reputable specialist provider with a stable database track record, which complies with international governance around database security, is  key. If data is not secured and the company is not a scrupulous one, an organisation’s data may be at risk of being sold to the competition or leaked.
 
By ensuring that an outsource partner is a database specialist, it is possible to take advantage of the silver lining of cloud computing, as an organisation can be assured that their partner will have the expertise and know how that is vital for this platform.

PC sales take a knock

By admin, 18 lutego, 2012, No Comment

PC sales are taking a hammering with the only company to buck the downtrend being Apple, with local notebook retailer, The Notebook Company, saying iPad sales are still accounting for a significant slice of monthly sales.

The latest figures from Gartner show that the PC market, particularly in the UK,  is looking decidedly gloomy.

Gartner’s research, which does not include media tablets in its PC statistics, recently estimated a year-on-year decline of 19.6% in overall fourth quarter PC shipments for 2011.

The UK market was 2 million units down on 2010, dropping back by 16%.

“Tablets certainly have had an impact on PC sales and this is going to continue unabated.  Over the years Apple products have always been a tiny part of our revenue, but, during the last two years, Apple sales – primarily via iPads – account for more than 20% of our revenue. And we still see more growth, despite the fact that the economies of the world are still struggling with the hangover affects of the 2009 recession.”

Riley said he believes the decline in PC sales will be “more dramatic” than any analysts are predicting. “We are going to enter into a rapid cycle of decline because there are becoming less and less compelling reasons to buy a PC.  Everything is going mobile and this means that the mere thought of a PC sounds as preposterous to some people as a dinosaur walking down a street.”

The recent hike in hard disk prices also had an affect, said Riley, which had an impact on fourth quarter sales – and will impact sales during Q1 2012.

‘”But, in all reality, there hasn’t been such a huge demand for PCs anyway. The market is fairly muted and I don’t really feel that the hard disk prices had such a major role to play. With the continued switch to mobile communications – and the concomitant financial hangover many economies are experiencing – sales attrition in the PC market is an accepted fact now.

“What I find particularly disappointing is that new technology needs to be introduced at schools so that our next generation of workers do not fall behind with regards to a technology-driven business world. I find it strange that schools, for instance, are not taking advantage of bulk buying to source tablets are very reasonable prices. Our sales to the education sector – to  schools – is almost non-existent.”

Meanwhile, in the three months to the end of December last year, Apple sales rose to $56.3 billion, generating a staggering $13.1 billion in profit. Sales were buoyed by the sale of 37 million Phones, more than 15 million iPads and 5.2 millon Macs.

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