The South African Government has the fundamental platform in place to migrate to a cloud computing model.

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Edgar Mabothe" src="" />From a network perspective, (State Information Technology Agency) has provided the necessary  backbone for most government departments.

Edgar Mabothe, District Sales Manager: Public Sector of  EMC Southern Africa, says: “Our government has reached consensus on migrating to cloud computing;  the current debate is on how to achieve this objective. The plan is to reap the proven benefits of cost  savings and enhanced efficiencies, which will enable government departments to provide services with  greater ease.”

Commenting on the appropriate cloud computing model for government use, Mabothe says it is simply  a matter of time. “According to a study, 35% of the organisations surveyed had invested in the  private cloud, and that figure is expected to rise by a further 30% by the end of this year,” he says. “For South African government agencies and departments, we expect to see a hybrid model combining  private and public cloud models. For example, a department could operate a ring-fenced cloud which  fits into a public cloud.”

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Although there are case studies of US government agencies which have successfully migrated to cloud  computing, for any organisation to be fully cloud enabled it must be able deliver it services driven by an  elastic pool of computing resources, access to multiple end user devices, and metered and ondemand self service; Mabothe says to date there are no organisations in Africa where this has been realised.  Organisations are at different stages along this journey.

“With South Africa’s relatively great distances, it is inevitable that some government departments are  fairly remote and operate in areas where bandwidth and connectivity represent considerable business  challenges. Cloud computing will make it easier for people to access services, as the bandwidth is  provided by the service provider,” he says.

On the global front, EMC is leading customers from both the public and private sector on their journey to  the cloud. From a thought leadership and strategic perspective, the company is able to provide direction  to its customers. Once the customer has been fully assessed, that perspective is used to consolidate the organisational environment, for example through virtualisation initiatives. “We are able to assist government departments with virtualisation projects, which applications to virtualise, and how to provide IT as a Service (ITaaS),”

Mabothe says. “Our comprehensive cloud computing offering also includes the necessary underlying  storage, IT , associating intelligence with data to assist with decision-making, and effective content management. “As governments move to cloud computing, they are creating an infrastructure environment which lends itself to delivering enhanced data value through more effective use of  information with easier information sharing. The resulting IT infrastructure is the foundation of transformed government.”