NAIROBI, Kenya -- F5 Networks hosted its inaugural East Africa Solution Day in Nairobi today to highlight how application services in multi-cloud environments are enabling digital transformation and growth in Kenya.
The company also shared insight on its latest solution offerings and news, including the recent acquisition of NGINX.
"The true value of the modern enterprise resides in its applications and data. We call this application capital. Given Kenya's growing adoption for cloud computing, we believe that application capital is a key driver for differentiation, innovation and value creation," said Alain Tshal, District Sales Manager - Sub-Saharan Africa, F5 Networks, speaking to an audience of customers, partners and industry experts.
According to Tshal, true digital transformation can only occur if organisations understand and invest in the concept of application capital, particularly in the context of multi-cloud application services and associated infrastructures.
"Today, application services are software-defined, loosely coupled, and easily consumed therefore enterprises and government organisations have an opportunity to deploy infrastructure, application development and management tools, as well as processes, that balance effective controls with the freedom to innovate," Tshal explained.
"It is now possible to attach individual services to applications based on specific needs. It is also possible to achieve consistent quality and security across entire application portfolios. This is critical at a time when much of the user experience is digital, delivered via the cloud, and increasingly built by developer teams outside of the IT organization."
The rise of multi-cloud
F5's 2019 State of Application Services report found that almost nine out of ten surveyed global organisations have multi-cloud architectures in place, largely driven by application-first methodologies. The biggest cited challenge is to enforce consistent security and ensure reliable performance when applications are distributed across multiple cloud platforms.
Tshal pointed out that F5 is continually evolving to help organisations overcome multi-cloud roadblocks, while also anticipating future deployment challenges and opportunities. A recent example is the expansion of its cloud-native application services by introducing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings on AWS. Delivering optimized, easy-to-consume services for application developers and DevOps teams, F5® Cloud Services provide high-availability, self-service, and fully managed SaaS solutions that are easily provisioned and configured within minutes. By introducing F5 Cloud Services to the market in a continuous fashion, F5 is prioritizing a repeatable framework that delivers new SaaS offerings as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Another prominent topic on the East Africa Solution Day agenda was F5's acquisition of open source application delivery pioneers NGINX. The businesses' combined capabilities make it possible to deploy a coordinated set of technologies spanning the entire application delivery path: from code running on the application or web server - through all the necessary transport, security, and management services - to the end customer. Key stakeholders like app developers, network engineers and security specialists are empowered for the first time to ensure apps are seamlessly delivered, available and secure across every conceivable environment.
Kenya's cloud credentials
F5's offer in East Africa maps to a growing appetite for cloud-driven digital transformation in Kenya.
The Cloud Africa 2018 Report by World Wide Worx and F5 found that 98% of surveyed Kenyan business decision-makers agree on cloud computing's innovation capacity and transformative impact. In addition, 98% hailed the technology's positive brand perception benefits, and 85% extolled its customer experience virtues. A further 69% of Kenyan respondents said cloud had a positive impact on market share.
"In a sense, Nigeria, Kenya and - to a lesser degree - South Africa, are experiencing the wonder of cloud computing for the first time," said Arthur Goldstuck, Managing Director at World Wide Worx, and the report's main author.
"There is no legacy infrastructure holding them back. As cloud is more affordable and accessible than when established markets first dabbled in it, they can jump in with both feet and see how big a splash they can make."
Kenyan organisations' biggest multi-cloud challenges are related to optimising performance (47%), applying consistent security policies (29%) and application protection (18%). Interestingly, World Wide Worx also discovered that Kenya stands out in the region for its progressive multi-cloud stance, with 76% of surveyed businesses employing two to six cloud service providers. The figure stood at 66% in South Africa and 66% in Nigeria.
"The understanding and expectation of what is achievable with cloud-driven, application-centric innovation is changing fast in the region, added Tshal. "We will work with our customers and partners to realise the benefits of their Application Capital as East African organisations increasingly look to the cloud and start embracing ambitious digital transformation projects."