Africa is set to benefit from Cisco Systems' new unified data technology that delivers multiple applications over a network using minimal bandwidth.
With the high expense of bandwidth and most corporate users and consumers accessing resources over the Internet or WAN (Wide Area Networks), the ability to deliver applications over the network is important, said Cisco Business Development Manager Rene Bosman.
The unified data center will require convergence of data centers networks to single standards. Most servers, applications, networks, computing power for servers, network resources and storage resources run with different standards, Bosman explained.
The unified data center will consolidate resources and applications for delivery over the same bandwidth, meaning customers do not have to upgrade their bandwidth.
"The growing need for network storage is driving the demand for higher network bandwidth to the server," Bosman said. "Converging to a single network lowers overall data center power draw, bandwidth limitations, which is important to the end user."
To achieve that objective, Bosman said Cisco is keen on application optimization to perform better over networks and over the Internet through virtualization.
Virtualization allows a user to virtually slice up power in the system and use it for other applications, increasing utilization levels. For a computer using only 10 percent of its power, for example, virtualization allows the user to assign the remaining 90 percent to other applications and resources.
Increased utilization leads to lower operational cost and quicker response time, and networking leads to lower operational cost, Bosman said.
Bosman identifies education of IT personnel as a major challenge in Africa, saying that there is still "a long way to go." Cisco, he notes, offers an associate sales engineer training program through its academy. Each year the program trains 100 to 200 people who are deployed throughout the world.
"The lack of legacy technology is an advantage to Africa," Bosman added. "It means that people are adopting newer technology, compared to the U.S. and Europe, where they had to deal with legacy technology before adopting the latest technology."