Cloud Application Delivery: It’s Still a Work in Progress for Many

By: Amr Alashaal, Regional Vice President – Middle East at A10 Networks

For digital business, transformation, and resiliency, success depends on application performance. Organizations must deliver the best possible experiences for employees and customers while driving innovation and ensuring security. To meet these interrelated objectives, many enterprises are migrating application delivery to hybrid/multi-cloud environments and related techniques to achieve the kind of agility and resiliency formerly only found in public cloud providers.

In a recent survey, The State of Cloud Application Delivery, A10 Networks and Gatepoint Research asked senior technology decision-makers about their experiences delivering applications in the cloud, and what today’s organizations need to achieve the digital resiliency on which their businesses depend.

Given the critical role of application delivery performance in digital business success, the fact that only 34 percent of companies are highly satisfied with their application delivery controller (ADC) solution should raise eyebrows.

Modern Business runs on Hybrid Cloud and Multi-cloud Application Delivery

It’s important to state the key role of application reliability and performance for today’s organizations. To compete effectively and grow in modern digital markets, businesses must meet high customer expectations for a great experience. Hybrid workplace strategies and work-from-home policies make it all the more critical to deliver a consistent high-quality experience wherever people work. Rising cyberthreats and an expanding attack surface call for a heightened focus on security. And agility is a must to support innovation and keep pace with fast-moving markets.

To address these needs, organizations increasingly host their applications in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments. According to the survey, while most respondents continue to host applications on-premises, 85 percent use public cloud platforms—usually more than one—and 43 percent use private clouds.

This approach offers several potential benefits. A more diverse application infrastructure allows greater flexibility to host each application on the optimal platform, in the optimal location, to ensure availability and responsiveness. By tapping into scalable resources on-demand, companies can adapt more quickly to changing business needs and IT strategies and shifting customer demand. Moving to more economical and flexible licensing and pay-as-you-go models can free up funds for innovation. And with the right tools, organizations can achieve better visibility into end-to-end application security and performance than they could in a traditional on-premises data center.

Nonetheless, as seen in the low rate of satisfaction reported in the survey, many organizations are hampered by application delivery technologies that fail to meet their requirements.

How Underperforming ADCs Undermine the Promise of the Cloud

Ensuring application delivery performance in a hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environment hinges on several key ADC functions. Global server load balancing (GSLB) is essential, as organizations need to go beyond traditional disaster recovery requirements to optimize traffic and ensure availability across multiple data centers and clouds. With the vast majority of internet traffic now encrypted, TLS/SSL offload makes it possible to perform TLS/SSL encryption and decryption without straining server resources or creating bottlenecks. Application acceleration and optimization capabilities, including application analytics, fast root-cause analysis, and performance feedback for developers, are invaluable for delivering an outstanding, and consistent, customer experience while keeping employees fully productive and engaged.

However, application delivery solutions currently in place often fall short of these requirements. Fully half of survey respondents reported ongoing struggles with legacy application delivery technology. Nearly a third face challenges addressing application security threats. Over one in four experience application downtime and slow performance, and more than 20 percent face visibility and reporting challenges. To overcome these challenges and realize the full business benefits of their hybrid and multi-cloud strategy, these organizations will need to modernize their application delivery infrastructure.

The Agenda for Hybrid Cloud and Multi-cloud App Delivery

The gap between outdated application delivery solutions and modern requirements only continues to grow. With hybrid cloud and multi-cloud complexity rising, organizations need to be able to deploy and deliver applications more flexibly and efficiently, avoid being bogged down in manual tasks, and gain greater insight to ensure that fast-changing environments maintain performance and availability. These needs are reflected in the key objectives for the coming year cited by survey respondents. Forty-eight percent reported plans to increase agility with software/scale-out solutions for a faster response to shifting needs, while 47 percent intend to drive operational efficiency through the deployment of hybrid cloud automation, management, and analytics capabilities.

Survey respondents understood that modernizing the ADC will be essential to achieving these goals. Asked about the most important capabilities to ensure successful business objectives, 69 percent named faster troubleshooting and root-cause analysis, which depend on centralized management, analytics, and reporting to better understand their environment and its performance. More than half cited automation as a need to overcome challenges in IT skills development in a fast-changing technology environment, and a similar number saw a need for data analytics and application insights to guide performance optimization, troubleshooting, security, and more.

Ensuring Digital Resiliency for Better Business Performance

As companies evaluate their existing ADCs and consider future investments, their priorities are closely tied to bottom-line performance. To maximize ROI, they will need to be able to both increase revenue and control expenses. On the revenue side, better application performance will help them deliver outstanding experiences to win and retain customers in competitive markets, as well as keep their workforce engaged, productive, and satisfied.

A modern application delivery approach is clearly needed to help organizations right-size investments by enabling more efficient management, reducing calls to customer support, averting costly and disruptive security breaches, providing agile software options, and leveraging new advanced observability.

NetApp Announces Intent to Acquire Instaclustr, the Industry Leading Platform for Deploying and Managing Open-Source Data and Workflow Applications as a Service

Acquisition Will Bring Management, Monitoring and Optimization for Storage, Compute and Data Together with Fully Managed Application Services to Provide Customers a Platform for Cloud Applications from the Datacenter to the Public Cloud

NetApp® (NASDAQ: NTAP), a global, cloud-led, data-centric software company, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Instaclustr, a leading platform provider of fully managed open-source database, pipeline and workflow applications delivered as a service. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.

Modern cloud applications rely on a growing set of foundational services including multiple open-source databases, data pipelines, and workflow solutions. Efficiently managing the growing complexity and operational requirements of these applications and services adds new challenges for already overstretched infrastructure, database and operations teams, increasing application integration and delivery costs, slowing application delivery and limiting application innovation.

“NetApp has long been a leader in solutions enabling customers to run applications,” said George Kurian, CEO at NetApp. “The acquisition of Instaclustr will combine NetApp’s established leadership in continuous storage and compute optimization with Instaclustr’s fully-managed database and data pipeline services to give customers a Cloud Operations platform that provides the best and most optimized foundation for their applications in the public clouds and on premises.”

The acquisition of Instaclustr builds on a series of strategic acquisitions made by NetApp to deliver a leading best-of-suite platform for CloudOps. NetApp’s strategic acquisitions including Spot, CloudCheckr, Data Mechanics, Fylamynt and now Instaclustr have made Spot by NetApp a compelling platform for applications on one cloud and across multiple clouds–continuous optimization, automation, monitoring, and security combined with expertise deploying and operating open-source applications, all delivered as a service, on public and private clouds to give customers more cloud with less cost and less time.

“Data management technology platforms are an increasingly essential priority for today’s modern enterprise as companies look for new ways to accelerate application development for competitive advantage. Instaclustr delivers fully managed open-source solutions that give companies increased productivity and reduced cost,” said Peter Lilley, CEO and Co-founder at Instaclustr. “Instaclustr’s growth has been driven by the fact that companies want to leverage open-source databases, pipelines, and workflow applications without overwhelming themselves with the complexity and cost of managing and operating them. We are excited for organizations building applications for their multi-cloud and hybrid cloud reality to benefit directly from Instaclustr’s data PaaS solutions along with NetApp and Spot by NetApp’s infrastructure solutions, while minimizing operations burdens.”

“As companies race to modernize and digitally transform in the cloud, they must implement solutions that enable them to focus more on building and releasing cutting-edge applications at speed, spending less on infrastructure management and operations,” said Anthony Lye, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Public Cloud Services at NetApp. “Instaclustr does just that and will be a significant addition to our Spot by NetApp portfolio, solving common challenges of cloud complexity, cost overruns, single vendor lock-in, and customers’ lack of internal technical resources. The acquisition marks a critical advancement in our strategy to run application driven platforms and infrastructures.”

“From a technology and product perspective, NetApp’s powerful infrastructure solutions pair perfectly with Instaclustr’s data-layer-as-a-service solutions and services,” said Ben Bromhead, CTO and Co-founder at Instaclustr. “For enterprise customers operating applications in the public cloud or on-prem, NetApp and Instaclustr’s combined platform will offer an unparalleled solution for overcoming cloud complexities while eliminating vendor lock-in risks and the high costs of building and maintaining that same expertise internally.”

The Next Phase of Kubernetes Education will Drive Simplification of Deployment

By: Claude Schuck, Regional Director, Middle East at Veeam Software

Kubernetes is still in its early educational phase as a technology. On Gartner’s Hype Cycle, container management currently sits on top of the peak of inflated expectations. If Kubernetes and other technologies within this category follow the expected trajectory, they will enter the Trough of Disillusionment in the next 12 months – before climbing the Slope of Enlightenment.

This aligns fairly well with where Kubernetes currently is in terms of business deployment. In the Middle East, organizations are waking up to its potential and developing an understanding of where it can deliver real competitive advantage, in the light of the increasing rate of adoption of containers. According to Veeam’s Data Protection Report 2022 69% of organizations in the UAE and 76% of organizations in Saudi are already running containers in production, while 29% and 22% respectively plan to do so in the next 12 months. However, there is a lot of education to be done before IT teams have fully got to grips with how best to deploy Kubernetes.

Over the next 12 months we will see two things happen that will shift perceptions around Kubernetes. The first is that those deploying the technology will start to understand it more, gain confidence in building the business case, and start to demonstrate real ROI. The second is that cloud providers will find simpler ways to serve Kubernetes to organizations, reducing the need for deep technical understanding to deploy it effectively.

Education and enlightenment

Much of the appetite for learning about how to successfully deploy Kubernetes and the benefits of doing so comes from within the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) community. The technical barriers to entry are still relatively high, which is why one of the top challenges identified by organizations looking to deploy Kubernetes is that they lack the necessary in-house skills.

It is often the case that relatively new technologies which experience unprecedented spurts of adoption outpace the market in terms of the skills and infrastructure required to support growth. However, when it comes to Kubernetes, we’re talking about one of the fastest-growing open source technologies of all time in terms of early adoption. It’s important, therefore, that this process of educating the technical community gathers pace.

Over the next 12 months, we will see the number of learning opportunities increase as the industry looks to address the emerging skills gap. An example of such an initiative is, a Kubernetes learning platform from Kasten by Veeam. The programme aims to equip technical professionals looking to upskill and the next generation of tech talent with at least a basic understanding of Kubernetes. This will shorten the learning curve for both experienced and entry-level technologists – burnishing enterprises with a pool of talent that understands Kubernetes and how to get the best out of it.

Making Kubernetes easy

As well as building a solid pipeline of people who understand and can capably consult businesses on Kubernetes, cloud providers are working on ways to make it easier for IT teams to consume and deploy them without in-house technical proficiency. This will ultimately be one of the major driving forces that takes Kubernetes from being an emerging technology in its experimental stages to established enterprise technology. The success of Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) proves that organizations are demanding simpler ways to consume and deploy IT through the cloud. Kubernetes will be no exception to this rule.

Currently, Kubernetes is acting as a management platform for containers and among the earliest adopters are established and regulated industries such as banking and financial services. Businesses from other industries are currently evaluating the pros and cons of Kubernetes, looking at whether they can incorporate it into their networks. To accelerate the growing interest of the broader market, major cloud service providers are beginning to offer Kubernetes-as-a-Service (KaaS) – making it possible to operate Kubernetes as a managed service. KaaS is commonly provided via the public cloud, but as its penetration grows organizations will be able to consume similar services through local managed service providers (MSPs) or deploy them on-premises.

The move towards KaaS will significantly drive-up Kubernetes adoption, taking away some of the initial pain and investment required to deploy Kubernetes and enjoy the benefits of delivering applications faster, at a greater scale, and with greater accuracy. No matter how Kubernetes is consumed, organizations looking to take advantage of the opportunity it offers must be aware of the data protection requirements which accompany it. Kubernetes does not significantly change the threat landscape or bridge any cybersecurity gaps. It requires the same Modern Data Protection capabilities as any other type of data on any other type of platform.

Fundamentally, the infrastructure is now closer to the applications with the help of containers, and data backup must be carried out differently to align with this. The number of workloads using stateful data in container environments is increasing alongside data services being deployed within the Kubernetes cluster. Other public cloud tools can be connected to applications running within Kubernetes, which changes the way data is protected. Simply put, backup works differently for Kubernetes than virtualized environments. This is where specialized data protection solutions for backup and recovery of Kubernetes environments such as Kasten by Veeam come into play.

Over the next 12 months, more businesses will get to grips with the many benefits of deploying Kubernetes, while cloud providers find more consumable ways of serving up Kubernetes including KaaS. As well as investing in the skills required to maximize ROI, businesses must seek the advice of data protection experts when deploying Kubernetes to ensure that they are not becoming exposed to new risks. Organisations in the Middle East must be equipped with Modern Data Protection solutions to ensure their data is protected across physical, virtual, cloud, SaaS and Kubernetes environments at all times.

Kissflow reimagines testing & deployment for citizen developers to help IT fast-track process delivery

New process simulator module gives business users the power to build, test and deploy organisation-wide workflows in a single environment

Kissflow Inc, a leading SaaS software company, today announced the addition of an industry-first, end-to-end Process Simulator in the latest version of its award-winning no-code platform. With this, business users no longer have to worry about separate environments for developing, testing and deploying workflows, and can instead create, simulate and go-live within a single interface. 

While the positive impact that process automation can potentially deliver has become increasingly evident to Middle East organisations, their ambitions could be hindered by overworked IT departments becoming a bottleneck to effective implementation. The biggest challenge citizen developers face is the ability to understand & handle test environments. Even though the development UI allows business users to create processes, systems don’t allow them to test and deploy these workflows and processes in the same environment. These environments are complex and unintuitive, forcing business users to rely on IT to deploy even the smallest changes. This results in delays in delivering and at times stuck in the feedback loop before deployment.

Dinesh Varadharajan, Chief Product Officer at Kissflow explains, “Conventionally, no-code platforms are either too basic, don’t offer customisation, or are too complex that applications can’t be built and rolled out without IT’s intervention. Rising customer demands put a lot of pressure on the business user, whereas the technology or the IT team is not agile enough to handle constant changes and corrections. What they need is not just a way to preview, but to simulate the entire workflow from end-user perspective in a simple and easy to use environment. No more feedback loops just before go-live!”

The new Kissflow process simulator puts business users first, by offering them a single environment for the comprehensive simulation of end-to-end workflows. The solution also offers users the ability to test and view the outcome of Forms, Approvals and Integrations in real-time, as well as to play role impersonations to view and test from different end-user perspectives.

This latest update follows a recent round of enhancements to the Kissflow No-code platform which were made available to the company’s Middle East customers in December last year. With Kissflow’s platform, businesses can automate both simple processes as well as complex and dynamic cases in a single platform. Over 140+ readymade templates are available for business users to set up and launch anything from simple approval requests to complex processes. These drag and drop templates are built for use by HR, sales, IT, finance, procurement, customer support and other functions.

UAE minister hails advanced tech adoption at Sharjah’s VeggiTech

Sharjah: Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, recently visited the VeggiTech farm in Al Zubair, Sharjah .

She was received by Nasser S Alsorayai , CEO, Snasco Investments, and CEO, VeggiTech, in the presence of other senior government and company officials.

Osama Amir, Assistant Undersecretary, Industrial Accelerators Sector, Yousif Al Mutawa, CEO, Sharjah Sustainable City and Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), were also present on the occasion.

The minister toured the farm focusing on the grow light assisted hydroponic and protected hydroponic facilities.

She was briefed on VeggiTech’s role in enhancing the adoption of advanced technology with the sole aim of boosting the agriculture sector.

Sarah Al Amiri commended the level of advanced technology adoption at VeggiTech, adding that the company is using tech to enhance production efficiencies of many varieties of vegetables, aiming to use less water and power.

“With the goal of topping the Global Food Security Index by 2051, enhancing sustainable food production is one of the cornerstones of the UAE’s strategy.” She added.

The minister stated that the UAE is marching ahead in adopting latest technologies, adding that the government is encouraging sustainable development, less carbon emission and environment- friendly green initiatives.

“The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology is keen to support all initiatives and projects that adopt advanced technology applications.” She concluded.

The CEO highlighted that by using progressive and modernized agricultural technologies, VeggiTech wants to address key challenges of traditional farming such as soil, temperature, and water.

“To battle  this,  the company uses protected hydroponics, and grow lights assisted hydroponics. All the produce sold by the company to their consumers are grown throughout the year in artificially simulated weather conditions with hydroponics and growth lights.” He concluded.

Veggitech, owned by Saudi-based Snasco Holding, a leading investment company in the Mena region , is

a market leader in alternate farming is revolutionizing the agriculture industry of the Middle East. A brand with  100°/o organic and natural certification, Veggitech is also HACCP and ISO certified. Founded in 2020, the company aims at using technology to produce crops that exceed expectations.

Sarah Al Amiri visits VeggiTech farm in Al Zubair, Sharjah

Help AG Becomes Managed Security Services Provider Partner of Microsoft in the GCC

The partnership will enable Help AG to provide services based on all Microsoft security products, including Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender.

Help AG, the cybersecurity arm of e& enterprise (formerly known as Etisalat Digital) and the region’s trusted security advisor, has been named as the Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) Partner of Microsoft in the GCC. To mark their collaboration, Help AG and Microsoft signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the 2022 edition of Gulf Information Security Expo & Conference (GISEC), the Arab world’s largest cybersecurity event held in Dubai.

By partnering with Microsoft, Help AG will be able to provide services based on all Microsoft security products, including Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender, covering the domains of security management and identity, information, and threat protection.

Commenting on the partnership, Stephan Berner, Chief Executive Officer at Help AG, said: “We are delighted to be named the MSSP Partner of Microsoft, the global leader in software. The partnership is a testament to our position as the leading Managed Security Service Provider in the region, and our continued efforts to provide the full spectrum of tailored cybersecurity services.”

He continued: “The modern cyberthreat landscape has made it essential to adopt an all-inclusive approach that covers security, compliance, identity, management, and privacy. As a pioneer proponent of the ‘service centric approach’, Help AG has been building offerings that customers can avail “as a service” based on state-of-the-art security platforms and tools. Help AG along with Microsoft now offers the world’s most comprehensive approach to security, as a part of ‘Help AG as a Service’, including solutions such as Microsoft Sentinel, Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps, Microsoft Defender for IoT, and Azure Active Directory Identity Protection.”

Sayed Hashish, General Manager, Microsoft UAE, said: “We are pleased to welcome Help AG as our MSSP Partner. According to research, the UAE experienced a 250% surge in cyberattacks in 2020, compared with the previous year. This included around 1.1 million phishing attacks. In the same year, almost half (49%) the country’s organisations experienced a ransomware attack. By joining forces with Help AG, we are combining our world-class products and solutions with Help AG’s technical expertise and services, to offer our customers superior threat protection solutions.”

Microsoft was recently announced as a leader in the Forrester XDR Wave™: Extended Detection and Response (XDR) report, Q4, 2021. The company continues to innovate to bring the best of SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) and XDR together to empower defenders with an integrated toolset and rich security intelligence.

Help AG customers now have access to Microsoft Sentinel (formerly Azure Sentinel), the cloud native SIEM solution offering more than 100 solutions for data collection in a new content hub for easy discovery and deployment. Microsoft Sentinel will constitute a major component of Help AG’s upcoming Cloud SOC (Security Operations Center), along with offerings from other Help AG strategic vendors.

Help AG will also provide services based on Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps, a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) that operates on multiple clouds; Microsoft Defender for IoT, which offers agentless network detection and response (NDR), working with diverse IoT, OT, and industrial control system (ICS) devices; and Azure Active Directory Identity Protection, which automates the detection and remediation of identity-based risks.

Incorporating Microsoft’s security solutions will expand and strengthen Help AG’s MSS offering further, which delivers flexible services combining security event management, infrastructure monitoring, and incident response either through remote or on-site response teams defined by strict SLAs.

The importance of MSSPs cannot be overstated, as many modern businesses do not have the capacity or expertise to handle vital security operations in-house. This highlights the crucial role played by MSSPs such as Help AG, which provide 24/7 monitoring and incident response, allowing organizations to focus on their core business.

The SAMENA Council Leaders’ Summit 2022 to physically congregate multi-industry leaders in Dubai on May 9th, with Huawei as host

SAMENA Telecommunications Council has announced that its awaited annual congregation of Telecoms multi-industry leaders, the Leaders’ Summit, will be held in Dubai on May 9th, 2022 under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia’s stc Group and with patronage of the UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority. The Leaders’ Summit is an annual leadership event, which encompasses private and government sector leaders’ knowledge exchange and progress driven goal-setting discourse among stakeholders from across the ICT/Telecoms as well as other industries and sectors. To be held under the theme “Thriving in the New Opportunity Realm with Resilience”, the SAMENA Council Leaders’ Summit 2022 will be held fully physically at Atlantis – The Palm. This annual international leadership summit will be hosted in legacy partnership with Huawei for the nineth consecutive year.

Officially announcing the Leaders’ Summit 2022 and inviting industry stakeholders to mark their calendar for the important day, Bocar BA, CEO & Board Member, stated: “Leaders’ Summit 2022’s timing has been linked with and is crucial to the Industry’s evolving need for planning new investments in 5G, cloud infrastructure, and in discovering resilience in the new opportunity landscape. Moreover, the Summit aims to signal normalcy in business, and to help open doors for leadership discourse on critical industry, policy, business, and societal matters as digital transformation paces on. After a hiatus of two years, the physical edition of Leaders’ Summit is once again ready to welcome renowned global and regional leaders to a platform known for its outstanding multi stakeholder engagement, leadership, collaboration, innovation display, and knowledge-exchange in a world-class setting, powered by the Industry’s greatest enablers.”

“Our objectives in this back-to-business, physical edition of Leaders’ Summit is to help demonstrate leadership and commitment of stakeholders to accelerate post-pandemic recovery; showcase participation and relevance of new industries and stakeholders in the 5G and post 5G eras; experience newest innovations in digital 5G-era technologies, network infrastructure, collaboration models, integrated digital service delivery; and to unearth new possibilities for Telecom Operators as well as vertical segments in materializing new business successes”, BA added.

Huawei’s President of the Middle East & Africa Region and Member of the Supervisory Board, Steven Yi, stated: “The global digital economy is developing rapidly, and over 50% of the global GDP will be digitalized in 2022. Huawei is dedicated to come together with industry partners to share knowledge, experiences, and best practices to continuously create value for telecom carriers and to help enterprises accelerate their digital transformation. 

The ICT sector and in particular 5G,  cloud, and digital power will play a vital role in tackling sustainability needs of the Telecom industry and its contributions to other industries. It is essential to keep building onto past successes in terms of dialogue, timely decision-making, and innovation, so that momentum in the region 5G development can be maintained. Huawei is committed to innovation, and we highly value the need to work together to address the issues that our Industry and our world face, and drive our collected work towards meetings the region digital future requirements. Leaders’ Summit 2022 is a platform, which supports stakeholders’ commitment to understanding and adjusting to new realities and to setting new goals in digital development”, Yi added.

Leaders’ Summit 2022 will welcome Chairmen and CEOs from the private sector, and top decision-makers from regulatory authorities and global bodies and institutions, spanning multiple geographies. It will also include participation of global leaders and entities focused on institutionalizing and fostering cross-sector digitization and collaboration, making the Leaders’ Summit the year 2022’s premier virtual destination for leadership, dialogue, demonstration, and for refining future policy and regulation.

The past four and in particular the last two virtual editions of Leaders’ Summit delved into the fast-unfolding reality of digitalization in the era of 5G, with Connectivity, Digital Infrastructure, Cloudification, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Data Centers, Optical Networks, IPv6/IPv6+, Investment Incentivization, and Policy as well as Regulation taking on whole new dimensions. The four-year focus on “5G” from multiple angles is now at a stage at which “Integration” is merited – for technologies, private and public clouds, data processing systems, communications infrastructure, sustainability-led approaches and priorities, as well as discussions and strategies to move forward. Leaders’ Summit 2022 will build the case for taking 5G discussion beyond connectivity to real-life innovations and impact for the business and the society.

Participation in the Leaders’ Summit is by-invitation-only. Industry stakeholders, including ICT and non-ICT segments, may contact SAMENA Council at  to learn more.

SD-WAN: 5 Top Benefits

By: Jacob Chacko, Regional Director – Middle East, Saudi & South Africa at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated digital transformation initiatives to offer an improved customer experience and personalized services, all while tackling increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats. More than ever, organizations need flexibility to keep pace with business change, but they are often hindered by a sluggish and rigid network infrastructure.

Below I will describe the five key benefits of implementing an advanced SD-WAN solution and how it can accelerate business growth:

  1. Improve business agility while reducing overall WAN cost
    To connect branch offices to the corporate data center, organizations have traditionally used expensive MPLS lines. As more bandwidth is required to support increasing connectivity demands, MPLS lines become cost-prohibitive, preventing organizations from fully satisfying their business needs. New MPLS circuits can take up to four months to be provisioned, greatly slowing down the ability to spin up a new branch. This hinders business changes, agility, and flexibility.

An SD-WAN leverages less expensive internet and 5G connections by virtualizing and bonding network links, creating secure tunnels from the branch offices to the data center and to the cloud.

With SD-WAN, organizations can realize the agility needed by the business while reducing costs.

  • Increase security and seamlessly transition to a SASE architecture

Organizations with an MPLS router-based architecture are not able to easily enforce security policies in branches due to the rigidity and the complexity of their network, especially in hybrid-cloud environments. The security perimeter is dissolving as users and devices now connect from anywhere. Traditional security measures such as VPNs are limited as a VPN doesn’t support enforcement of granular security policies. Indeed, once a user has been identified and authenticated with a VPN connection, they can access critical resources inside the network even if they shouldn’t.

SD-WAN is the foundational component to implement a robust SASE architecture. By choosing best-of-breed security capabilities with a tight SD-WAN integration, organizations ensure maximum protection to their employees and other stakeholders accessing the network.

  • Enable a cloud architecture

Organizations are migrating their applications to the cloud and use software as a service (SaaS) cloud-hosted business applications such as Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Box, Dropbox, ServiceNow and many more instead of hosting them in the data center. However, organizations with traditional router-based WAN architectures continue to backhaul cloud-destined traffic from branch locations to the data center, mainly for security reasons, severely impacting the performance of cloud applications at the branch.

SD-WAN enables organizations to embrace the flexibility of a cloud architecture while improving cloud application performance by steering traffic directly to the cloud using local internet breakout.

  • Simplify WAN infrastructure

Over the years, organizations have built their network infrastructure as their business grows. Branch offices often ended up with a stack of appliances in their facilities including routers, firewalls, VPN concentrators, and WAN optimization devices. Updating a business or security policy such as moving an application to the cloud or improving quality of service often requires manually reconfiguring multiple devices. Not only does equipment sprawl require advanced networking skills to maintain and manage, but it also results in multiple maintenance contracts to administer.

SD-WAN enables organizations to move to a thin-branch model by reducing the amount of equipment in branch locations streamlining the network architecture and significantly reducing WAN management overhead.

  • Centrally manage network operations and get visibility

Very often, organizations must manage their network operations on a local basis resulting in a lack of flexibility. The network deployment of new remote sites can be tedious and can take several weeks to accomplish. Corporate IT departments often don’t have complete network visibility to comprehensively monitor transport throughput, packet loss, latency, and jitter. An advanced SD-WAN continuously monitors network health and automatically adapts to changing conditions to always deliver optimal application performance.

With SD-WAN, new branch offices are set up quickly and easily, and security policy changes can be automatically distributed to hundreds or thousands of branches in minutes while minimizing errors. Network administrators can monitor network health through a single pane of glass and dashboards.

Digitalization and Green Transition are the Main Drivers of the Future of Mobility

Italy – a country of skilled manufacturers – and UAE – a country of high quality services –  share a strong vision on the future of mobility

Italy has a long and prestigious history in the automotive industry – over € 33 bilion of cars manufactured in Italy are exported abroad every year – and ranks among the first countries with the highest percentage of industrial robots used in this sector (9% of companies vs 7% European average). The challenges of decarbonisation are leading to a technological reconversion of the entire automotive supply chain, destined to become increasingly sustainable, connected and safe. 

A group of Italian and local experts were invited by the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), in cooperation with the Embassy of Italy in the UAE, the Consulate General in Dubai and the Italian Commissioner’s Office of the Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, at the Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 to discuss the future of the mobility and how connected cars are becoming more and more a reality.

The Innovation Talk titled “Connected Cars and Sustaibalbe Mobility” was moderated by Carlo Ferro President Italian Trade Agency, and included as guest speakers Livia Cevolini, CEO Energica Motor Company S.p.A.; Alfonso Fuggetta, Ceo Cefriel; Alberto Litta Modignani, VP Hydrogen Nextchem; Elisa Vannini, Researcher Connected Car & Mobility Observatory of Politecnico di Milano; Andew DeFrancesca, Sales And Business Development Manager eka; Nuzhat Naweedd, Chief Product Offier CAFU.  H.E. Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, also attended the event and shard with the public his closing remarks.

All over the world we are at a cross road between digital transformation and environmental transition. Opening the floor, Elisa Vannini, Researcher, Connected Car & Mobility Observatory, Politecnico di Milano, shared what are the maintrends emerging in th automotive industry and their impacts in the business model evolution of the automotive sector.

“It’s all about data valorization” Ms Vannini said.  “We’ll see for sure the developing of a lot of new services, for instance maintenance in preventive and predictive way. There will be a process of servitization of hardware with car makers that are going to be able to build a competitive advantage on the hardware components and unlock extended capabilities and offer the users the possibility to activate extra services.

And then we will have an impact even on affiliated sectors, with the insurance companies, for example, being able to customize their policies on the basis of the data collected through the connected vehicles.”

The concept of cars will completely change and so is the way we deisgn, produce and distribute them according to Alfonso Fuggetta, Ceo Cefriel, an Italian center for digital innovation that creates and rethinks products, services and processes, participates to national and international research, and develops digital skills and culture. Cooperation, agility and a stratup attitude are crucial for the industry to accelerate the process of innovation and to rethik the mobility products.

Talking about the combination of tradition and innovation, Livia Cevolini, CEO Energica Motor Company S.p.A, the first Italian manufacturer of high-performing electric motorcycles, said “We are the perfect example of the combination between past and future. We do believe that that’s the best way to also face the new challenges of the new mobility. Having big roots in strong and mature skills, like we have in the Italian Motor Valley, makes you different compared to the sisters that for example we have in Silicon Valley, where software houses have great, incredible skills in the new challenges of the digitalization and connectivity, but not enough.

We are doing mobility, that means also mechanical engineering; what makes a difference and what is for us the winning choice, is to combine the aggressive push for innovation on digitalization and new mobility with the perfect mechanical engineering that we have in Italy, where we have a big history in the automotive field.”

Commenting about the role of hydrogen in accelerating the energy transition in the mobility sector, Alberto Litta Modignani, VP Hydrogen Nextchem, a company for green chemistry and energy transition, said “Hydrogen is an enabler of the energy transition in many sectors, including mobility. In mobility it can serve as a fuel directly into fuel cells and it can be used also to produce synthetic fuels, combining hydrogen and CO2. This can be done in a green way in areas of the world where there is availability of renewable power and renewable sources, like sun and wind, enabling the production of green hydrogen for the decarbonisation of those sectors.”

The Innovation Talks are a platform to foster the dialogue between Italy and UAE initiated by the Embassy of Italy to the UAE last year with InnovItaly and that will continue after Expo2020. Each talk feature highly-regarded personalities from both Italy and the UAE invited to discuss issues related to Expo 2020 Dubai’s weekly themes and the trade fairs ITA is participating in around the Emirates.

To watch the registration of the Innovation Talks, please visit the official YouTube channel of

Italy Expo 2020:

For latest news and updates, please follow @ITAdubai on Twitter, @ITAdubai on Instagram, ITA – Dubai Office on LinkedIn, and Italian Trade Agency on YouTube.

Snowflake Announces Local Cloud Deployment in UAE to Meet Demand for Local Data Residency

Organisations across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa will be able to ensure proximity and governance of data through new Azure region

Snowflake (NYSE: SNOW), the Data Cloud company, today announced its increasing presence in the UAE with general availability on the Azure region in Dubai. The new deployment meets increasing regional customer demand for Snowflake’s Data Cloud, enabling local enterprises to maintain proximity to their data, while enabling strict compliance with local data regulations.

“We launched in the region knowing the importance of local data residency for organisations in UAE and ensuring that data held locally is met with the utmost governance protocols,” said Mohamed Zouari, General Manager, Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, at Snowflake. “Our Dubai office launch, matched with the latest regional Azure cloud deployment,  signals  our commitment to the region’s data innovators, who can now mobilise their data through  Snowflake’s Data Cloud, to drive both business value and agility.”

Customers using Snowflake’s Data Cloud can discover and securely share data, as well as execute diverse analytic workloads. The platform is a cloud-native powerhouse of business intelligence capabilities, including data warehousing, data lakes, data engineering, data science, data applications, and data sharing. Snowflake uses an innovative, per-second pricing model, enabling customers’ access to almost limitless capacity while only paying for the resources they consume.

Snowflake UAE is focusing on local and global systems integrators that are building data strategies and platforms that leverage the power of its Data Cloud. Chosen to spearhead the strategy, the local team focuses are public sector, finance, retail, telecom, media, gaming, fintech, insurance, healthcare and oil and gas. The Snowflake Middle East team is supported by local channel partners to bring Snowflake’s Data Cloud capabilities to a wider set of organisations across those key industries.

“With Snowflake, every company can finally become a data-driven enterprise,” Zouari said. “Many customers such as banks, telecom providers and governmental organizations are tapping into Snowflake’s Data Cloud to accelerate their digital transformation with data at the very heart of this. Data collaboration across these organisations will help achieve their goals of delivering the best citizen experience in the world.”

Snowflake’s rapidly growing customer base of leading regional enterprises includes Emaar, PropertyFinder, Kitopi, Mondia, and ArabyAds.