Interview: George Pawlyszyn, general manager, Middle East and Africa, Rackspace Technology - Gulf Business
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Interview: George Pawlyszyn, general manager, Middle East and Africa, Rackspace Technology

Interview: George Pawlyszyn, general manager, Middle East and Africa, Rackspace Technology

Why multicloud is the default network model for digital-led Middle East organisations

How has local organisations’ appetite for multicloud solutions evolved in the past year?
According to IDC, cloud adoption and opportunities will continue to expand, leading to a $1 trillion market by 2024. The growth of this adoption has accelerated during the pandemic, but Rackspace Technology was well-placed to respond to the high demand as companies pivoted to more cloud-centric ways of working.

Once migrations are complete, the need for service provides doesn’t simply end. Once customers move into the cloud, their ability, and realisation of their ability, to innovate massively accelerates their propensity to use technology.

In 2021, our Middle East and Africa operations will account for 40 per cent of Rackspace Technology EMEA’s growth thanks to our multicloud offerings. We recently launched Elastic Engineering, a flexible way to consume cloud services with the support of a team of experts to develop assessments, migrations and manage cloud services in a scalable way. Also, our ability to bridge private and public cloud allows us to help legacy customers migrate to the cloud faster by understanding both ends of the journey.

What is the preferred outsourcing and managed cloud model for organisations in travel, transport and hospitality in particular, given the changes of the past year?

We work with customers in all sectors including travel and transport. Each organisation requires a different model for outsourcing and cloud management based on their specific requirements. IATA, the trade association for the world’s airlines, which represents 82 per cent of total air traffic, found that during Covid-19, airlines on average have been working at 30 per cent capacity in 2020 compared to 2019. It decided to turn this slowdown into an opportunity to innovate its IT, starting with an architectural review of its environment with the support of Rackspace Technology. It enhanced the use of AWS including containers and serverless to achieve its goal of becoming leaner, greener and use meaningful data.

Aramex, a global logistics firm, was also impacted by the pandemic. It is in the process of migrating from on-premise data centres to AWS following a comprehensive Professional Services consultation. It also created one of the largest data lakes in the Middle East and the deployment of machine learning models in areas of customer experience and last-mile innovation.

Read: Worldwide public cloud spending to grow 23% in 2021: Gartner

Why have organisations and even governments in the regions shifted to a multicloud strategy, and do you see multicloud becoming the dominant strategy for the foreseeable future?
Data residency requirements mean that hyperscalers are opening in multiple GCC countries to enable governments to take advantage of the cloud. Some entities will still require dedicated private clouds.

As companies evolve rapidly, perhaps more quickly than expected, and especially as they seek to become less reliant on legacy technology, operational challenges inevitably arise. Choosing the right cloud provider, or combinations can leave some overwhelmed by the amount of choice. However, in many cases, multicloud does emerge as the most effective solution, allowing companies to use public and private cloud systems together, and tailor solutions to a business’s specific needs.

What challenges are organisations facing in their multicloud strategies?
No two organisations will have the same requirements or face the same challenges in their cloud journeys. The balance between control and scalability is always a delicate one. Another common challenge is organisations that have evolved to become multicloud by circumstance rather than by design, and therefore do not necessarily have the right combinations in place – possibly by adopting public cloud early and then adding a private cloud system, or vice versa. This can lead to an imbalance, or different parts of each cloud environment being used for suboptimal purposes – negating the real benefit of multicloud. Just identifying this is a crucial first step for IT leaders who might assume that simply by having a multicloud system in place, they have done all they need to do. It is not a tick box exercise and can always be refined.

However complex an organisation’s digital requirements might be, multicloud will ultimately have all the solutions, allowing companies to tailor their systems to their own bespoke needs. The challenges that were once so commonplace no longer need to be deterrents to multicloud adoption. Inherent in multicloud make-up is flexibility – the acknowledgement that everything changes, whether it was initially right or wrong. That hesitancy in trying to avoid getting something wrong should not be a factor given how easily adaptable a well-devised multicloud environment will be.

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