May 19, 2020

New light for North African solar projects?

Energy
Renewable Energy
MENA
North Africa
mahlokoane percy ngwato
2 min
New light for North African solar projects?

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Our sister publication Business Review Middle East originally covered this story

A study by the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA), MENA Solar Outlook 2015, has indicated that 1,800MW worth of solar projects are set to be initiated within the next twelve months.

The projected figure of $2.7 billion represents a six-fold increase on 2014, when under 300MW of solar projects were awarded. While the report focuses on the Middle East, there is still much potential for North Africa in the near future.

The report highlights two key factors which are fuelling the sharp rise in solar projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. First, the price of solar systems has dropped dramatically in recent years, from roughly $7.00/watt in 2008 to less than $1.50/watt in 2014, amounting to a 75 percent reduction in costs.

MORE ON SOLAR:

Enel Green Power grows South Africa's solar sector
South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation ploughs capital into solar projects
Gigawatt Global Opens East Africa's First Solar Energy Field in Rwanda

Simply put, this means that, for the same budget as a 10 MW solar PV power plant in 2008, a plant five times larger can be built today without having to spend a penny more.

Secondly, the cost of generating electricity from natural gas has increased. Regional governments have historically been able to produce or import natural gas for less than $2.00/MMBtu. Today, however, much of the new domestic natural gas production could cost up to $8.00/MMBtu.

By comparison, the cost of solar today is equivalent to burning natural gas at approximately $4.00/MMBtu.

With the cost of solar power generation steadily falling, it is becoming increasingly economically viable for governments and business to make the switch, and the MENA region could very well prove to be the exemplary case.

Read the May Issue of African Business Review. 

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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