Zimbabwe's energy crisis
Zimbabwe’s power supply is facing massive challenges due to a significant energy shortfall caused by a drop in output across several major facilities.
Supply has plunged has plunged due to 958 megawatts (MW) at a time where daily demand for power regularly reaches 2,000 MW, shows that the country is facing much deeper problems than most people realise.
Due to an unexpected fall in water levels at the Kariba Dam, Zimbabwe and Zambia are now each generating around 474 MW instead of the 750 MW generated with more optimal water levels.
Hwange Thermal Power Station, the country’s other main plant, has also been faced with a shortfall of its own. While the facility was designed to produce 940 MW, generation has fallen to 414MW as a result of the continued use of ageing machines and ongoing maintenance work.
Zimbabweans are now living in darkness, as most suburbs are going for almost 20 hours without electricity, forcing residents to resort to alternative energy sources such as solar, LP gas and generators.
The President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Busisa Moyo warned that the resultant load-shedding could very well lead to depressed production and job losses.
CZI has estimated that capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector will decrease by the close of the year, from 39 percent to about 29 percent, due in no small part to patchy access to electricity.
Zimbabwe is still reliant on energy infrastructure developed in the 1980s, despite the country's population having almost doubled from 7.2 million in 1980 to more than 14 million.
Batoka Gorge power project needs a further investment of over $3 billion to construct a dam and hydro plant; this is projected to generate at least 2,400 MW for the country’s grid, but the government currently lacks the funding to deliver this.
Zimbabwe is suffering from the same problem as South Africa, except in this case the country lacks South Africa’s economic clout and will thus be much more hard pressed when it comes to providing a long term solution to the issue.
Whether the fall in water levels at the Kariba Dam came about as a consequence of climate change remains to be seen, but problems like this should be expected if the world continues its reliance on carbon.
The poorest and least well-equipped countries in the world will be hit hardest by the onset of global warming; this is why it is essential, at the very least, that they are prepared for this.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
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.”