SUSE Company has bolstered its presence in the Egyptian market through choosing ITVALLY Company as its agent in Egypt. The company seeks through such partnerships to maximize the added value of the services and solutions it provides to the local market in several promising sectors; hence the modern technologies and the ability of these solutions to reduce costs and increase customer productivity.
In this respect, The Egyptian Gazette has interviewed Ammar Halabi, SUSE Regional Director for MENA Region and Amr Marzouk, SUSE Territory Manager for Egypt and UAE, who stressed the importance of the Egyptian market for the global company; hence Egypt’s centrality role as a gateway to the North African region.
The rapid spread of the Corona virus, they confirmed, helped the company prioritizes the digital transformation process, through a package of innovative solutions and services.
Following are the details of the two interviews:
At the beginning, can we talk in detail about SUSE as one of the leading companies in open source operating systems?
Marks SUSE’s 30th anniversary with a lot to celebrate! For 30 years, SUSE has played an important role in the global technology ecosystem. From the beginning, we have pioneered Linux and open source software and today we stand for innovative forward-looking solutions for a digital world. More than 60 percent of the world’s largest Fortune 500-companies rely on SUSE for their critical applications.
With our goal to provide customers with exactly the solutions they need for their digital future and business-growth, we are focussing on three areas: business-critical Linux, enterprise container management and edge computing.
All our solutions are developed with the highest level of security in mind – one of the core areas in which SUSE has been investing for years. Our SUSE Linux Enterprise platform is a good example and has been undergoing the most demanding certification processes. But also, in container management and edge computing, SUSE sets standards with a zero-trust approach, and with SLE Micro, our immutable enterprise Linux solution especially developed for demanding edge and container environments.
SUSE stands for critical software infrastructures ensuring that telecommunications, power plants and the delivery of electricity or rail traffic work uninterruptedly – as well as business-critical SAP infrastructures for example at our Egyptian customers such as El Ezaby Pharmacy or Al-Mansour Automotive.
Furthermore, as a true open source provider, SUSE places the highest value on our products being uncompromisingly interoperable. For customers, this means that they can incorporate the products of other providers that are best suited for them and build a cross-vendor technology stack.
Do you think that your entry into the Egyptian market has been delayed for some time?
The company has a long history of work in the Egyptian market coupled with a large base of customers who depend on SUSE systems as operating systems or applications development containerizations, as well as their security in terms of cyber security. We help, for example, one of the major banks in the cyber security matters according to the specifications required by the Central Bank. At present, we are in the process of focusing further on the Egyptian market through developing new partnerships such as that concluded with ITVALLEY.
What is your strategy for the Egyptian market after choosing ITVALLEY as your agent?
ITVALLEY is one of the companies that have great success in the Egyptian market, and there are many commonalities and strategies between us and our agent. Our view to the solutions provided, as well as the customer service and the great interest that the two companies aspire to provide for customer service, enjoy great correlation. We will also work together to develop cyber security solutions for application containerizations, whether in cloud computing or in local data centers.
Can we talk about the company’s market share and business volume during 2022?
Last year, SUSE successfully completed the largest European tech IPO with our going public. We are growing at a double-digit rate and plan to grow further inorganically. With the successful integration of Rancher Labs and NeuVector, SUSE is strongly positioned for the future. In addition to our Linux solutions for critical infrastructures, including for highly specialized SAP applications, we offer the only container management solution for all CNCF-certified Kubernetes versions as well as technologically leading-edge solutions that enable our customers to digitize securely and easily with the highest level of security – in the data center, in the cloud and in edge environments. Strong financial results allow us to invest in sustainable growth in these areas. This is particularly important at a time of economic uncertainty.
Is there an intention for the company to be present in Egypt through a regional office that will be a base for launching for the Arab region and North Africa?
We have great hopes in the Egyptian market; hence its growth as one of the rapidly growing economies globally. So, we will work to bolster our presence in the Egyptian market more and more in an effective way. At present, we are expanding our partnerships and presence in the events, and forums as well as conferences till having a permanent presence in the Egyptian market.
In your opinion, what are the most prominent sectors in which the company acquires a major market share globally and regionally?
SUSE customers come from all sectors, including manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, banking, retail and insurance, and the public sector. For decades, SUSE provides them with innovative, reliable and secure open source enterprise solutions that are trusted by over 60 percent of the world’s largest Fortune-500 companies to continuously run their critical infrastructures. But let me give you some examples: SUSE is used by 9 of the 10 largest retailers, 13 of the 15 largest pharma firms, by 14 of the 15 largest aerospace companies, by all 10 of the largest auto OEMs, 5 of the 5 largest technology firms, 13 of the 15 largest manufacturers, 4 of the 5 largest healthcare firms and 13 out of the 15 largest financial firms. Our interoperable industry leading IT infrastructure solutions enable customers to innovate everywhere – on-premises, in the cloud and at the edge and beyond.
There is no doubt that the tendency of large companies to invest in giant data centers has become a foregone conclusion – what is your vision in this regard and what are the most prominent solutions and services that you can provide to invest in this aspect?
SUSE solutions are enabling customers to innovate everywhere. Therefore, we endeavour to provide our range of solutions wherever customers need them: on-premises in the cloud or at the edge and beyond. With their cloud-native journey, many customers are moving to the cloud – private, public, hybrid, multi-cloud. The last two years have accelerated this journey, and the Pandemic has shown that a cloud-native strategy is essential for capitalising on the current wave of transformational technologies such as edge computing, containerisation, IoT, and automation.
With SUSE Linux Enterprise, SUSE Rancher and NeuVector organizations can accelerate their digital transformation by simplifying their cloud adoption strategy or building it. SUSE solutions provide Zero Trust security across the cloud-native environment, and are helping customers to deliver applications faster than the competition.
Validated by SAP, running SUSE Linux Enterprise for SAP Applications in the public cloud provides a reliable, manageable and highly available platform for all SAP mission-critical workloads. SUSE Rancher provides full-lifecycle support for Kubernetes clusters hosted on Amazon EKS, Azure AKS and Google GKE. Users can import, observe, secure and configure all their hosted clusters directly from a single console. In combination with SUSE Rancher, NeuVector enables customers to adopt an aggressive, Zero Trust security posture for their cloud-native environment without limiting developer agility. With the Bring-Your-Own-Subscription model, customers can transfer the benefits of their current subscription to their workloads running AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Thus, extending their data center to the public cloud and ensuring the same level of SUSE service across a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
There is no doubt that the trend for open source operating systems was in the past a source of concern for many, but today the situation has changed – can you explain to us?
The magnitude of challenges facing organizations and governments today can no longer be solved behind closed doors. They require the speed and scale of innovation that only the open source model – encompassing a rich and diverse community of over 56 million developers1 actively contributing – can provide.
In the 90’s Linux was still an exception in the data center, but then it started getting traction as more and more large tech-firms recognized its large potential and started collaboration with Linux distributors such as SUSE. Today Linux is THE standard. Not only in the data center, today more that 90% of all workloads in public clouds run on Linux. Or take SAP as an example: SAP is not only an important SUSE partner, its modern applications such as SAP HANA – S4/HANA use SUSE as a reference platform, SAP also relies on SUSE to operate its own infrastructure, while SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications powers the most critical SAP applications at our customers enabling them to securely run and develop their business.
While we are on the digitization journey to cloud-native, containers today are the standard to develop and deliver applications with speed and at scale. And containers and Kubernetes, while young in comparison to Linux, are already standard. And the next technology field powered and driven by open source is edge computing.
From your point of view, how did the image of the world change after the Russian war on Ukraine and after the Corona pandemic?
Covid-19 was an accelerator for digitization. During the lock-down phases, wherever possible, companies had to go digital with their employees working remotely literally overnight. For IT-leaders this has been a strain to provide secure access and enough bandwidth for hundreds and thousands of employees. Especially for retailers Covid has been a challenge, and today post-Covid, this industry has visibly changed, opening new ways of omni-channel customer experiences. And this is only one example.
The increasing rate of cyber-attacks has been an ongoing challenge over the last years. By 2025, 45 percent of enterprises worldwide will have experienced attacks on their software supply chain, as Gartner predicts – a threefold increase from 2021 (Gartner 7 Top Trends in Cybersecurity for 2022 article, April 2022). Global conditions are even affecting more security needs.
Therefore, SUSE is investing largely into security – SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is Common Criteria EAL 4+ certified – the only Linux operating platform with a certified secure software supply chain – and offers other security features such as SLSA-compliance, confidential computing, it supports latest NVDIA and AMD chip-sets for high-level security. With the acquisition and open sourcing of NeuVector, SUSE adds Zero Trust container security to its leading enterprise container management platform SUSE Rancher. Customers can continuously scan throughout the container lifecycle; remove security roadblocks with included security policies from the start to maximize developer agility.
How can SUSE solutions and services contribute to reducing costs and increasing productivity for businesses and organizations?
Ammar Halabi :
SUSE solutions are developed with the goal to accompany customers on their cloud-native journey. Furthermore, as a true open source provider, we will continue to place the highest value on our products being uncompromisingly interoperable. For our customers, this means that they can incorporate the products of other providers that are best suited for them and build a cross-vendor technology stack.
But let me provide some customer examples: our customer Al-Mansour Automotive improved his core business processes by 70 percent with SUSE – they were able to reduce their total cost of ownership by 30 percent, benefiting from 70 percent estimated performance enhancement and 99.9 percent uptime since deploying SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications. Also, Egyptian manufacturer Fresh ensures robust, dependable services for staff and customers with SUSE. In addition, Fresh benefits from a drastic reduction in system downtime, saving 80 percent on software licensing costs, 75 percent faster regulatory reporting and a constant up time enabling 24/7 customer service.
In addition, we work with communities, partners and customers to develop approaches that are sustainable and, in interaction with other components in the data centre, ensure lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Another aspect is long lifecycles for our software. These are already 10 years for most SUSE Linux Enterprise products and can be extended beyond that. This helps customers to use their hardware for a longer time.
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