Cellulant achieves data sovereignty using Pure Infrastructure’s VMware Cloud
By Edlyn Cardoza
Cellulant, a Pan African financial technology company that provides locally relevant and alternative payment methods for global, regional, and local merchants, has created a contiguous cloud experience that enables it to meet data and cloud sovereignty requirements across its regions.
Working with Pure Infrastructure, a VMware Cloud Provider, Cellulant can now offer its services across borders and deliver a ubiquitous user experience, in addition to hosting specific applications in a public cloud while ensuring its transactional data is hosted on its VMware Cloud in the country of origin.
To deliver a Pan-African service, companies must meet each country’s regulations relating to data residency, compliance, and data sovereignty. This is especially relevant to financial services organisations that deal with the most sensitive data, and for whom the public cloud is not an option, especially since few of these companies offer in-country data centers and are unable to fulfill data sovereignty requirements.
“Our vision is to make payments frictionless and seamless, no matter where they are being made. If we can’t meet this core fundamental requirement, we don’t have a business, nor do the merchants and banks we work with. We are on a journey to solve the fragmented payment ecosystem in Africa, providing solutions that address the challenges that merchants and banks face when it comes to collecting payments. By doing so, we believe that create opportunities that accelerate economic empowerment for all Africans,” says John Mburu, Head of Platform Engineering at Cellulant.
The financial technology company, with offices in 18 countries serving 33 other African regions, initially planned to migrate its platform onto a public cloud for all its countries of operation, but due to varying data regulations across some markets, this was not feasible – as some regulatory bodies require that payment data be hosted in-country and meet local data sovereignty requirements.
“We can scale and roll out services much faster, making it easier for us to get services up and running without waiting for annual budget cycles. The first benefit we saw was how quickly the products became available. Within a couple of weeks of closing discussions with Pure Infrastructure, we got our licenses and could select the services we wanted to start with and which ones to add later,” says Mburu.
To navigate this challenge, Cellulant partnered with VMware Cloud Provider Pure Infrastructure, leveraging its VMware Cloud infrastructure to create a private cloud to host payment data and applications. This repeatable, autonomous, vendor-agnostic cloud model allows it to scale across borders without building a physical data center in each country and provides a consistent developer experience.
“To make our technology align with the way the business works, we needed to embrace a utility model so we could grow and shrink infrastructure as needed. It’s been invaluable for us to move to an OPEX model, allowing us to model our business and revenue models down to a transaction and per use,” says Mburu.
“Building a repeatable cloud model that it can lift and replicate in any country is ingenious. This innovation highlights exactly how Cellulant is reshaping the African payment space. They have not only proved the flexibility of the cloud, but with their partner, Pure Infrastructure, they have proven the cost efficiencies a company can gain from their cloud when they get the recipe right,” says Sumeeth Singh, Cloud Provider business head, Sub-Saharan Africa, VMware.
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