Increased digitization, investment in cloud-based services drive growth of Africa data center market, report

The Africa data center market is likely to grow at a CAGR of around 14 per cent during the period 2018 – 2024 according to a recent report by Research and Markets.

icolo.io, MainOne (MDXi), Cloud Exchange Datacenter, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Medallion Communications are the prominent investors in the Africa data center market. Digitization is considered an important avenue for the African economy. It is transforming African economies through retail payments systems, financial inclusion, sustainable business models, and revenue administration.

Governments in the region are taking several initiatives to replace legacy systems and migrate to cloud-based services as part of smart city initiatives. IaaS is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40%, followed by SaaS at 30% with enterprises increasingly shifting to the public cloud platform. There has been a surge in colocation data center investment in markets such as Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, and Senegal in the past two years. Governments are taking initiatives to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity generation.

Increased digitization in African countries, the adoption of cloud-based services, migration from server rooms to managed, colocation, and hybrid infrastructure services are driving the investment in the Africa data center market. The report provides an in-depth market and segmental analysis of the Africa data center market by electrical infrastructure, mechanical infrastructure, tier standards, general construction, and countries.

www.researchandmarkets.com

SEACOM upgrades CloudWorx for public cloud networks and data centres in South Africa

Moving to meet the requirements of an evolving corporate ICT marketplace, Pan-African Internet and connectivity service provider SEACOM is expanding its CloudWorx cloud connectivity solutions. 

CloudWorx is a versatile, private connectivity service for businesses that connects corporate customers directly to the leading cloud-service providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

Until now, SEACOM’s CloudWorx was primarily provisioned through the provider’s network interconnections with data centres in Europe and was exclusive to companies in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The revised and upgraded CloudWorx continues to provide low latency and secure access when connecting to cloud providers overseas, but now also includes access to public cloud networks and data centres located in South Africa – accomplished via SEACOM’s presence in open-access Teraco Data Environments.

In addition, as SEACOM extends its South African national network, CloudWorx will increasingly be available to corporate customers outside the country’s major metros.

The shift in scale of CloudWorx availability reflects SEACOM’s growth as a connectivity and business solutions provider.

Approved by regulatory authorities on 1 March, SEACOM has acquired 100% of FibreCo Telecommunications, a national fibre network with infrastructure, connectivity services and over 60 Points of Presence across South Africa.

This ever-expanding footprint will bring SEACOM cloud connectivity solutions, like CloudWorx, to businesses in hitherto neglected economic centres such as Bloemfontein and East London.

Whether your requirements are to connect to the newly-launched Azure or AWS data centres in South Africa or Google and Oracle based out of Amsterdam, SEACOM has the presence, infrastructure and scalability to help South African (and East African) businesses fast-track and support their cloud migration strategy.

The FibreCo acquisition introduces over 4700km of national fibre, in addition to SEACOM’s pioneering subsea cable system connecting East Africa to South Africa, Europe and Asia.

This robust network lets SEACOM customers take advantage of a high-speed, flexible and resilient backbone from an end-to-end perspective. International capacity on the SEACOM network is currently lit at 1.5 Tbps and the South African national backbone is being upgraded to 1 Tbps.

Across the board, fibre access is uncontended and unshared to provide corporates with carrier-grade, scalable connectivity.

Scalability and general fluidity are key considerations for South African businesses to future-proof their cloud migration strategy. Cloud provider requirements may switch between public Internet access and dedicated private connectivity.

Meanwhile, individual businesses may see their cloud usage change in line with their growth strategy, using office software-as-a-service today and data-intensive AI analytics tomorrow.

As Robert Marston, Global Head of Product at SEACOM, explains, “Through SEACOM’s investments in undersea & terrestrial fibre, coupled with its interconnections with the major Cloud Providers both locally and internationally, SEACOM has the highest-speed bandwidth, low-latency routing, and a comprehensive set of options to ensure its clients can make effective use of the Cloud services in their businesses.”

Although it has benefits for medium to large businesses in all sectors, SEACOM CloudWorx is versatile enough to cater for industries such as the Mining Sector who may have limited requirements for cloud connectivity, to the Financial Services Sector, which has strict security and throughput requirements driven by their day to day operational needs.

 In these applications, utilising software-as-a-service platforms, hosted in a cloud environment, results in increased speed, security and application efficiency.

With CloudWorx users experience higher security, lower latency, increased reliability and greater speed in comparison to public Internet connectivity to cloud platforms.

In line with SEACOM’s commitment to growing business in Africa, CloudWorx is a specialist approach to cloud connectivity that prioritises flexibility and scalability for customers. Local organisations can leverage it to improve their efficiency and competitiveness as the wholesale digitisation of work takes hold.

www.seacom.com

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[Column] Anton Jacobsz: The always-on economy gives cloud data management trends a seat at the boardroom table

With regards to both data centre and cloud offerings, data management provides an important tool to facilitate an infrastructure that needs to operate in a round-the-clock application availability

The digital transformation of today’s enterprises requires being able to operate in an ‘always on’ economy; offering instant service delivery for today’s modern consumers with their expectations of immediate fulfilment.

With regards to both data centre and cloud offerings, data management provides an important tool to facilitate an infrastructure that needs to operate in a round-the-clock application availability. At the same time, data must be protected, and compliant with legislation that globally is becoming increasingly stringent and aware of the consumer’s needs.

Anton Jacobsz, CEO at Networks Unlimited Africa, says, “Companies need to be able to streamline and automate their processes in order for data management systems to operate at maximum capacity and meet business goals. This means reducing IT management while still improving workload delivery. With this thinking as a central concept, we have seen the development of some interesting trends recently, with enormous significance at the top echelons of the business’ thinking. Cloud data management trends today are under the spotlight from a business imperative and not simply as only a technology function.”

Important trends going forward include artificial intelligence (AI) powered data management, accelerated cloud adoption and GDPR compliance.

AI-powered data management: According to multinational professional services firm Ernst & Young, disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI)will unsettle not just corporate business models, but also society as a whole. But while these challenges are certainly palpable, how a company responds to disruption will ultimately determine its success.

According to Gartner, data and analytics leaders must examine the potential business impact of trends such as augmented analytics, continuous intelligence and explainable AI, and adjust business models and operations accordingly – or risk losing competitive advantage to those who do.

Jacobsz says, “Gartner has also noted previously that AI will be a major digital driver for reinventing business models and the customer experience in years to come, projected until at least 2025. These projections include a focus on event-driven IT, a machine-learning (ML) model that involves constantly sensing and responding to business events (which range from completed transactions to threat detection). The focus is on seeking solutions that can centralise data management across all environments.”

Accelerated cloud adoption: A study by Spiceworks, a professional network for the IT industry, found that organisations are looking at cloud adoption for a number of reasons, including data accessibility, disaster recovery and improved flexibility.

GDPR compliance: Jacobsz notes, “The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) were definitely a top focus around the business world during 2018 and this continues as we move forward. This legal framework, which came into effect on 25 May 2018, sets guidelines for the collection and processing of identifiable personal information of individuals within the EU, while also imposing fines where necessary. These fines can be revenue-based, of up to four per cent of their annual global revenue.

The GDPR is a critical regulation for banks, insurers and other financial companies, as well as IT companies that could be involved in the processing of the data of EU citizens for these businesses. Companies around the world have been forced to look at – and where necessary restructure – their data management strategy to comply with the GDPR. This includes looking for solutions that support compliance with automation, searching and customisable reporting, as well as security solutions.”

Jacobsz concludes, “The benefits of cloud data management include the consolidation of processes such as backup, disaster recovery, archiving and analytics, as well as security solutions. This all speaks to cost savings and compliance, showing why data management is increasingly being recognised as a strategic business imperative at the boardroom table.”

Anton Jacobsz is the MD of African value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited.

African Cloud Market Will Double in Size Over the Next Five Years, Report

The report notes that while the cloud services sector is in its early stages of development in the continent, the impact of cloud services is already far-reaching.

The African could market will double in size over the next five years. This is according to the “The Rise of the African Cloud: Azure, AWS, Vmware and the Battle to Transform African Enterprise Markets” report.

The report notes that while the cloud services sector is in its early stages of development in the continent, the impact of cloud services is already far-reaching.

African banks are making investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to improve the customer experience and credit risk; new “digital banks” are emerging, that are, at least in part, cloud-based.

Governments are using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance public service delivery. Large retail firms are using compute capabilities and AWS databases to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base – and scores of African cloud-native startups are leveraging the cloud to disrupt entire industry sectors.

The African cloud may be small, but it is already here indeed, and it is growing fast. For African markets, cloud, virtualization and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technology developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution. Few other segments in the African ICT space are as likely to generate an incremental $2bn in top line revenue over the next five years, and at least as much in adjacent enabling ecosystem revenue.

This report highlights the near term economic, commercial and investor value opportunity offered by the rise of the African cloud. 

Building on the author’s established analysis of African enterprise and digital infrastructure markets, 18 months of research and 100+ interviews and conversations, The Rise of the African Cloud explores the readiness of African markets for thriving private and public cloud services; it analyzes cloud demand and use case patterns, at segment level, from financial services to the public sector and startups; it estimates and projects cloud services market size; it details the competitive strengths of global hyperscale cloud providers and how their battle is translating in the African context; it outlines the impact of cloud services on Africa’s managed service provider ecosystem and telcos’ evolving enterprise businesses; and it breaks down the investment case within the African cloud value chain, from enterprise connectivity to data centers and SaaS.

www.researchandmarkets.com

[Kenya] icolo.io starts construction of its Nairobi Data Center

icolo.io, a leading provider of carrier-neutral colocation services in Africa has commenced the construction of its new data centre in Kenya. The new Data Center called NBO1 is located in Karen Nairobi and will be second data centre from the company following the construction of the first data center in Mombasa.

Construction of the data centre started in November 2018 and is expected to be complete in August 2019. This new site will host more than 250 racks and accommodate IT power of 825kW.

“With the announcement of the build of our second data centre in Kenya, we reaffirm our resolution of making Kenya a major convergence point in data communication in Africa. With this sizeable investment, NBO1 will be Nairobi’s first true carrier and vendor-neutral data centre with scale,” said Ranjith Cherickel, Founder and CEO of icolo.io.

NBO1 will have over 624m2 of rack space with a 99.999% guaranteed power uptime. The architectural design of the data centre sits on a 4,400m2 area ensuring redundant power complete with back-up generators which are DCC certified, N+2 high precision cooling and pre-cabled interconnects. The entire infrastructure will be concurrently maintainable.

This data centre will serve major businesses in the East African region ranging from internet service providers, financial services institutions, enterprise customers, medical facilities among others.

“NBO1 will be at the centre of Silicon Savannah and it’s a fantastic opportunity for our talented ICT professionals to build scalable infrastructure in and around the region. This places Kenya at the heart of Digital Africa” added Mr. Cherickel.

The building will be supported on drilled concrete piles with reinforced concrete columns, beams, and hollow-core concrete slabs, as well as raised floors in the data centre to enhance the flow of cold air in all the white space and technical rooms. The building will have two dedicated Meet-Me Rooms that will serve as two diverse entry points for all fibres coming into the building thus providing redundancy for our connectivity partners.

www.icolo.io