[Kenya] iColo expects demand for colocation centres to increase

As internet penetration in Kenya continues to increase, the demand for data centres is also booming. Customers in the country are increasingly using data centres to access public cloud-based services from hosts like Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and others.

Carrier-neutral data centre infrastructure provider iColo expects this demand to go up in the coming years. 

iColo CEO Ranjith Cherickel while speaking during a recent media tour of the firm’s recently opened Mombasa (MBA2) data centre said this increased demand is expected to be in line with the country’s GDP. 

‘’Larger investments are coming from cloud players around the world and they require large resilient systems and this marks a big step in providing colocation’’ he said.

Currently, Africa accounts for less than 1% of the world’s co-location data centre supply, with South Africa accounting for the bulk of the continent’s capacity. Co-location facilities rent space, power and cooling to enterprise and hyperscale customers; they also offer interconnection enabling businesses to scale at low complexity and cost.

In February last year,  a  report from The African Data Centres Association (ADCA) and Xalam Analytic revealed that Africa needs 1000MW and 700 facilities to meet growing demand and bring the rest of the continent onto level terms with the capacity and density of South Africa. 

The reports noted that “At the onset of a new decade, it is increasingly acknowledged that Africa needs a lot more data center capacity than is currently available,”

Ranjith said that we should expect to see a disproportional growth of data centres in countries like Kenya over any other country in the region. 

‘’Colocation in the region will grow well, but in Kenya certainly better’’ he said. 

MBA2 is Icolo’s third data centre providing an estimated capacity of 1.8 megawatts and 1,200 square meters of IT space. 

The new facility can host over 600 customer racks. The location of MBA2 is in close proximity to subsea cable landing points in Mombasa enabling iColo customers to deploy and connect their infrastructure at the new site. The company says this new facility will grow its African footprint and help connect approximately 1 billion people to the internet expanding its services to tap into Africa’s expanding internet economy.

www.icolo.io

[Column] Hardeep Sound: Cloud, innovation key to East Africa’s economic growth

When the early days of the pandemic pushed industries across East Africa into survival mode, it sparked a wave of cloud adoption that has swept through the region. 

Focused at first on ensuring business continuity, investment into cloud technologies and digitalisation has since helped organisations in the region build greater resilience and unlock new business models and revenue streams. 

Even the most reluctant businesses and their customers have now come online. One of the reasons is that the benefits of greater digitalisation became clear almost immediately. 

Businesses that took the opportunity at the outset to build new capabilities, establish new revenue streams or transform their business models rapidly gained an advantage over those that were slower to transform. 

Consider how the retail sector embraced technology to adapt to lockdown restrictions and reach customers, sell products and improve visibility over volatile supply chains. Many of the businesses that digitised with speed now enjoy the benefit of more resilient business models that are better suited to the demands of the modern economy.

Cloud at heart of region’s future success

For businesses across East Africa, the cloud presents a unique opportunity to innovate, develop new products and services, and scale into new markets or geographies. 

Cloud technologies offer access to services and capabilities that are prohibitively costly for most companies to build themselves. By adopting cloud solutions for key business processes, organisations can drive greater efficiency and optimise their business processes without the upfront capital outlay of on-premise solutions.

Taking advantage of the wealth of cloud-based ‘as-a-service’ solutions can also augment internal capabilities and unlock access to supplier networks, tech skills and other capabilities that were previously out of reach. 

Many businesses have experienced the benefits of such services when the first lockdowns created the need to enable remote work capabilities. By leveraging cloud technologies, businesses could maintain communication with teams and customers and ensure continuity. Today, cloud technologies play a central role in transforming how organisations measure, manage and motivate their hybrid workforce.

As the ripple effects of the pandemic travelled through the global economy, businesses turned to cloud technologies to improve visibility over their supply chains and assist with planning and risk mitigation. When a different, post-pandemic customer emerged, one that demanded greater personalisation, convenience and choice, organisations could once again leverage the power of cloud technologies to enable new ways of engagement with customers.  

Once-in-a-generation opportunity

Now, the region faces a golden opportunity to drive innovation and achieve new gains across their internal and customer-facing operations by leveraging the cloud. 

A recent study revealed that some East African industries have taken the lead with cloud adoption, including the banking, marketing, agriculture and education sectors.

Considering the importance of manufacturing and tourism to the regional economy, organisations operating in these industries should leap at the opportunity to digitise.

Business-to-business spending in Africa’s manufacturing sector is set to reach $1-trillion by 2050, and the sector is well-placed to grow and become more competitive through digitisation. By building Industry 4.0 capabilities underpinned by the cloud, manufacturers could unlock the benefits of AI and robotic process automation with predictive analytics to gain unprecedented control, predictability and operational efficiency.

The tourism sector was one of the hardest hit by pandemic restrictions as international travel came to a total standstill at the peak of the pandemic. Considering the sector contributed 8.1% to the region’s GDP in 2019, the impact of the restrictions on local businesses could not be overstated.  

By leveraging the cloud to build new ways of engaging with travellers and removing friction from the travel process, the tourism sector could tap into a global tourism sector hungry for new experiences. 

Three focus areas for cloud success

Businesses will benefit from choosing priority areas for cloud deployment that can deliver the greatest benefit with the shortest time-to-value, and use the learnings to drive adoption in other areas of the business. 

Based on our work helping organisations in East Africa leverage the cloud for business success, the following key focus areas could offer the most valuable starting points for cloud adoption:

1 Innovate, innovate, innovate

East Africa can benefit from greater investment into innovation and research and development to improve the region’s global competitiveness and lure foreign direct investment. 

The pharmaceutical sector, for example, holds enormous potential for research and development initiatives that can drive economic growth and create new industries while also reducing our need to import product and service innovations.

Regional innovators could consider to leverage the experience and market insight of cloud service providers with experience supporting pharmaceutical innovation. This can help avoid costly mistakes, close the gap on best practice, and ensure there is an optimal technology mix to support innovation. As an example, 18 of the world’s 20 largest vaccine manufacturers run their production facilities using SAP technology, so any new facility can tap into SAP’s domain knowledge to fast-track success.

2 Remove uncertainty from decision-making

The continued volatility in the global economy has created an environment of uncertainty that is hampering growth and innovation. To remove some of this uncertainty, organisations should invest in enterprise resource planning solutions to achieve greater clarity and control over key business functions and core processes. 

Cloud adoption can also unlock access to data and analytics capabilities that can empower decision-makers with accurate insights over their businesses, enabling them to guide the business through challenges more effectively.

3 Aim for speed

One of the greatest advantages cloud offers is speed. Instead of spending long periods of time building on-premise capabilities, businesses can readily tap into a wealth of cloud-based solutions to immediately enjoy efficiency and innovation gains. 

For mid-market organisations, this could unlock opportunities to quickly test new digital channels and trial new business processes. Successful trials can be rapidly scaled to the rest of the business or to new geographies, powering their growth.

Hardeep Sound is the Regional Sales Director East Africa at SAP.

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Africa Data Centres to build its first data centre in Kigali

Africa Data Centres has revealed plans to build its first data centre in Kigali, Rwanda. The data centre will have 2MW of IT load and will be purpose-built to meet growing demand in the region.

“It is an exciting time for Africa Data Centres,” says Tesh Durvasula, the company’s CEO. “Our decision to build a data centre in Kigali was an easy one, given Rwanda’s robust economic recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government of Rwanda’s focus on digital transformation”.

“This latest announcement adds to and complements our existing investments in Rwanda and elsewhere in East Africa. We will work closely with both public and private enterprises in Rwanda to ensure that they can harness the benefits of our data centre facility to enable the provision of  digital services that Rwandan citizens need,” Added Hardy Pemhiwa, Group President & CEO of Cassava Technologies.

According to Durvasula, “This new data centre brings three main benefits to the market – global standards, high quality of service and affordability. In addition, enterprises will achieve cost savings associated with building and maintaining their own facilities”.

Although Rwanda is a landlocked country in East Africa, there is stable network connectivity and infrastructure connecting it to Uganda and from there to the Kenyan coast into Uganda. Africa Data Centres will ensure that Rwanda becomes part of their ecosystem in East Africa by connecting the new data centre to their site in Nairobi

Speaking of the need for colocation services in the country, Durvasula says the local enterprise market is eager to benefit from Africa Data Centres’ colocation services and a stable data centre environment. “They will also be able to make the most of global connectivity through a range of global service providers and cloud service providers”.

Ultimately, Africa Data Centres wants to extend the same experience to clients in Rwanda as it does in other countries by building a world-class ecosystem to which the Rwandan market can connect.

www.africadatacentres.com

Cloud in South Africa to increase by up to 50% in 2023.

As most of the working world vacated their premises early in 2020, the cloud market boomed. And it continues to do so today, expanding at around 30% per quarter. In fact, analysts estimate that half of all servers currently being shipped worldwide are being bought by just the top seven cloud providers.

But as the market grows, so do the costs. Public cloud prices are expected to increase by a third in Europe next year as lending rates increase and energy prices soar. While it initially seemed like public cloud would become increasingly more cost-effective, the opposite happened. This year, Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft even admitted that their customers have realised their cloud costs are out of control. In one survey, over 80% of IT leaders said they have begun to halt cloud spending.

There are several reasons for the sprawling costs, says Andrew Cruise, MD of VMware Cloud provider Routed. “First, as the hype around public cloud grew, many businesses started migrating to cloud without doing the necessary proper planning. Careful planning and deployment, using optimised architectures instead of what seems to work for others, can mitigate costs. Secondly, multi-cloud environments have grown increasingly complex, with no comprehensive visibility. Organisations are running different services on the cloud provider that best meets their needs for the given application, with no overarching system to link all these siloes, and have hit a complexity wall – with no way to overcome it within existing budgets and resources.”

But, on the other hand, those who remained on-premises or even migrated back from cloud to on-premises when they hit the proverbial wall, are looking longingly at those who did their homework and are now happily fully functional in the cloud. “The benefits cloud offers are numerous – increased agility and efficiency, longer-term hardware efficacy, greater security, convenience, and scalability. And, yes, it comes at a cost,” says Cruise.

“At first glance, managing your own infrastructure looks less expensive. Cloud adds up over time and amounts to a larger number than the once-off cost of on-premises infrastructure. But when making these calculations, many forget to add the hidden costs: The expertise needed to run the infrastructure, the software and hardware warranties and software licencing or subscriptions that need to be renewed, and the inevitable cost of eventually replacing hardware.” 

The good news is that it’s not an either-or decision. “The truth is that every enterprise’s requirements will be different and there is no magic cloud bullet that can meet every need. Those who focus on development will likely want to look at hyperscalers that offer bells and whistles. For those with more straight-forward business needs, that would be a waste and VMware Cloud would make more sense. For others, the solution might be a little of one and a little of the other. Some might even need to keep certain workloads on-premises due to regulatory requirements.”

Though the cost of VMware Cloud licensing is increasing by 10% too, that’s not quite the same rate as public cloud’s 30%. “With the worsening exchange rate, my guess is that most South African VMware Cloud Operators will be increasing their prices in 2023. AWS and Azure rand-denominated price increases are inevitable – rampant dollar inflation and the broad 25% rand/dollar exchange rate deterioration have also not yet been taken into account and I predict increases of 35-50% in the next 12 to 18 months.” 

At Routed, however, we’ve decided to absorb these costs. In fact, we haven’t upped our prices since our inception – the benefits of an increasing economy of scale. We are more akin to ‘enterprise IT’, and our IT Channel Partners are less likely to suffer from the inflationary pressures that the native hyperscale cloud are subject to. Whatever cloud solution you choose, know that proper planning can prevent unreasonable costs later – and you’ll then have the best of both worlds.”

routed.co.za

[Nigeria] Africa Data Centres extends edge cloud capability through Unitellas partnership at Lagos facility

Equity Bank has enhanced its PayPal withdrawal service by migrating it from the previous web-based portal to Equity Mobile App and Equity Online, its internet banking platform. This shift will boost efficiency for Kenyans who receive payments through the international payment solutions provider.               

Customers will now enjoy seamless PayPal account linking and withdrawal service alongside other numerous bank services on Equity Online and Mobile App. The move streamlines the onboarding process for customers’ PayPal accounts and is now geographically scalable with additional services creating an enhanced experience to fit the diverse customer needs.

Equity Bank, which currently offers the only 24 hours bank withdrawal service in the country enables PayPal account holders to withdraw funds paid from their registered PayPal accounts straight to their Equity Bank accounts in either KES or USD.

Speaking on the upgraded PayPal service, Equity Bank Kenya Managing Director Gerald Warui said, “Equity continues to implement its innovation and digitization strategy in line with the ONE Equity offering which aims to streamline customer experience in centralized platforms to ease access of services at their convenience. From the Equity Mobile App or Equity Online, customers can easily connect to the PayPal withdrawal service by linking their PayPal account to their Bank account. The customer can thereafter initiate a PayPal withdrawal to their Equity Bank account. This is a significant move as Kenya gears towards accelerating the uptake of e-commerce and the adoption of digital payment models such as direct payments into their Equity accounts through PayPal.”

Speaking on behalf of PayPal, Mark Mwongela, PayPal’s Sales Development Director, Africa said, “As PayPal, we are delighted to deepen our partnership with Equity to offer our customers an enhanced service. Whether you are an individual or a business, PayPal will enable you to get paid from over 200 markets. PayPal account holders can now easily access their withdrawal services through their Equity Bank Mobile App and Equity Online. This significant development eases the customer journey making it quick access to funds for businesses reinforcing our commitment to supporting the growth of local MSMEs. 

Freelance writers, Kenyans with families abroad, those in the creative industry and MSMEs involved in cross-border trade among others are expected to benefit from this service.

equitygroupholdings.com

[South Africa] Teraco breaks ground on JB5 – A 30MW data centre expansion to the Isando Campus

Africa’s interconnection hub and vendor-neutral data centre provider Teraco has commenced construction on a new hyperscale data centre facility with 30 megawatts (MW) of critical power load at its Isando Campus in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, South Africa.

The facility, known as JB5, is scheduled for completion in 2024 and will incorporate the latest environmentally sustainable cooling and water management designs.

CEO of Teraco, Jan Hnizdo, said that the company continues with solid growth as enterprise and hyperscale requirements continue apace due to sustained demand for hybrid cloud deployments and the adoption of cloud services in Africa. “South Africa is a springboard for cloud provision into Africa and, as a result, has become the technology and data centre hub for sub-Saharan Africa. Massive global investments into undersea cables, like Equiano and 2Africa, further strengthen this position. This will enable global cloud providers to service not only the South African market but also the rest of the sub-Saharan African region.”

“Teraco is committed to growing its capacity footprint across its core hubs. We ensure our clients have the flexibility to scale and take advantage of the digital transformation across sub-Saharan Africa. We continue to invest significantly in the region’s ICT infrastructure and have built Africa’s largest data centre platform. We take pride in enabling open access interconnection and providing world-class data centre infrastructure for all our clients,” concludes Hnizdo.

The JB5 facility is Teraco’s eighth data centre development located in the heart of Ekurhuleni’s Aerotropolis. It is here that Teraco’s data centres already provide access to a wide choice of network service providers, peering at NAPAfrica, regional IXPs, content delivery networks and cloud provider on-ramps. Hnizdo says that this expansion aims to further support sub-Saharan enterprises by advancing their digital transformation strategies and enabling global cloud providers to expand their footprints —spurring innovation.

JB5 has been designed to put sustainability first and minimise its environmental footprint. JB5 will incorporate the latest state-of-the-art cooling designs, a closed-loop chilled water system that incorporates 100% free air cooling. This design will bring about industry-leading PUEs, thereby reducing the energy consumed and limiting water used in the ongoing cooling process to zero. 

JB5 is the latest expansion to Teraco’s growing data centre platform and takes critical power load capacity at Teraco facilities to 156MW, which includes the Isando Campus facilities; JB1/JB3/JB5 (70MW), Bredell Campus JB2/JB4 (64MW), Cape Town Campus CT1/CT2 (21MW) and Durban (1MW).

Organisations working to accelerate their digital transformation utilise Teraco to dynamically scale their IT infrastructure, adopt hybrid multi-cloud architectures and interconnect with strategic business partners within the Platform Teraco ecosystem of global and local clients.

www.teraco.co.za

Microsoft expands cloud services in South African data centres to drive growth and competitiveness

Microsoft has now made Dynamics 365 and Power Platform generally available in its enterprise-grade data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This move reinforces Microsoft’s commitment to investing in South Africa and increasing cloud capacity and capabilities to enable organisations in the public and private sector to accelerate growth through innovation, agility, and resilience.

The multiple hyperscale data centre locations within South Africa now provide Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform online services to support organisations as they reimagine ways of doing business to adapt to the rapid pace of change in today’s world.

“Leaders in organisations across industries and sectors are focused on finding ways to improve the flow of innovation and knowledge across the business in order to respond to market changes, customer needs and specific business and industry challenges at speed. They need digital solutions that break existing silos between data sources, people, processes, and insights,” says Karin Jones, Director Business Applications GTM at Microsoft South Africa.

The availability and extension of commercial cloud services through South Africa’s growing footprint of data centres – underpinned by an ongoing investment in Microsoft Business Applications – equips leaders with the portfolio of digital solutions they require to: cut costs, improve efficiencies, and drive business continuity and disaster recovery.

Providing flexible platform, productivity, business applications and the ability to rapidly store, analyse and action on data with intelligent software, the local Microsoft Cloud is able to create value at scale, fast and securely. It also allows people to connect with each other and business resources – data, documents, databases, networks, and systems – that they need from anywhere and at any time. This harnesses greater levels of collaboration, sharing, productivity, and learning.

Having these cloud services delivered from South Africa additionally means local companies can securely and reliably move their businesses to the cloud while maintaining data residency and sovereignty and meeting compliance and regulatory requirements.

Combined with the launch of Azure Availability Zones in 2021, they are further supported by the low latency, resiliency and high availability of business-critical applications and data that comes with in-region data centres – guaranteeing uptime and continuous access to critical data, applications, and workloads.

“Organisations in South Africa are increasingly recognising the value of the cloud, driving continued growth and adoption,” says Jones. The IDC State of Cybersecurity in South Africa report showed that nearly half (48 percent) of organisations in the country are using cloud as a platform and driver of digital innovation, and 61 percent of South African organisations said they were spending more on cloud solutions in 2021 than 2020. South Africa’s public cloud services market alone is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.5% through 2025, up from $1.6 billion in 2021. 

New services continue to open up opportunities. Integrating cloud-based services and products with industry-specific clouds – such as retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and financial services – can help extend the value and benefits of the cloud even further. Microsoft’s cloud portfolio includes these capabilities, solutions, and tools to help organisations transform – driven by Microsoft Business Applications and the capabilities of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. 

Microsoft Business Applications are integrated, purpose-built, adaptable business solutions that enable connected operations, help organisations manage specific business functions, build customer relationships, and rapidly create low-code solutions for unique needs.

Powered by Azure and sitting on top of the Power Platform layer is Dynamics 365, a set of pre-built applications that help companies optimise operations, empower cross-functional innovation, and better engage customers. Organisations can onboard users rapidly, deploy these applications quickly, customise them for their own workflows and processes, and provide ready-made business scenarios for business functions from marketing and sales to commerce, supply chain and customer support. 

Power Platform is a low-code/no-code solution that allows anyone in the organisation, from business users to professional developers, to rapidly build, test and bring custom solutions that are tailored for their unique needs into production without having to involve scarce IT resources. “This means businesses are able to adapt and respond to rapid developments in real time,” says Jones.

“Microsoft’s ongoing investment in local infrastructure and the expansion of cloud services in South Africa is helping build the capability and improve operational efficiencies of organisations of all sizes across sectors. This will accelerate digital innovation in the country by enabling businesses to become more agile, resilient, and competitive. This in turn will help unlock broader economic growth for South Africa,” says Jones.

www.microsoft.com

[Column] Benjamin Coetzer: The cloud conversation has changed, it’s faster, smarter and better for business

At the start of the pandemic, anything that could facilitate remote work for scattered business teams, flourished overnight. Microsoft saw two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. Video calling company Zoom’s sales went up 370%. And communication platform Discord’s value more than doubled. 

And cloud is no different. In 2020, 87% of global IT decision-makers concurred that the pandemic would accelerate the shift to cloud.

And it has, says Benjamin Coetzer, Director of Routed, a local VMware Cloud Verified and VMware Principal Partner. “This digital transformation was and still is a global phenomenon, South Africa included. We’re still seeing more spending on all kinds of IT avenues that revolve around facilitating remote work. People are moving into the cloud, getting rid of their on-premises data centres, getting remote VPN software and end-user device protection software – generally mobilising the workforce to work from anywhere.” 

Different clouds, different companies

During the pandemic, many companies started doing more research on cloud migration and deepened their understanding of the cloud environment. “Before, the market had a superficial understanding of cloud – they’d only ever heard of cloud hyperscalers like Google and Azure and thought the cloud was only meant for developers. Now, businesses are learning about the different types of cloud, each with its own ideal use case. They’re doing more research because they were pressed to do so during the shift to remote work. They’re making smarter decisions when planning their shift to cloud,” says Coetzer.

Hyperscalers are more suited to development, while VMware cloud providers are ideal for business use cases. And moving to the right type of cloud not only means a better cloud environment, but also an easier migration, he explains. “Moving to a hyperscaler is a slow and error-prone process for a company running VMware or Hyper V on premises. But moving to VMware cloud is extremely easy. It truly becomes a lift and shift operation, taking their workloads that are running on-premises and migrating it to a cloud provider like Routed. There’s no re-platforming needed, there’s no retooling needed, there’s no retraining of IT staff or a change in IT or business processes. It’s basically like outsourcing the entire hosting function from a physical data centre to cloud.”

Previously, many people made the mistake of moving to hyperscalers when they didn’t need to. “Again, hyperscalers like AWS, Azure, Google or Alibaba Cloud are focused on development, so they use a different underlying platform. “There’s a lot of pain involved in migrating virtual workloads from a traditional hosting platform to a hyperscale provider.  It’s like trying to modify a petrol engine to run on diesel.” 

Cloud migration timeframes

When choosing the right type of cloud, migration timeframes can be drastically shortened, says Coetzer. Now that people understand the different cloud environments better, they’re making better decisions and fewer mistakes, leading to shorter migration timeframes. “One of our clients decided to let go of their physical offices and data centre in its entirety when all their employees started working from home. And they moved over to the cloud platform in a weekend. They were running Hyper V on-premises and simply shifted everything to us. It drastically reduced their spending in terms of rent, power, facilities, and more.” 

For some companies, this was the main driver to move to cloud during the pandemic, he says. “Yes, cloud, is more agile, efficient, and secure, but for many it became a straight-forward budget decision. The alternative would have been to rent space for their servers at a colocation facility, but that becomes extremely costly as well. So, they skipped this step that many others are taking in their digital transformation journey – going from on-premises to colocation to cloud – and went straight to cloud, sparing time, effort, and money in the process.”

But that’s the exception to the rule, he says. For most companies moving to VMware cloud, this journey, from the first meeting to being moved in on router hosting, takes up to six months.

“Moving traditional workloads to a hyperscaler is a much lengthier process – and prone to lead to workload repatriation. A 2019 report done by 451 Research, which interviewed 12,500 companies, found that on average, 30% of workloads migrated had been repatriated within a year of moving. The main reasons for repatriating workloads included performance, cost, and data sovereignty.”

But one thing is sure – whatever cloud environment they choose, the pandemic has caused a ripple effect that’s seeing most people at least seriously considering a move to cloud. And lighter, more agile, and more efficient resource usage will be the long-term result.

Benjamin Coetzer is the Director of Routed.

[South Africa] Teraco completes JB4, the latest hyperscale data centre expansion to the Bredell Campus

Teraco has announced the completion of the first phase of JB4, its new hyperscale data centre addition to the Bredell Campus, Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, South Africa.

The new facility supports the growing demand by enterprises and cloud providers for data centre capacity. JB4 offers highly resilient and secure colocation facilities in line with Teraco’s long-term vision of enabling digital transformation across Africa.

As one of Africa’s economic powerhouses, Gauteng (the greater Johannesburg Metropol) is a logical destination for Teraco’s continued investment in data centre infrastructure on the continent. Home to digitally connected enterprises, including telecommunications, financial services, e-commerce, logistics, and retail, the Johannesburg Metropol benefits from its enviable location in the heart of southern Africa, which has led to it becoming the hub for connectivity and peering.

JB4 represents a strategic addition to Platform Teraco, offering enterprises and cloud providers a scalable platform for IT infrastructure deployment while sustaining performance, reliability, security, and the most comprehensive network choice. The first phase of JB4 comprises 30 000sqm of building structure, 8 000sqm of data hall space, and 19 megawatts (MW) of critical power load. Teraco has secured adjacent land and power for Phase 2 expansion, bringing the total critical power load in the facility to 50MW at the end state.

The JB4 addition to Teraco’s growing data centre platform takes critical power load capacity at Teraco facilities to 126MW, which includes the Isando Campus JB1/JB3 (40MW), Bredell Campus JB2/JB4 (64MW), Cape Town Campus CT1/CT2 (21MW) and Durban (1MW). 

This data centre facility dramatically extends Platform Teraco’s capacity in South Africa, according to Jan Hnizdo, CEO, of Teraco: “Forming a vital part of the African IT landscape, Platform Teraco is an essential part of the modern enterprise’s digital transformation strategy with its diverse industry ecosystems and open interconnection marketplace.” JB4 is connected to all the other Teraco data centres through the diverse ecosystem of network operators in the facility, making it ideal for the distributed interconnection-defined architecture of the modern enterprise.

Hnizdo says that the majority of enterprise organisations are accelerating their digital transformation strategies and placing a greater focus on cloud adoption strategies: “Enterprises are looking for the ability to scale as network strategies evolve, and in a world where fast and secure interconnection with strategic business partners is a priority, this is a source of competitive advantage.” 

Organisations working to accelerate their digital transformation utilise Teraco to dynamically scale their IT infrastructure, adopt hybrid multi-cloud architectures and interconnect with strategic business partners within the Platform Teraco ecosystem of global and local clients. 

Hnizdo said that the company continues to see significant growth as hyperscale requirements expand due to increased demand for cloud services in Africa. “The continued increase of cloud adoption in Africa is also being enabled by investments in critical infrastructure, including hyperscale data centre facilities such as JB4. This will enable global cloud clients to service the South African market and the rest of the sub-Saharan African region.”

www.teraco.co.za

[Column] Fanie Botha: Migrating data from the mainframe to the cloud simplified

Recent advances in automated tools for migrating legacy applications to the cloud have altered the mainframe market. Many companies that rely on mainframes are now migrating to modern cloud-based platforms in order to stay relevant and ultimately, to save costs. 

However, one of the biggest challenges when migrating from any mainframe is moving transactional and master data. These large-scale migrations normally take longer than 18 months and given the scale and complexity of these projects, businesses have been slow to adopt these automated migration tools.

Data migrations always seem simple on paper, but the reality is that 1:1 mappings end up becoming 1:n:1 mappings, with more exceptions than rules. The reasons behind this include the fact that modern enterprise systems, model data objects very differently to how mainframe systems were designed.

The fact is that many of these data migrations that are sold as being ‘automated’ end up being executed by teams of human data capturers and developers. They spend much more time on programming for the deviations in the data than the fields that can map 1:1.

Imagine if one could replace the team of human data capturers with a humanoid robot. It could be trained on exactly the same principles and exceptions that necessitated the use of humans over data migration programs in the first place.

Digital workers are the solution

Well, it’s now possible with FIRtech’s Robotics as a Service (RaaS) solution. It’s an automation tool that makes this task almost effortless, a proven mainframe data migration and modernisation tool that helps companies mitigate their mainframe risks in the shortest possible time and with the least amount of risk.

The data migration robot uses front-end GUI’s to retrieve data from the mainframe and automatically migrate and capture the data into a new system. This removes any risks, where business rules that are built into the system GUI or terminal, are overwritten by the use of back-end scripts.

More importantly, it also ensures that exceptions are caught, fixed and recaptured before any data inconsistency is created in the new system. A single robot can work up to 24 times faster than a human and doesn’t need any rest or sleep. Effortless, errorless data migration in a matter of hours, not days or months.

RaaS provides business leaders with better access to the data captured in these legacy systems. Mainframe data, which contains many years of business transactions, can now be used to feed analytics or machine learning initiatives that can deliver competitive advantage.

By taking advantage of the multiple protocols and interfaces available on cloud services, they can unlock core business processes and data in their mainframe. Companies can now access mainframe data instantly, RaaS will help them move away from rigid monoliths and remove outdated interfaces and protocols.

Cloud is the future, it offers access to advanced analytics, AI, machine learning and data lakes. It also offers horizontal scalability with virtual unlimited capacity to increase scalability and elasticity.

Fanie Botha is the COO at FIRtech Holdings South Africa.