Raxio Group appoints Master Power to manufacture and install its data centres in Africa

The Raxio Group a premier pan-African data centre developer and operator has appointed Master Power Technologies to build and install its multiple data centres in Africa. Master Power is a leading data centre solutions company, specialising in the supply and installation of pre-engineered data centres in the continent. 

Following its first facility in Uganda, Raxio’s next suite of data centres are being developed in Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique in order to deliver premier colocation services to the region. The infrastructure will help drive growth to the region by supporting the rising consumption of data and the growing digital needs, while reducing the costs associated with digital access for all.

Master Power’s appointment was the result of a highly competitive bidding and evaluation process conducted by Raxio’s technical team and overseen by Raxio’s lead design consultant, Future-tech. Master Power’s scope of work across Raxio’s multiple sites will cover design localisation, supply, install and commissioning of all technical areas. Raxio’s unique and highly innovative design based on “metro-edge” principles is highly scalable and will deliver the lowest power utilization effectiveness ratio (PUE) on the continent through the choice of best-in-class energy efficient power and cooling technology.

The new Raxio data centres will continue to broaden customer access to state-of-art colocation facilities, boosting digital transformation in new markets on the continent, and providing an environment to meet the demands of the population for increased connectivity. The facilities will also be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation, while minimising the impact on the environment through an energy efficient design which does not compromise the reliability of the overall system.

Raxio facilities are designed to cater to a wide spectrum of customers delivering power densities up to 21KW per rack whilst providing the cooling required to optimally run customer equipment.

All the facilities are being designed and developed in compliance with Uptime Institute’s Tier III standard, with no single points of failure, enabling concurrent maintainability. In addition to providing power and cooling redundancy, the data centres will also enable connectivity redundancy through diverse fibre intake and meet-me rooms, all within a highly secure environment.

Founded in 1999, Master Power has built a strong reputation in continuously innovating the data centre industry across the African continent, enabling its customers to focus on their core competences and outsource data space. Since its inception, the company has built industry-leading business cases around commissioning, installing, and providing after-sales services for a comprehensive range of its turnkey backup power and data centre solutions. Master Power is a proudly African company, committed to contributing to build the continent, and has clearly demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the Sub-Saharan Africa data centre industry.

Robert Mullins, CEO of Raxio Group said: “Working with Master Power allows us to accelerate our expansion through a more streamlined and optimized design-to-commissioning process across multiple sites. Master Power’s long-established track-record of successful installations across the African continent and a highly-skilled team, as well as its ability to tailor its solutions to meet the requirements of our unique design were key criteria in our selection process. Together with our own resources and technical partners we are convinced we have a winning combination to deliver these paradigm-shifting facilities to the region. In addition to this, our shared vision to enable digital transformation across Africa, driving economic growth and opportunities for the entire population makes Master Power the ideal choice for us.”

Menno Parsons, CEO of Master Power said: “Digital infrastructure is desperately needed in Africa as connectivity becomes available to more of the population. Working with Raxio to build its next suite of data centres is critical in helping to support the growing demand for colocation services across the region, and we are very pleased to be able to support the rollout of such unique, next-generation facilities. Our experience in the region and Raxio’s commitment to help grow Africa’s digital communities means we will be able to increase the infrastructure available in key regions.”

www.raxiogroup.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Nguniri: Kenya’s Kenya Data Center Market Size by investment is set to Reach $342 Million by 2026

Kenya is witnessing the growing adoption of digital services such as cloud, big data, and IoT driving the demand for data centers in the region.

Kenya’s data center market is set to grow at a CAGR of 12.36% during 2021-2026. This is according to the “Kenya Data Center – Investment Analysis & Growth Opportunities 2021-2026” report released this week.

The report notes that  the data center market in Kenya includes around six unique third-party data center service providers operating around nine facilities. 

Kenya is one of Africa’s primary data center hubs and is considered the gateway to the East African region. Nairobi, the capital city, is a favorable location for data center development. In Kenya, Unaitas Sacco, a financial firm, selected Eastra Solutions for installation and commissioning services to Unaitas Data Center. Atos is investing in the development of a new data center facility in Kenya with around USD 260 million investment at the Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC) in Butere, Kakamega County.

Icolo.io which is among the top data centers investors in Kenya recently announced the construction of its third data center in Kenya to be located in Nyali, Mombasa. Called MBA2, the new data center is expected to be completed in Q1 of 2022 and set to provide an estimated capacity of 1.6MW megawatt and 1,200 square meters of IT space. 

Other key investors include IXAfrica, PAIX, Teraco Data Environments, and Wingu.

Other tech giants like Huawei Huawei Technologies is among the leading vendors in the modular data center space with multiple efficient and reliable deployments. All the vendors the report notes have taken precautionary measures to reduce disruptions in their supply chain operations. The most commonly adopted servers in the industry include rack and blade servers from Cisco Systems, HPE, Dell Technologies, IBM, and Lenovo.

Data centers are being utilized now more than ever according to Carol Koech is the Country President for Schneider Electric East Africa. Data spending is also going up with Gartner estimating that end-user spending on global data center infrastructure is projected to reach US$200 billion in 2021, up 6% from 2020. The landscape in East Africa is no different. In Kenya for example, the country has a total number of 43.7 million Internet/data subscriptions according to the Communication Authority of Kenya; this coupled with the country’s youthful demographics means that data demand will rise rapidly, which will require more data centers. And we can already see investments in this space.

Across Africa, the continent 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.

Nina Triantis, Global Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology at Standard Bank notes that we should expect to see a substantial wave of data centre investments materialise across the continent, led by regional economic powerhouses including South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.  

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: There’s an increasing demand for data centers in Africa

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

For the time being, 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.

Nina Triantis Global Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology at Standard Bank notes that we expect to see a substantial wave of data centre investments materialise across the continent, led by regional economic powerhouses including South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.  

In South Africa for example, Teraco’s regional interconnection hubs were  further enhanced by the addition of the Africa Coast to Europe Subsea Cable (ACE). The ACE submarine cable is now live and available for interconnection at three of Teraco’s data centres across South Africa, expanding access to broadband connectivity and digital services on the continent.

In February this year,  a new 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,s claims. 

The reports notes 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,”

 “The need for hosting capacity is largely structural; an outgrowth of a host of megatrends that are transforming the region’s economic and social fabric and are putting considerable pressure on existing infrastructure.” 

In 2020, the Africa data center market size by investment was valued at USD 2 billion in 2020 and is expected to USD 5 billion by 2026.  

These data centers are key to the continent achieving its digital potential. Jonathan Duncan, the Secure Power Director, Anglophone Africa at Schneider notes that data centers are the basis for digital transformation

‘’We’re going to need many more data centers everywhere across the continent to power economies, speed up connectivity and reduce the overall costs for server-hosted services,’’ he says in an op-ed published on iAfrikan.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

Hyperscaler, Neutral Carrier, Cloud Player, the 2021 Datacentre Trends, IDC

Datacentres will undergo significant change in 2021. There has been a revolution in behaviours and approaches that is shifting investment and innovation, and how datacentres provide services and provision for data and compliance.

According to Sabelo Dlamini, Senior Research and Consulting Manager, IDC Sub-Saharan Africa, some of the trends include the growth of the hyperscaler, continued reliance on the carrier-neutral datacentre, and a focus on performance and quality as data becomes increasingly invaluable.

“In addition to the introduction and expansion of hyperscalers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, there will also be growth in the carrier-neutral datacentre for cross-connect services, meet-me rooms, and internet exchange points,” he adds. “This is because we are expecting a growth in traffic volumes due to changes in enterprise processes and consumer behaviour because of COVID-19.”

The carrier-neutral datacentre is likely to become key in developing fair playing fields, particularly for smaller internet service providers (ISPs), to have access to different interconnection points and internet exchange points. As emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and robot process automation (RPA) continue to cement their scope and capability, demand for datacentres will increase, as will the volumes of data generated by the enterprise.  Cloud computing demand will continue to rise, as will the adoption of AI and IoT services that are hosted in the cloud, and this will put a heavy reliance on datacentre capability and ubiquity.

“Mostly everyone will be moving to the cloud so it is critical for every organisation, especially larger enterprises, to see how these changes can impact their business process in the near future, and start to prepare for it,” says Dlamini. “Even if your business is not planning to move, or you think your organisation won’t be affected, your key clients might be moving, and they may expect your processes to be cloud-ready. This is the right time to develop a cloud-ready or digital strategy that ensures the company can survive this transition.”

Everybody is transforming. Competitors, clients, and governments. It is time to ensure that the organisation has the right tools in place to fully leverage the potential of cloud, technologies such as AI or RPA.  This trend towards cloud-ready, digital-native organisation reliant on robust datacentre capabilities, will be further influenced by an increased demand for improved performance and quality of service that will push the datacentre further into the spotlight, and into the critical heart of the organisation.

“There will be a growing need for distributed content delivery networks, and these need to be hosted in regional or local datacentres that are closer to end-users,” says Dlamini. “Additionally, we will see an increased expansion of existing datacentres locally to cater for the growing legal requirements for data to exist within the country.”

On the hyperscaler frontier, the growth and expansion of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft is likely to remain a key driver impacting all these trends. These giants of cloud will continue to evolve their services and reach, allowing for the organisation to reach deeper into its cloud investment and squeeze out every last virtual drop of potential.

“The datacentre trends of 2021 are driven by the need to ensure that organisations have systems and processes in place that are cloud-ready, that can cover both on-prem and off-prem cloud investment, and that can fully support the hybrid cloud model that many sectors require,” concludes Dlamini. “These factors will shape how the datacentre evolves over the next 12 months and it is very likely that continued innovation and investment will further shift the capabilities of the datacentre and how the organisation can benefit from them.”

www.idc.com

[Nigeria] Actis acquires majority stake in Rack Centre, announces plans to build a $250 million African data centre platform

Leading investor of private capital into global emerging markets, Actis has acquired a majority stake in Nigeria’s leading, independent, co-location business, Rack Centre. 

Rack Centre owns and operates a certified Tier III data centre in Lagos. It has the largest installed capacity in West Africa hosting over 80 international, regional and local clients. With over 35 carriers connecting to the facility, as well as hosting Nigeria’s internet exchange, Rack Centre is the most connected facility in the region and links every country on Africa’s Atlantic coast.

The investment into Rack Centre will fund a rapid expansion of the data centre, doubling the existing modular capacity and developing a traditional-build scale data centre on the same premises. This will create the largest data centre outside South Africa with hosting capacity in excess of 10MW over the near term.

Actis is already one of the largest real estate and power generation investors in Africa. The firm has also created a Chinese data centre platform, Chayora Holdings, to develop hyperscale data centre facilities in Tianjin and is exploring other Asian markets.

 “We have been tracking the data centre market in Africa closely, building relationships with key operators and customers. Africa is at an inflection point and we expect to see an explosion in growth of demand for hosting capacity in independently owned data centres across the continent.” David Morley, Head of Real Estate at Actis, said:

“We are excited about this new partnership with Rack Centre and its promoter Jagal Investments.  Together they have built a strong business of international repute, hosting a compelling mix of customers ranging from leading Nigerian corporates to global cloud majors.” he added. 

Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre said “It has been a great honour to lead the growth of Rack Centre to become one of the most respected carrier neutral data centre brands in West Africa. Rack Centre is now at a key juncture and my team and I are excited with being part of the future growth. With over 750kW of installed capacity, it is now doubling capacity to 1.5MW of IT power at the currently location on a trajectory to 10MW”

 “Jagal is excited with its new partnership with Actis. Rack Centre has developed into a leading and respected African brand and it is now at a critical stage for investment and growth. Actis understands global and emerging markets and will be a fantastic partner for the next phase of the Rack Centre journey” Maher Jarmakani, CEO of Jagal added. 

Actis is the largest private equity GP in Africa having committed US$4.5bn to the region over the last 15 years.

Actis has also announced plans to establish a US$250 million pan-African data centre platform. The buy and build platform according to the company will comprise of independently owned, carrier neutral, data centres across key African markets.

www.act.is

www.rack-centre.com

Netskope extends its NewEdge infrastructure in South Africa

Netskope, a player in cloud security, has announced the opening of a dedicated data centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The new point of presence (PoP) is part of the company’s ongoing strategy to ensure its real time security solutions for cloud and web are delivered universally and consistently around the globe.

Netskope’s South African PoP further extends the company’s NewEdge infrastructure. NewEdge is the global security network that enables Netskope’s security cloud to deliver real-time, cloud-native security without the traditional performance vs security trade-off. It is one of the world’s largest and fastest security networks, ensuring that security is always on, always present, and never a roadblock.

This announcement signals significant growth for the company in the region. Netskope’s revenues in South Africa have doubled year-on-year, and the organisation is continuing to demonstrate commitment to the region through dedicated hiring of industry experts and partnership programmes. Today’s news follows the appointment of Tinus Janse van Rensburg as Regional Sales Manager, who joins Netskope from Cisco where he managed the organisation’s African cybersecurity business.

Andre Stewart, Vice President for EMEA and LATAM for Netskope commented, “With ever increasing data moving to the cloud, security needs to follow that trend. Netskope is committed to best of breed granular, contextual Cloud Security, and the only way to ensure low latency – below 45m/s – worldwide, is to own your infrastructure. NewEdge is about giving the end user the best security without compromise. Our Jo’burg POP means that our South African customers can take advantage of all our security portfolio and benefit from the best end user experience possible.

Netskope has long term plans for the region which is why we are happy to invest in the best infrastructure but also the best people. I am delighted to have Tinus join our team and the plan is to hire great talent to best serve our customers in the region.”

Grant Reynolds, Regional Sales Manager for Africa continued, “This is great news for our customers and partners in Africa, who are already benefiting from our Next Generation Secure Web Gateway which decodes the latest cloud services and web traffic to deliver comprehensive visibility, prevent advanced threats, protect data, and simplify security operations. We are ready for fast growth both in the region and worldwide. This is an exciting time both for Netskope and for the broader security industry.”

Netskope’s Security Platform uniquely ensures that customers have all of their data and policy enforcement occur in Netskope owned / leased high end, highly secure, data centres. The Netskope Security Cloud always maintains SOC-3 Type II, SOC-2 Type II, and SSAE-16 Type II certifications and is the longest-standing security cloud to do so in the market.

www.netskope.com

[South Africa] Teraco to invest $71 million in expansion of its data center campus to respond to growing cloud uptake

In its largest infrastructure build project to date, Africa’s neutral data center provider has announced that it will be expanding the Teraco Isando Campus (JB1).

 Increased demand for additional data centre capacity is being driven by cloud uptake and enterprise organisations wanting to access the Teraco platform.

The expansion will occur in two phases. Phase 1, currently underway, will grow the facility by 2 000 cabinets bringing the total JB1 Campus capacity to 5 700.

Total usable floor space will increase by 4 000 square meters, expanding to a total of 12 000 square meters across the data centre campus. The anticipated ready for service date is in Q3 2019.

A total of 60MW of power will be reticulated to the site addressing requirements for further expansion after Phase 1 has been completed. The total power available to the Isando Campus will now reach 80MW.

Jan Hnizdo, Chief Financial Officer, Teraco says that he sees continued demand for Teraco’s services given the unique business model and secular growth trends as the African continent continues to digitally transform. The Teraco Campus expansion follows on from the recently launched Riverfields hyper-scale data centre facility in Bredell.

Hnizdo says that funding for the build is via a combination of internally generated funds and enlarging existing debt facilities from R1.2bn to R1.8bn. “Our debt funding partners, Absa, continue to be highly supportive of our business model and are key partners in Teraco’s growth strategy”.

Teraco’s offering to clients of resilient data centre facilities allows for a choice of over 300 telco’s providing connectivity to Africa and the lowest latency interconnection points to cloud and content.

Hnizdo says that with the recent announcements of direct interconnection availability to the major cloud onramps such as Amazon Web Services Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, Teraco has seen a growing uptake driven by the enterprise market.

“The Teraco platform allows enterprises to have direct private connections to all the leading cloud providers in the most latency efficient and resilient manner possible. Enterprises can deploy their public, private and hybrid cloud strategies from the Teraco platform which allows for complete freedom of choice from a cloud provider perspective, as well as significantly reducing the time and cost for enterprises to access these cloud platforms”.

Over the past decade, Teraco has focused on growing its ecosystems of telco, content, financial services, enterprise and service providers. Its offering is underpinned by providing clients with direct access to Africa’s largest Internet exchange, NAPAfrica, which includes all the benefits of interconnection via the Teraco platform.

Hnizdo says that Teraco is committed to growing its capacity footprint across its core hubs, thereby ensuring that clients have certainty and the flexibility of expansion to take part in the digital transformation that is happening across sub-Saharan Africa:

“Teraco continues to invest significantly into the region’s ICT infrastructure and has built what is now Africa’s largest data centre. We take pride in our vendor-neutral offering, with open access to interconnection and world class resilient data centre infrastructure for all our clients”.

www.teraco.co.za

[South Africa] Microsoft opens first data centres in Africa with general availability of Microsoft Azure

Microsoft has today announced the opening of its first datacentres in Africa, with the general availability of Azure from the new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. This makes Microsoft the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacentres on the continent, which will help companies securely and reliably move their businesses to the cloud while meeting compliance needs.

“Microsoft Azure is now available from our new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will create greater economic opportunity for organisations in Africa, accelerate new global investment, and improve access to cloud and internet services,” said Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Azure Networking, Microsoft.

Ibrahim Youssry, general manager, North, West, East, Central Africa, Levant & Pakistan, Microsoft said, “Today is a milestone moment in bringing the global cloud closer to home for African citizens and businesses. Enterprises across Africa can now take full advantage of the many benefits of Microsoft Azure, using cloud services to maintain security and meet compliance standards.”

According to the Cloud Africa 2018, the use of cloud among medium to large organizations in Africa has more than doubled between 2013 and 2018. Due to the benefits of cloud in offering efficiency and scalability, more than 90 percent of surveyed companies in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria have plans to increase their spending on cloud computing in the next year.

However, a secure offering remains important in maintaining this momentum, with many African CEOs being concerned about cyber threats.

“Microsoft has deep expertise in protecting data and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements, including offering the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry,” adds Khalidi. “We look forward to supporting more African enterprises in their cloud journeys and offering a trusted path to digital transformation.”

 With a network of over 10,000 local partners – and a nearly 30-year history of operating on the continent – the new datacentres form part of Microsoft’s ongoing investment to enable digital transformation across Africa.

 In 2013, Microsoft launched its continent-wide 4Afrika Initiative where it has been working with governments, partners, start-ups and youth to develop more affordable access to the internet, 21st century skills, and locally relevant technology. Most recently, this included a partnership with FirstBank Nigeria to expand cloud services and digital educational platforms to SME customers.

In Kenya, Microsoft is expanding FarmBeats, an end-to-end approach to help farmers benefit from technology. FarmBeats strives to enable data-driven farming, bringing together traditional knowledge, intuition and data to help increase farm productivity and yields.

On the skills development front, Microsoft has established a network of more than 800 Microsoft Imagine Academies across Africa, offering students of various age groups direct training in the technology field. In partnership with the African Development Bank, Microsoft is also rolling out `Coding for Employment` to create more than 25 million jobs and reach 50 million youth and women across Africa.

“We’re working with partners to accelerate cloud readiness and adoption in Africa, ensuring enterprises can deliver services to market faster, businesses can make more data-driven decisions, and governments can better connect with citizens,” adds Youssry. “As we connect more businesses to Azure, we’re seeing heightened innovation in the cloud and start-ups expanding their services to new markets. The combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will now connect businesses with even more opportunity and customers across the globe.”

Azure is the first of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services to be delivered from the new datacentres in South Africa. Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity solution, is anticipated to be available by the third quarter of calendar year 2019, while Dynamics 365, the next generation of intelligent business applications, is anticipated in the fourth quarter.

www.microsoft.com