[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