T he African data centre market consists primarily of in-house data centres built by banks, Telco’s and Governments for their own use. This has been a function of the lack of availability of carrier neutral data centres.
However this is changing with the advent of companies like Teraco which are building World Class Tier 3 + data centres which use the latest technologies for managing power and cooling. The power and cooling requirements of new technology servers and high density suites is leading to many legacy data centre facilities being unable to deliver the energy efficiency benefits of a new purpose-built facilities. The operating costs of older data centres are thus becoming increasingly prohibitive with the life time cost of power exceeding the cost of building a new data centre.
Standout quote by one of the top execs at Onix to backup the above paragraph.
– Name here
The increased requirement for digital and physical security has lead corporations to seek better and ultimately cheaper solutions by going outside the corporation and into the data centre. Carrier neutral data centres can offer much better physical and digital security, than going in-house, by using the most advanced technologies. This includes physical access control incorporating biometric access down to the rack level, video surveillance and 24/7 security.
Digital security is also enhanced particularly in Cloud data centres with the use of high level encryption, deep packet inspection technologies and DDOS protection of customers data.
There is the small matter of data sovereignty which requires the hosting of data to be done in –country in particular when it comes to banks, Governments and health care providers. Regulators are increasing enforcing this requirement in light of the spate of data breaches globally which are reported on a daily basis and the manifest intrusion by global agencies like the NSA et al.
Latency is gradually becoming an increasing factor in Africa as more and more video content is consumed and more and more Africans go online. Amazon report a 1% drop in sales for every 100ms of latency. Google reports a 20% drop in traffic for each 0.5sec delay in page generation. There is thus an increasing requirement that the content be hosted locally and not in servers in Europe or the US.
The explosion of Internet users in Africa driven, inter-alia, by the rapid take-up of smart phones means that they are increasingly consuming and/or creating streaming video, social networking and Internet gaming leading to increased requirements of bandwidth and storage. Africa is leading this trend and between 2015 and 2020 showed a compound annual growth rate of over 50% in Cloud traffic. By 2018, more than 50 percent of the global consumer Internet population was using personal cloud storage.
There is a manifest shortage of IT skills in Africa. It will be a much more efficient use of these scarce skills if they can be deployed in data centres than spread out amongst various firms which don’t have critical mass.
These demands can only be met by the roll out of many more carrier neutral data centres in Africa, the total aggregate capacity of which – is less than half of that of those located within the M25 in London.