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New Vantage data centre in the works amid local growth

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 14 Dec 2022
Vantage’s JNB1 data centre campus in Midrand’s Waterfall precinct.
Vantage’s JNB1 data centre campus in Midrand’s Waterfall precinct.

US-based provider of hyperscale data centres, Vantage Data Centres, has announced the beginning of construction of its second data centre campus in SA.

The news comes in the same week that digital infrastructure company, Equinix, revealed it will invest R2.8 billion in a new data centre facility in Johannesburg. It said this investment augments its current footprint on the African continent in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.

In SA, Vantage already has a data centre campus in Midrand’s Waterfall precinct, offering 80MW of IT capacity, and more than 60 000 square metres across three data centres once fully developed.

In a statement yesterday, the company said the next phase, for a second campus (JNB2) in Johannesburg, is under way, and is expected to be operational by mid-2024.

The JNB2 Isando campus is strategically located in the City of Ekurhuleni, according to Vantage, approximately 17km from its JNB1 Midrand campus.

Additionally, it is sited near OR Tambo International Airport and less than 2km from the NAPAfrica neutral Internet eXchange, states the firm.

“South Africa continues to be a cornerstone for Vantage’s EMEA growth outside of continental Europe,” says Antoine Boniface, president, Vantage Data Centres, EMEA.

“Investing in a second campus is a testament to our commitment to the region and our customers who have business requirements to be in this high-demand market.”

Vantage’s second data centre comes as SA becomes a data centre hub, with multinational players setting down roots in the country.

US-based internet search giant Google officiallyconfirmedit will invest in the local data centre ecosystem by launching a cloud infrastructure region in the medium- to long-term.

Google’s move to open its local region follows in the footsteps of rivals Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, which led the way in establishing data centre facilities in South Africa.

Other hyperscalers − such as Africa Data Centres, Acronis, Oracle and Alibaba Cloud, among others − have also entered the local market. Alibaba Cloud recently signedan exclusive partnership deal with Telkom-owned BCX.

Furthermore, a report by DLA Piper notesthe demand for data centre access on the African continent, and specifically SA, has grown exponentially over the past few years.

It says data centre facilities are some of the largest construction projects currently, and the investment in infrastructure, technology and telecommunication that accompanies this has been significant.

According to Vantage, the first building of the JNB2 campus will consist of a 20MW, 33 000 square metre two-storey data centre. The company adds it is repurposing a portion of an existing warehouse for the initial phase, reducing the embodied carbon of the development.

“Many features of JNB2 are based on Vantage’s standardised campus blueprint, emphasising sustainable construction practices. This includes offering renewable energy options through a recent power purchase agreement with SolarAfrica, limiting carbon footprints, maintaining energy-efficient operations with industry-leading power usage effectiveness and minimising the use of water.”

The company indicates the first data centre on the JNB2 campus will be cooled using a “highly-efficient”, closed-loop chilled water system generated through air-cooled chillers.

“An integrated economiser capability will allow reduced compressor energy based on outside ambient temperature,” it points out. “This allows Vantage to take advantage of cooler seasonal temperatures to minimise resource usage. Customers will benefit from power provided by the Municipality of Ekurhuleni, combined with a dedicated on-site, high-voltage substation.”

The company’s security measures will include an on-site security operations centre with 24x7x365 patrols, perimeter security, CCTV on all access points, and multi-level authentication and access controls for employees, customers and visitors.

“This new data centre will provide dedicated offices and workspaces, break areas, conference rooms, meeting spaces and secure storage areas,” states Vantage.

Meanwhile, Vantage’s inaugural 80MW campus in Midrand, which saw its first 16MW facility opened in July, will continue to expand to meet customer demand. The next phase is under construction and is scheduled to be operational in early 2024.