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US firm Vantage dwarfs Teraco in Africa’s biggest data centre race

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Vantage's carrier‐neutral Johannesburg campus will consist of three facilities across 12 hectares, with 60 000 square metres of data centre space once fully developed.
Vantage's carrier‐neutral Johannesburg campus will consist of three facilities across 12 hectares, with 60 000 square metres of data centre space once fully developed.

US-based provider of hyperscale data centres, Vantage Data Centres, today announced the beginning of construction on its new R15 billion state‐of‐the‐art data centre campus in SA.

In a statement, the company says the first phase of the 80MW campus is scheduled to come online in the third quarter of 2022 and will be based in Waterfall, Gauteng.

The announcement comes after another US-based multinational Oracle this week also revealed it is set to build a data centre facility in Johannesburg – its first on the African continent.

In a statement, Vantage says hyperscale data centres are large facilities that allow large tech companies, cloud providers and enterprises to rapidly increase their computing capability.

This will be the company’s first data centre in SA and on the African continent.

According to the firm, the sprawling carrier‐neutral Johannesburg campus will consist of three facilities across 12 hectares, with 60 000 square metres of data centre space once fully developed, making it the largest on the continent.

The data centre will dwarf Teraco Data Environment’s planned JB4 data centre, which was earmarked to be the continent’s biggest data centre, with 38MW of critical load.

After breaking ground in November last year, phase one of Teraco’s R4 billion JB4 data centre is set to be completed in Q1 2022.

The JB4 data centre will comprise 50 000 square metres of building structure serviced by 80MW of utility power supply, and will have 16 000 square metres of hall space, with 38MW of critical power load when completed.

“Johannesburg is the data centre hub for Sub‐Saharan Africa due to its strategic location, IT ecosystem, fibre connectivity to the rest of Africa and the availability of renewable energy. We look forward to not only opening the doors of our first African facility to our customers but also to becoming part of the local community,” says Antoine Boniface, president of Vantage EMEA.

Attacq, JSE-listed real estate firm and developer of Waterfall City and Waterfall Logistics Hub, is partnering with Vantage to develop a campus that is tailored to meet the requirements of Vantage’s global campus blueprint.

Attacq CEO Jackie van Niekerk says: “With a scalable, fit‐for‐future logistics hub and a world‐class corporate campus, Waterfall City has an established track record of attracting leading international businesses such as BMW, PwC, Massbuild, Cotton On and Cummins to the precinct.

“As the developer of Waterfall City, Attacq is working with Vantage to build a campus that is tailored to meet the organisation’s global requirements, while still leveraging Waterfall City’s unique capacity to scale its tenant footprints according to evolving company and market demand. We are thrilled to have Vantage Data Centres join our precinct, and we look forward to welcoming them as a member of our community.”

Modelled on Vantage’s standardised campus blueprint, the campus will emphasise sustainable construction practices, such as offering renewable energy options, limiting carbon footprints, and maintaining energy‐efficient operations with power usage effectiveness.

Sureel Choksi, president and CEO of Vantage Data Centres, says: “Vantage has seen strong demand from our customers for high-quality, hyperscale data centre facilities across the globe, and we are excited to meet this demand by expanding to Africa’s largest market.”

According to the US-based firm, the campus will include permeable landscaping and natural on‐site drainage to protect precious resources.

Vantage says it will invest in recycling, motion‐sensor LED lighting and other elements for incremental energy and water savings throughout the campus, in addition to electric vehicle charging stations.

To help meet its energy needs, the campus will feature a dedicated on‐site, high‐voltage substation, says the firm.

It adds the campus will be cooled using a highly-efficient, closed‐loop chilled water system. An integrated economiser capability will allow reduced compressor energy based on the outside ambient temperature so that when the weather is favourable, cooling becomes more sustainable and less resource-intensive.

This project will increase Vantage’s global footprint to five continents. From its initial US roots, Vantage notes it first moved into two Canadian markets in early 2019, before expanding to six European markets in 2020 and five in Asia-Pacific in 2021.

Vantage comes to SA as the country becomes a data centre hub, with multinationals eyeing the landing of various subsea cables in Africa, which will give rise to data traffic on the African continent.

Google’s Equiano cable and Facebook’s 2Africa cable are some of the submarine cables expected to boost connectivity in Africa.

Besides Oracle, other US-based tech giants like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft have already established data centre regions in SA.

Locally, systems integrator Dimension Data is building its own data centre, while Teraco last week announced the completion of the first phase of the Cape Town two data centre on top of its portfolio of data centre facilities in SA.

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