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Teraco pumps R4bn into Africa’s largest data centre project

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JB4 will be the largest single site data centre on the African continent, comprising 50 000sqm of building structure serviced by 80MW of utility power supply, says Teraco.
JB4 will be the largest single site data centre on the African continent, comprising 50 000sqm of building structure serviced by 80MW of utility power supply, says Teraco.

Carrier- and cloud-neutral colocation data centre solutions provider Teraco Data Environments today announced construction has commenced on a new hyperscale data centre, with 38-megawatts (MW) of critical power load, in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg.

In an interview with ITWeb yesterday, Jan Hnizdo, CEO of Teraco, said the company is investing $250 million (R4 billion) in the new facility,

“By the time we finish, we would have invested R4 billion over the two phases of construction,” Hnizdo said.

In a statement, the company says the facility, known as JB4, is scheduled for completion in Q1 2022 and as a standalone building, will be the largest data centre in Africa.

Teraco’s announcement comes as several local and international companies are launching data centres in SA.

Gold rush

Last month, German start-up CloudRadar launched data centre facilities in Johannesburg.

In September, Dimension Data told ITWeb of its plan to imminently launch data centres in SA. Last year saw US-based software giant Microsoft open two data centre regions in SA, becoming the first global provider to deliver cloud services from data centres on the African continent.

In April this year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the opening of the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region.

In March last year, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei started offering its cloud services in SA. The company is leasing a data centre in Johannesburg from a partner, from where it is deploying localised public cloud services based on local industry policies, customer requirements and partner conditions.

US-based enterprise software company Oracle in September last year also announced plans to launch data centres in SA this year.

However, Hnizdo, in the interview, said Teraco does not compete with the likes of AWS and Microsoft, but is complementary to their services.

“They all have cloud on-ramps in Teraco – in the case of Microsoft, they have Microsoft ExpessRoute, and AWS has Direct Connect.

“We have competitors like Vodacom, Internet Solutions (now Dimension Data) and Telkom. They provide data centre services and other services. A lot of them are carriers and outsourcers, but we provide data centre services only, so a customer that comes to Teraco has access to an open access platform. If you are deployed in Teraco, you can access whichever carrier you want because we don’t sell carrier services.

“However, if you were in, for example, a Telkom facility, you will not be able to get Vodacom’s connectivity because they will now be selling their competitor’s services. However, with Teraco, you will be able to buy whoever’s services,” he said.

Jan Hnizdo, CEO of Teraco.
Jan Hnizdo, CEO of Teraco.

Increased cloud activity

Hnizdo believes Teraco is poised for significant growth as hyperscale requirements continue to expand as a result of increased demand for cloud services in Africa.

“South Africa is strategically located at the tip of the African continent and as a result, is positioned as a technology and data centre hub for Sub-Saharan Africa. This is further underpinned by growing undersea and terrestrial fibre connectivity to the rest of Africa,” Hnizdo says.

“The continued increase of cloud adoption in Africa is also being enabled by investments in critical infrastructure, including hyperscale data centre facilities such as JB4. This will enable global cloud clients to service not only the South African market but reach the rest of the Sub-Saharan African region as well.”

Hnizdo reaffirms that Teraco is committed to growing its capacity footprint across its core hubs, thereby ensuring clients have the certainty and flexibility of expansion to take part in the digital transformation that is taking place across Sub-Saharan Africa.

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

The JB4 facility is Teraco’s seventh data centre development and is located in the heart of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis.

The company notes it is here that Teraco’s data centres already provide access to a wide choice of network service providers, peering at NAPAfrica, regional IXPs, content delivery networks and cloud provider on-ramps.

Hnizdo says this expansion is aimed at further supporting Sub-Saharan enterprises with advancing their digital transformation strategies, as well as enabling global cloud providers to expand their footprints − spurring innovation.

JB4 is the latest expansion to Teraco’s growing data centre platform and takes critical power load capacity at Teraco facilities to over 110MW, which includes the Isando Campus JB1/JB3 (39MW), Bredell JB2 (13MW), Rondebosch Cape Town CT1 (3MW), Brackenfell Cape Town CT2 (18MW) and Durban (1MW).

Teraco says organisations working to accelerate their digital transformation utilise Teraco to scale their IT infrastructure, adopt hybrid multi-cloud architectures and interconnect with strategic business partners within the Platform Teraco ecosystem of over 600 global and local clients.

Key facts

  • JB4 will be the largest single site data centre on the African continent, comprising 50 000sqm of building structure serviced by 80MW of utility power supply.
  • Strategically located in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, alongside the R21 business corridor, the facility will have multiple fibre paths to the Teraco Isando Campus connectivity hub (JB1 and JB3) located some 20km away.
  • JB4 will be built in two phases set across six hectares of land.
  • JB4 phase one includes 8x1 000sqm halls with 19MW of critical power load.
  • When completed, JB4 will include 16x 1 000sqm halls with 38MW of critical power load.
  • JB4 is a significant addition to South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa’s data centre footprint.
  • The new data centre development is being built in line with global hyperscale requirements, as well as international compliance standards, and will augment the existing portfolio of ISO9001, ISO27001, PCI-DSS and ISAE3402 certified data centre facilities.
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