By Matthew Ashe, Executive Head: Data Centres at Internet Solutions
Africa is an exciting market for IT services right now. Thanks to the massive increase in rich-media content consumed by Africans and the global population, compounded by corporates continuing to migrate to the cloud, the continent is ripe with opportunity to establish new revenue streams through smart data offerings, with IT leaders drawing attention to their data centre system spending.
Globally competitive, and locally relevant
The data centre market in South Africa and Africa shouldn’t be considered continentally competitive, but a strong global competitor. Thanks to our world-class offering we’ve established ourselves as a hotspot for international companies looking for new territories to base their data centre infrastructure. South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius and Nigeria are rapidly emerging as epicentres for public and private cloud hosting, attracting both multinationals and the largest African enterprises.
Speaking at the 2018 MyBroadband Cloud Conference, Michael Needham, Senior Manager for Solutions Architecture in Sub-Saharan Africa at Amazon Web Services, said: “Amazon continuously evaluates markets around the world. South Africa is certainly on our radar.” Meanwhile Microsoft is preparing to launch two Azure data centres in South Africa, which are expected to go live later this year. When big players like these enter the country, we can expect to see an increase in cloud adoption rates across Africa, which would benefit intra-Africa corporates like the big banks and other financial service suppliers.
Copy paste doesn’t work here
Because infrastructure and power in Southern Africa is seen as relatively more stable than other parts of the continent, the opportunity exists to establish ourselves as an African hub to support rapidly growing global connectivity needs, through colocation data centres. In-country data centres will dramatically improve latency issues for Africans, while these premises can be managed within the country’s local laws. But telcos can’t rush in without a plan of action. Africa is an increasingly competitive space loaded with cultural and governmental nuances, so Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should carefully consider their every move when expanding here. Challenges can vary – navigating the regulatory environment, compliance with labour laws and agreeing to basic timelines can be fraught with difficulty for foreign operations. Thanks in part to the various BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) agreements in place, Africa continues to be a big investment market for Chinese cloud providers and could see great potential for the ISP sector.
Building sustainably for a green data future
IS intends to continue growing its share of the South African colocation market as demand increases among government agencies and content service providers. A new addition to the Parklands centre in Johannesburg will soon double its current capacity, bringing it to a total of 572 racks and 2.2 megawatts of IT power. The Parklands centre is near Africa’s premier business districts, which ensures minimal latency. It is also an African benchmark in terms of global best practice in data centre design, built with energy efficiency in mind. This reflects on the future-focused thinking at IS, speaking to our clients as they seek future-proof solutions and services to carry them, and Africa, forward.