Drive along the R24 freeway from Johannesburg to OR Tambo International, and just past the Barbara Road offramp, on the right-hand side, the sky is filled with cranes. The massive construction site below them is soon to be the home of Africa’s biggest data centre.
Construction of the second phase of Teraco’s massive data centre, which will fill more than 9 000sq m — making it by far the biggest such facility on the continent — is on track, with the first phase set to become available to clients in December.
And the scale of the new facility, which will more than double the size Teraco’s existing, 4 000sq m data centre, must be seen to be fully appreciated.
Once live, it will dwarf South Africa’s second largest data centre in Centurion, which is owned and operated by Standard Bank, by 3 000sq m.
It will draw a massive 16MVA of power (from 6MVA now) and will have two immense tanks storing 130 000l of diesel on-site, capable of keeping the facility running for at least 48 hours once it’s been fully kitted out (and indefinitely with an external supply of diesel).
Despite the poor state of the South African economy, the expanded site, which is arguably already the most connected building in Africa (100 carriers and other service providers link into it), needs to come online soon to cater for expanding demand for space from telecommunications operators, Internet service providers, streaming content companies and other firms.
Already, the existing Johannesburg site is more than 90% utilised.
Remarkably, despite adding 5 000sq m of new capacity, Teraco is already considering further expansion in a few years. It now wants to build a new data centre facility in Gauteng, most likely somewhere in the corridor between Johannesburg and Centurion.
CEO Lex van Wyk tells TechCentral it will need this additional space within the next three or four years as demand surges for data centre capacity.
The primary factor in choosing the next site will be the availability of power. Existing fibre infrastructure is a secondary consideration.
Teraco also operates data centres in Cape Town and Durban, where it has 1 500sq m and 1 000sq m of capacity respectively. – © 2016 NewsCentral Media