In a build comprising 17,500sqm, Teraco, Africa’s vendor neutral data centre – Teraco, is adding to its existing co-location facility to create Africa’s largest data centre in Johannesburg, reports CIO East Africa.

Gys Geyser, Head of Operations – Teraco, says the build is not just an extension of services and white space, but a milestone for Teraco and the African data centre industry: “In this expansion of our footprint, we are achieving what few companies have; building the largest data centre in Africa in accordance with modern international standards.”

Geyser says that the build brings the total size of the Isando facility to 9,000sqm of white space and 18,500sqm of utility space. He says that the volume of data centre space is directly related to the power feed negotiated with the local council: “We now have a total of 16MVA of power, which will ensure that we can adequately power the all the data centres, as well as ensure that they are properly cooled and maintained.”

Initially launched seven years ago, Teraco has quickly established itself as the leader in terms of data centre operations in Africa. “We have seen an increase in demand based on the number of local and international cloud, content and network providers coming into Africa, as well as from existing clients. Teraco has also seen growth in the ICT sector, particularly from within the managed service provider segment.”

With an estimated 18-month build time, Geyser says Teraco’s new site should be operational towards the end of 2016. He says that there are some unique elements included in this build such as the approach to cooling.

“Teraco has implemented a Dynamic Free Cooling system. We have taken what has worked in our previous deployments and applied the latest technology and best practices. Additional support services have been added, such as a water supply system to ensure that our environment can operate independently from council for a period of time, guaranteeing uptime and availability. Aiming for a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating, the new cooling systems will definitely assist Teraco to achieve greater efficiencies,” says Geyser.

This development reflects the ongoing push to develop IT capacity on the continent, which has seen many countries vying to become the premier IT hub in Africa. Kenya and South Africa are arguably at the front of this race, with the former’s “Silicon Savannah” in Nairobi home to the likes of Google, Intel, Nokia, Microsoft and IBM (its new tower block, the IBM Innovation Centre, is the company’s first research lab in Africa), while the construction of a new technocity is planned in Konza, 60km away from the capital. The World Bank and AfDB projected that the African ICT market would potentially be worth more than USD 150bn by the current year, 2016, and thus we would expect to see countries and corporates vying to position themselves to take advantage of this growing opportunity.