Teraco developing Africa’s biggest data centre


Teraco, which is regarded as Sub-Saharan Africa’s top “vendor neutral” data centre operator,  is investing more money to develop Africa’s biggest data centre  at its Isando headquarters in Johannesburg. By Gugu Lourie

The data centre market, which is one of the fastest-growing industries, is buoyed by increased internet usage and proliferation of smart devices in Africa as well as the rise in data centre outsourcing.

The industry in SA is also growing rapidly – a development that has benefitted Teraco, which was founded
in 2008.

As part of its growth strategy, Teraco announced on Monday that it has started adding a 17,500sqm extension to its existing colocation facility at Isando.

Asked how much it will cost the company to build the new data centre, Jan Hnizdo, Teraco’s chief financial officer, told TechFinncials.co.za last year that the price tag of the new build will be at about R500 million. The first phase will cost about R250 million.

He added at the time that the company has raised R400 million from Barclays Africa to fund the infrastructure build and R100 million will come from Teraco’s internal resources.

Jan Hnizdo, chief financial officer, Teraco
Jan Hnizdo, chief financial officer, Teraco

South Africa’s independent co-location data centre operator said that 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,” says Gys Geyser, Head of Operations at Teraco.

He added that the build brings the total size of the Isando facility to 9000sqm of white space and 18,500sqm of utility space.

The volume of data centre space is directly related to the power feed negotiated with the local council, Geyser explains.

“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.”

Teraco builds and operates colocation data centre facilities that enable clients to deploy telecommunications equipment and other key IT infrastructure in a scalable way. The colocation data centre houses equipment, data storage space and bandwidth that are available for rental to its customers.

It further provides clients with a secure environment where they are able to easily connect to submarine cable systems, local terrestrial networks, most major African IP backbones and key content aggregation hubs.

With an estimated 18-month build time, Geyser says Teraco’s new site should be operational towards the end of 2016.

“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.

Last year, Teraco also invested about R50 million to extend the size of its data centre facility in Cape Town to more than 1 600m2 up from 1 000m2, bringing its investment in Cape Town to R100 million in total.

Teraco also runs NAPAfrica, the largest internet exchange point (IXP) in Africa, providing colocation clients with
access to more than 50 African countries.



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