Reporter AFRICAN broadband is booming; the number of connections has passed the 200 million mark and should grow by an average of nearly 20 per cent over the next five years.
Fiber connectivity prices are declining, workload migration to the cloud is accelerating, data privacy and sovereignty concerns are gaining ground, and a new breed of consumer and enterprise digital natives are putting new demands on African Internet networks.
The African Multi-Tenant Data Centre (MTDC) market has entered a new phase of growth, one that should see deeper adoption in core markets, and a broader, more distributed data centre service penetration beyond the core.
According to Wikipedia, a data centre is, ‘a facility composed of networked computers and storage that businesses or other organizations use to organize, process, store and disseminate large amounts of data’.
The 2017 African Data Center Rises - How the Race to the Cloud is Transforming African Colocation Markets report cites that these and other factors are driving the race to bring the brains of the African Internet back to the continent, in the process transforming the African data center colocation business into one of the hottest growth segments in the African ICT market.
Local data center operators are finding ways around what would in the past have been insurmountable barriers to development, including challenging physical environments and obtrusive government policy, according to BroadGroup, a global consultancy headquartered in London.
The 2016 Data Center Africa report analysed the state of the industry in 16 countries across the continent, paying particular attention to issues like unreliable power supply and legacy telecommunications infrastructure.
A total of 74 companies and 91 data centers were involved in the study. Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa were highlighted as leaders in the development of regional data centers, achieving a faster level of growth than other nations included in the study.
Some countries are now producing a power surplus that is exported for profit, while others benefit from the increasing level of investment in submarine cables that are used to import and distribute power.
Accelerators for growth that include investment in low latency satellite broadband and cable upgrades are encouraged by the authors of the report. Researchers also point out that even regions suffering from poor supply can be incubators for growth because of the need for companies to invest in backup power generation or move to a more viable third party data center operator.
Tanzania may not among the mentioned top ranking countries in the data center market but it certainly not lagging behind. Several centers have been built both public and private and one worth mentioning is the Tigo Business’s Tier III Designed Data Centre.
It is believed by many to be among the most convenient for storing data because it’s cost-effective, has high-density power and cooling coupled with state-of-the-art resilience designs and processes. But what exactly is a Tier III data centre and why does it matter so much? Data center standards exist to evaluate the quality and reliability of a data center’s server hosting ability.
Internationally there is an accepted four-tier ranking system that is a benchmark for determining the reliability of a data center. Tigo officials state that the data center is designed to enhance secure data storage not just for the mobile operator but also for other institutions seeking to protect their business critical data. The facility has the unique ability to connect offices with an ultra-modern, secure, reliable and scalable dedicated connection from Tigo Business.
According to Chief Technical and Communication Officer (CTIO) Jerome Albou, Tigo’s Tier III data center is a top-of-the-range technology one that combines operational efficiency with security, reliability and seamless connectivity.
“Tigo’s data center is the first of its kind in Tanzania. We have effectively met the criteria set out in our topology, and Tigo is the ideal partner to store enterprise data and IT infrastructure, may that be locally or internationally,” says Albou.
This achievement further underscores Tigo’s market leadership in digital lifestyle transformation, and the telecom firm’s commitment to use products and services as building blocks to provide end to end solutions to businesses.
The pre-engineered facility that was built in South Africa for the telco, to facilitate data storage and accommodate other companies including banks seeking safe and secure data, is equipped with security features that include fire-inhibiting systems and any eventualities to ensure a 24/7 operation. According to Albou, the Tier III Data Center resilience allows planned maintenance with no downtime through a fully concurrently maintainable design.
The system offers full fault support against unplanned failures. Tigo has and is making big investments in infrastructure, network expansion, network improvement and people.
Tigo has laid down a fiber optic network spanning 10,000km and 600 km of metro fibre which is securely connected to 10 data centres spread across the country, providing an added advantage for in the main business hubs.
This is as part of multiple large-scale modernization and optimization initiatives enabling the end user to enjoy a number of world-class services.
“To bring to our customers the benefits of digital lifestyles and the leading mobile broadband internet operator, we have not only invested in rolling out of fibre optics while improving resilience but we have seen to the increase of 4G LTE capabilities to 95 sites with 300 towers. We have also put in place our 3G by 535 sites, with 1,500 towers countrywide while upgrading others,” he explains.
Mr. Albou said that Tigo has invested on 4G coverage in 23 major cities while optimizing 2G and 3G capabilities in other areas, thus giving their Tigo Business customers access to Tanzania’s largest and fastest 4G network, ensuring security, reliability and seamless connectivity.
Through the Tigo Business Data Centre and Co-location Services Solution, the telecom firm is now aptly poised to enable organisations to securely store their mission critical data, giving them the peace of mind and freedom to focus on their business core - growth.