By Jonathan Duncan, VP Anglophone Africa, Secure Power Solutions at Schneider Electric
South Africa is undoubtedly seeing a proverbial boom in investment from big hyperscalers. With their aid and a larger pool of resources, South African organisations can now focus on providing local customers with a myriad of services, many being cloud based.
Datacentre capacity investment is driven by an increase in information traffic generated by smartphones, smart devices/appliances, and even smart homes. The result is a substantial requirement for storing and hosting data, which keeps on growing.
To this end, local datacentre operators that have formed partnerships with hyperscale cloud providers can now offer cloud features and the resultant services at various scale, whether it is a personal blog on a single web server or a large corporation serving billions of media clients. Datacentre service providers can scale to meet the needs of their clients, big or small.
Considering the aforementioned, South Africa and parts of the African continent, have seen the arrival of many global hyperscalers. In fact, several are already present in locally hosted environments; however, the scale of uptake and demand for their services has now driven many to either consider, or to deploy facilities directly into the region.
Global leaders such as Digital Realty (DLR) and Vantage DC, to name a few, have made massive investments into the region already and which is predicted to continue cumulatively.
This direct investment not only brings a massive financial stimulus to the region, but also drives the uptake of global standards and operational excellence. As a country and region, we are benefiting from global “lessons learnt” which means we can in some instances leapfrog technology adoption, deploying more efficient solutions.
Furthermore, these best practices, in design and operation, are hugely beneficial as energy isn’t always readily available in some areas. This rapid demand for Data processing is further exacerbated by the digitalisation of many industries, which continues at an unabated rate, as well as the continued growth of social applications.
Almost every industry is being disrupted by this rapid evolution and adoption of more digital tools and processes. From mining to secondary industries like education and hospitals, which are becoming more and more digital and driving the demand for datacentres.
It is a well-known fact that the African continent still lags behind our European, US and other mature economies. The disparity is huge, but we are slowly starting to catchup with growing demands and addressing hot topics like Data Sovereignty and latency requirements. The need for datacentres and resultant capacity will undoubtedly continue to prevail.
In turn, established hyperscalers will continue to invest in the continent to secure the most lucrative demand and will be well established by the time others enter the market. With ongoing and significant data growth predicted, we can certainly look forward to an investment-rich datacentre market.