Thought Leadership and Insight from Bert Vanneste

Bert Vanneste

For this edition of the Datacloud Africa Leadership Summit Interview Series, we spoke to

Bert Vanneste, Sales & Business Development TELCO CLOUD Datacenter Facilities, Automation

Abstract:

Demand for datacenter capacity in Africa is growing fast due to booming broadband usage. Over the last 20 years there have been considerable advances and clear indications of a growing level of technological sophistication across Africa. 

The industry faces quite some challenges in their development such as the availability of connectivity or reliable power infrastructure. Not to forget the lack of skilled people for datacenter construction.

Prefabricated Datacenter Modules reply to many of the needs of the African continent.

Automation’s SAFE (Secure, Autonomous, Flexible and Efficient) Prefabricated Datacenters offer a fast, flexible and efficient solution to achieve the highest quality standards for a datacenter or telecom center.


Companies constructing datacenters with a modular approach have the advantage to ‘Pay as you grow’. The most extreme conditions have no impact on the reliable, weathertight Prefabricated Datacenter solution that is deployed in as little as 1 day on-site.

 

1. What are the main drivers for growth in the Datacenter Industry in Africa?

  • Demand for datacenter capacity in Africa is growing fast due to booming broadband usage. The current digitalization by e.g. e-commerce, cloud expansion, mobile data and increased international and domestic bandwidth are collectively driving growth of datacenters across Africa.
  • Historically the average level of ICT development across Africa was half that of the global average. Over the last 20 years though there have been considerable advances and clear indications of a growing level of technological sophistication across Africa.  Mobile technology played a key part in this innovation and other aspects of Africa’s technological development are now catching up.

2. What are the biggest challenges in the development of the industry in Africa?

  • Available Connectivity and a reliable Power Infrastructure are critical parameters to allow technological development for ICT companies.
  • A lack of skilled and certified builders and engineers create a potential roadblock to datacenter construction for some areas of Africa.
  • There is an urgent need for professional datacenters that can house mission critical ICT infrastructure comprising secured server rooms, adequate climate control, redundant power suppliers and fire suppression capability.
  • Africa lives under environmental and weather extremes delivering significant challenges to even the highest specified facilities.
  • Even datacenters with good levels of physical security are not always sufficient to protect high-value IT or facilities equipment. Corruption and sabotage can be a threat as well.

3. What current trends and solutions can support African Datacenter development?

Prefabricated Datacenter Modules reply to many of the needs of the African continent.

Automation’s SAFE (Secure, Autonomous, Flexible and Efficient) Prefabricated Datacenters offer a fast, flexible and efficient solution to achieve the highest quality standards for a datacenter or telecom center. They keep ICT free from hazards and fully supporting the high-performance requirements of your ICT to run your business.



SAFE
was developed with over 20 years of experience in designing containerized shelters which evolved into the SAFE concept, aligned with today’s ICT equipment requirements.

SAFE is a carefully chosen acronym reflecting the design philosophy and stands for Secure, Autonomous, Flexible and Efficient.

Secure

  • Physical security, with 4mm steel wall fully welded and additional layers of protective material and resistance class 4 and higher entrance doors.
  • Reliability in term of operations and longevity. Still today there are 20-year-old SAFE units in the field which are ticking away!
  • Financial security: delivery at a fixed cost is part of the engineering and design concept.
  • Secure investment in the short and longer term with the option to even move the SAFE in case of relocation.

Autonomous

  • The SAFE’s are designed for autonomous operation. By combining all necessary techniques into a single frame the unit can be fully standalone and installed within a few hours.
  • This adds additional discipline in designing the solutions in the most optimal way.

Flexible

  • SAFE’s are engineered with flexibility in mind:
  • Financial flexibility, in phased deployments spreading CAPEX and OPEX in line with business growth
  • Automation’s customized design approach offers customers additional flexibility
  • There is flexibility in deploying or relocating the SAFE prefabricated datacenters.

Efficient in terms of

  • Financial investment, in practice there is at least 30% lower capex versus brick and mortar or on-site construction and assembly
  • Technical design adapted to the needs of the customer’s needs
  • Energy consumption and optimization.

What’s in it for Africa:

    • Companies constructing datacenters with a modular approach have the advantage to ‘Pay as you grow’. Solutions can be tailormade to budget and market needs. Herewith the pressure to keep costs down as well as building resilient sites able to cope with environment and grid instability are fully met.
    • The built-in capability for autonomous functioning of an All-in-One SAFE with UPS & Genset is a critical element of the Automation-solution replying the need of reliable Power Infrastructure.
    • The most extreme conditions have no impact on the reliable, weathertight Prefabricated Datacenter solution; thermally insulated, SAFE is not only robust but also guaranteed air-, dust- and watertight.

      The use of efficient cooling options for the SAFE’s allow to cope with specific local atmospheric conditions on top of a perfect sheltering from dust, sand, humidity and other threats.
    • With factory build lead-time of 12 weeks, this All-in-One solution provides best in class technology and offers performance configurations optimized for power and density allowing the customer to adapt the capacity of his physical infrastructure quickly. Automation is experienced in helping companies putting fiber network infrastructure in place at record speed and at proven quality levels, providing Prefabricated IT Infrastructure for Telco Mobile, Transmission and Access Networks.
    • With rapid deployment in as little as 1 day on-site, this standalone Prefabricated Datacenter can be used to increase the capacity of an existing site as well. SAFE can cater for all rack and server types without ever needing any modifications to the standard execution.

The customer can quickly scale up to meet the requirements. The modular nature of prefabricated facilities allows capex to be more accurately managed during the initial build phase and to be tightly kept in line with the growth of the business over time. Future expansion can be undertaken exactly when the business needs greater capacity and without interrupting on-going datacenter operations.

 

Automation will be at Datacloud Africa Leadership Summit 2018 in Marrakech on 28 September. Meet them there