By Prince Osuagwu
Carrier-neutral data centre operator, Rack Centre, has announced a $100m expansion programme that will increase its capacity to a total net white space of 6,000 square metres and allow for 13Mw of IT power capacity in its Lagos campus.
This will be in addition to the current expansion already underway to double existing capacity to 1.5Mw and 1,200 square metres of white space in early 2021.
White space in data centres is the space allocated for IT equipment or space where IT equipment is placed. It includes servers, storage, network gear, racks, air conditioning units, power distribution systems.
The expansion will bring unprecedented carrier-neutral scale to West Africa and is in response to increasing demand for data centre space from cloud uptake, telecommunication investment and outsourcing of IT facilities by enterprises in the region.
In March, Actis, a London private equity firm, announced an investment in Rack Centre, taking a controlling stake in the business alongside Jagal.
The funding for this expansion will come from a $250m pan-African data centre platform established by Actis and Convergence Partners, a leading ICT infrastructure investor in Africa.
In addition to Rack Centre, the platform is also actively developing additional buy and build opportunities across Africa, to establish a network of carrier-neutral data centres aimed at catering to carrier, cloud and hyperscale customers.
Tim Parsonson, Co-Founder of Teraco Data Environments, the largest carrier-neutral operator in Africa, joins the Board as Chairperson.
The platform has also engaged Frank Hassett, a veteran of the global data centre industry and previous Vice President of Infrastructure at Equinix, who brings over 1300Mw of build and operate experience, to assist with hyper-scale expansion.
Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Convergence Partners, said: “Africa is at the start of a critical time in its development, as the fourth industrial revolution offers the chance to leapfrog many of Africa’s challenges and harness the immense potential of its people.
“Convergence Partners is delighted to partner with Actis in accelerating the growth of high-quality data centre infrastructure, an indispensable part of the foundation of this revolution in the region.”
With 138 million Internet subscribers, more than any country in Africa or Europe, and the largest population and GDP in Africa, Nigeria is a key entry point for global telecommunications, content and cloud players seeking access to the region.
However, a lack of cost-effective, energy-efficient IT infrastructure has been a constraint to doing business in the region.
Rack Centre brings global best practice to Nigeria, as the first carrier-neutral data centre in the region to achieve Uptime Institute Tier III Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF).
As a uniquely scale carrier-neutral player, Rack Centre allows unrestricted connectivity between customers, telecommunication carriers and internet exchange points within its data centres.
“We are proud of the quality and scale bar we have set in the region and are scaling to be the de-facto digital data hub for West Africa,” says Dr Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre.
“Mass adoption of digital working models and content distribution is driving growing investment in the region and Rack Centre offers a world class location to house these IT and telecoms facilities,” Coker added.
Supporting this ambition, engineering consultancy, Arup, have been appointed for the project.
Arup’s multidisciplinary data centre design teams are world leaders in the design and construction of data centres, having designed over 2,000MW of IT capacity for industry-leading tech giants and co-location providers across the globe.
Sustainability and energy-saving data centres are energy-intensive. With the data demands ever-increasing, the design of Rack Centre’s Phase 2 facility will target regional industry-leading Power Utilisation Efficiency (PUE) benchmarks, and will contribute towards Sustainable Development Goals, in particular affordable and clean energy, industry innovation and infrastructure and climate action.
Rack Centre is working on various green data centre initiatives to set other benchmarks in the Africa data centre landscape.