Lex van Wyk, CEO of Teraco.
Despite uncertain economic times globally, Teraco, Africa's first vendor-neutral data centre, celebrated excellent growth during 2013. CEO Lex van Wyk says Teraco is the fastest growing co-location provider on the continent, and the company's strong operational performance in 2013 has resulted in Teraco increasing its capacity requirements.
Having grown by 6 000sqm and 8mVA since 2009, when Teraco launched its first data centre in Cape Town, the company now has availability in excess of 6 500sqm of data centre space and 10mVA of power. A further 5 000sqm and 10mVA are already in the planning phase for development in the near future.
"Teraco has, through this growth, also established several ecosystems which provide clients across Africa and globally with first-world access to cloud services, content, connectivity, financial and media hubs," says Van Wyk.
As the home of NAPAfrica, an established Internet exchange point (IXP), Teraco co-locates more than 100 telecommunication companies consisting of African and global network providers, all the landed submarine cables and a growing satellite teleport hub.
"Teraco has become the African meeting place for some of the world's largest content providers and carriers, as well as the largest African point of interconnection. Teraco currently supports over 3 500 interconnects, a number that is growing by 7%-8% per month," says Van Wyk.
As a result of Teraco's focused business model, only investing in data centre infrastructure and guaranteed uptime for clients, the majority of system integrators and outsourcers in South Africa, as well as key international players, have the ideal platform from which to provide a variety of services and support to clients co-located in Teraco's environment.
Van Wyk says Teraco creates a neutral marketplace by encouraging clients to openly interconnect and onsell services within the data centre. "This is evident when looking at our Service Directory and makes Teraco not only a data centre operator, but a facility within which clients can establish and grow their own businesses."
The benefits derived from cloud services hold a significant attraction for the modern CIO and Van Wyk says Teraco has seen huge interest in co-location as an enabler for servicing southern African countries. "This is a very exciting and a fast growing vertical in our facilities. Due to Teraco's cloud-neutral position, there are now over 20 cloud providers within the data centre, the largest community in Africa," says Van Wyk. "It is great to see the adoption of these services among service providers and to be involved in the development of such a viable ecosystem."
Globally there are more than 800 cloud operators. Through its business model and approach, as well as the availability of direct access to the majority of African countries via terrestrial fibre, undersea cables and satellite services, Teraco is significantly increasing investment by cloud providers into Africa.
By introducing a long overdue open interconnect point for media and broadcasters, Van Wyk says Teraco aims to see online content become more freely available. "This, along with the benefits of peering, should bring affordability and a possible answer to getting content to long underserved communities."
As Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) becomes a reality, broadcasters and media aggregators require a neutral facility and a cost-effective distribution point to send and receive content. "Teraco is key to this strategy," says Van Wyk. "We have seen a number of large operators benefit from interconnecting at NAPAfrica, boosting their ability to widely distribute content."
Teraco is also excited to see the adoption of outsourcing in the financial and enterprise sectors. "The question of build versus outsource in the data centre arena has long been debated," Van Wyk says. "As a result of the heavy blow from a weakening exchange rate and the resulting high cost of data centre infrastructure, these organisations now directly realise benefits by outsourcing their data centre requirements. The increasing costs of employment, fuel and maintenance also place significant pressure on companies that have historically built and maintained their own data rooms.
"Teraco's outlook for 2014 is both positive and very exciting.Cape Town will see the opening of an additional 1 000sqm and 2mVA of power by June 2014, while at the same time, Johannesburg will offer a further 800sqm and 2mVA of power.
"NAPAfrica, Teraco's peering and Internet exchange point, has already exceeded 5Gbps of traffic and more than 100 members. With current trends, we should be near the 10Gbps mark by the start of 2015."