Bridging the colocation connectivity gap in Africa – IT News Africa

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Data center colocation is on the rise worldwide, according to Bloombergwith market demand expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.7% between 2023 and 2030 to reach nearly $90 billion, according to the global media and financial data and analytics firm .

This upsurge can be attributed to several factors, including the growing demand for over-the-top (OTT) video streaming and media services and the need to reduce ICT infrastructure costs, as well as the emergence of technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT). ), autonomous vehicles, cloud computing and robotics.

The ability to maintain control over infrastructure choices – without the burden of staffing, costs, building management, electricity and air conditioning, and other environmental responsibilities – is seen as another key advantage for many businesses.

The African data center colocation market is also poised for significant growth, with an expected CAGR of 10.64% between 2022 and 2028, according to Global Information Inc.

South Africa is at the forefront of this transformation, currently providing over 60% of the region’s IT capacity, attracting substantial investment in data center facilities. However, Nigeria, Kenya and other African countries are quickly following suit.

Local factors in the African context include smart city initiatives, proliferation of 5G networks and expansion of fiber optic connectivity as critical factors.

Smart cities and connectivity

The emergence of smart cities and special economic zones, coupled with government incentives, has created fertile ground for the data center industry. Notable African projects include South Africa’s African Coastal Smart City and the planned Lanseria Smart City initiative, as well as Nigeria’s Eko Atlantic City, Rwanda’s Vision City, Kenya’s Konza Techno City, and Egypt’s New Administrative Capital , to only cite a few.

AI-powered investing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an influential force behind regional data center investments. As AI adoption continues to grow, data centers will play an increasingly crucial role in supporting the computing requirements of AI applications.

Improved connectivity with submarine cables

An important aspect of the growth of the African data center colocation market is the continued expansion of connectivity. New submarine cables, such as Africa-1, 2Africa, India Europe Xpress (IEX), Equiano, Medusa Submarine Cable System and SeaMeWe-6, are expected to improve data transmission capabilities in the region, promoting the role continent in the global data market. connectivity landscape.

5G network deployment

The deployment of 5G networks across Africa is another crucial trend shaping the local data center landscape. 5G technology promises high internet connectivity, increased bandwidth and reduced processing time; factors that attract investments in data centers.

While South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya were early adopters of 5G services, other countries – such as Uganda, Zambia and The Gambia – also saw notable 5G launches in 2023. Major telecom operators are actively involved in the deployment of 5G services, providing a strong foundation for data center growth.

Adoption of renewable energy

Faced with limited electricity infrastructure in some African regions, data centers are increasingly turning to renewable energy sources. This commitment to sustainable energy sources reflects the industry’s awareness of environmental concerns and the desire to reduce its carbon footprint.

Closing visibility gaps in colocation sites

Although colocation has many obvious benefits, such as scalability, better infrastructure control, cost-effectiveness, and multiple data center locations, there are still some challenges to overcome. These include troubleshooting issues within the complex and distributed infrastructure environment, as well as insufficient visibility within colocation sites, which can pose a significant risk to user experience and application performance.

To overcome these challenges, organizations need comprehensive monitoring of network and application performance across the entire ecosystem. Solutions like NETSCOUT’s nGenius Enterprise Performance Management can help close visibility gaps in colocation data centers, ensuring improved performance and availability.

These include:

  • At the network edge: Where traffic passes between colocation providers and WAN providers, requiring provider-independent packet monitoring to effectively identify and resolve issues.
  • In high-traffic areas: such as firewalls, VPN concentrators, and load balancers, where configuration errors or interoperability issues can impact colocation data centers.
  • For virtualized environments: especially in application server farms, which can disrupt services if performance issues occur.
  • Peering connections with public cloud providers: Where disruptions can occur between provider solutions, making visibility essential to identify the source of the disruptions.

If we view Africa as the “next frontier of the global data center industry”, then, as with all new attempts at expansion, the short to medium term future is likely to unfold in sometimes volatile ways. . For example, the August ruptures of submarine fiber optic cables off the west coast of Africa, which connect the continent’s telecommunications communities to the rest of the world, bear witness to this.

Nevertheless, we are seeing an encouraging expansion and growth in data center infrastructure, in general, across the continent. NETSCOUT looks forward to continuing to play an important role in supporting this growth and thus continuing to support countries, communities and the continent in general.

By Bryan Hamman, Regional Director: Africa, NETSCOUT

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