Sh1bn expansion as big data clicks


East Africa Data Centre says demand for more storage space is growing


The East Africa Data Centre has announced a Sh1bn expansion plan to meet rack space demand that has forced it to ration allocation to customers.


       The Westlands-based electron­ics data centre with operations in East and Central Africa, will now be extended to four floors, totalling 2000 square metres. According to the EADC General Manager Dan Kwach, the expansion has been necessitated by the demand for more storage space from corpo­rates.


       “We had to ration the rack space when we were selling the first floor due to huge demand, until we could get the second floor built and oper­ational and the third floor ready to go quickly. The second floor took roughly eight months, but now we have the space ready, we can move much quicker and customers can buy the amount they want,” said Mr Kwach.


          The manager said that within six months of starting, the centre had fully sold Phase 1 of its rack space – which houses the servers holding data – amounting to the entire first floor. It has now opened another 500 sq. metres floor, which is already 90 per cent occupied, and with the third floor already prepped for occupancy, EADC unveiled the plans to expand to the fourth floor to cater for demand.


          The centre houses Kenya’s Inter­net Exchange Point and has been credited by the global Internet Society as a key factor in driving down internet prices in Kenya, to among the lowest in Africa. It hosts the Points of Presence for global carriers with international coverage, including Tata, Level3, Seacom, and Liquid Telecom, as well as carriers owning fibre network infrastructure, including Safaricom, JamiiTelcom, Access Kenya, Orange Telkom Kenya Ltd, Wananchi Online, and Frontier Optical Network.


          It is further playing a key role in enabling financial and corpo­rate organisations to hold data securely; protecting them in the event of cybercrime and offering 24/7 secure housing for their data and back-ups. “The East Africa Data Centre has transformed how data traffic is handled in the region. By providing a central point for inter­connect services, it has reduced latency, improved data services, reduced costs and made it easier to transfer data across networks,” said Mr Kwach.


          “By keeping African data in Africa we continue to help reduce the costs of internet access while creating an environment that encourages innovation and entre­preneurial culture in the field of ICT and local businesses,” he added.

The accelerated expansion in EADC’s rack space has also bene­fitted the local engineering and construction services sector, with all of the contractors for the expan­sion sourced locally, according to the manager.


          This comes amid growing concern for data security. Last year, Information, Communi­cation and Technology Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiangi, raised the flag on estimates that the country would lose an estimated Sh2 billion (about US$23 million) through cybercrime, with the number of cyberattacks detected in Kenyan cyberspace more than doubling to 5.4 million attacks, compared to 2.6 million in 2012. Uganda, which last year reported a surge in economic crimes, up 14.9 per cent, singled out cybercrime, principally in mobile money and Automated Teller Machine fraud, as responsible for the loss of about USH1.5billion (Ksh51million), while Bank of Tanzania (BoT) statistics indicate TZS 1.3billion (Ksh69.5million) has been stolen across the country through cyber fraud, according to the Kenya Cyber Security Report 2014.


       Financial institutions are also introducing potentially vulner­able web and mobile applications, with a recent study that sampled 33 online banking portals finding that only two of the 33 portals sampled had adequate online security deployed on their web application. As a result, many financial institu­tions are now looking into EADC to store their data, reported the Kenya Cyber Security Report 2014.


       “Banks and financial institu­tions are the second largest type of occupant at the East Africa Data Centre, at about 30 per cent. With about 43 banks in Kenya, the demand for highly secure stable environments like ours, for use as disaster recovery, high-availability, or primary sites, has been rising,” said Mr Kwach.


          East Africa Data Centre recently signed a collaboration agreement with Teraco Data Environments in South Africa to share syner­gies between the two Data Centre Operators and improve EADC’s efficiency while maximising on available investment opportuni­ties.


          East Africa Data Centre, a carrier of neutral data centre in Nairobi, is the largest and most sophisticated in East Africa, offering secure and reliable space for dedicated host­ing, interconnect services, colloca­tion, disaster recovery, network-based services, applications and cloud services 

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