Africa’s largest datacenter is currently being constructed at Teraco Data Environment’s Johannesburg site in South Africa. The 27,500m2 project is an extension of an existing colocation facility established seven years ago.

With a build time of 18 months, Teraco’s new building should become operational towards the end of 2016 and will boast a dynamic free cooling system. 

The size-limiting factor for the facility was the power restriction dictated by the local council in Isando, just 19km (12 miles) from Johannesburg. An increase of 10MVA has allowed expansion to 18,500m2 of utility space and 9,000 m2 of white space.

Gys Geyser, Teraco
Gys Geyser, Teraco – Teraco

More power

“We now have a total of 16MVA of power, which will ensure that we can adequately power the datacenter, as well as ensure that it is properly cooled and maintained,” said Gys Geyser, head of operations at Teraco.

The site is located next to Oliver Tambo Airport and shares the same resilient grid. To guarantee uptime, Teraco has been granted permission to store 210,000 liters of diesel onsite in accordance with an Environmental Impact Assessment. Geyser said this will enable the datacenter to run for a minimum of 40 hours at maximum load if the power grid suffers an outage.

Additional support services have been added to ensure independence in the event that local services should fail, including a water supply system. Geyser said that he was aiming for a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating and that the new cooling system should ensure this .

Teraco building sitenear Johannesburg
Teraco building sitenear Johannesburg – Teraco

“In this expansion of our footprint, we are achieving what few companies could; building the largest datacenter in Africa in accordance with modern international standards,” he said.

One of Teraco’s largest customers is the Johannesburg Stock Exchange which is already connected to the center by a high bandwidth, high speed broadband link provided by Dark Fibre Africa.