Ayanda Mdluli

WIRELESS operator Vodacom opened a R600 million data centre in Gauteng last week to help expand capacity.

According to officials at Vodacom Business, the investment came as a result of increased demand for hosted services around South Africa.

Vodacom Business is the enterprise arm of the Vodacom Group. It provides communication solutions for the public sector, as well as large, medium and small enterprises.

The new centre, opened on Friday, is Vodacom’s eighth. It is a 3000m2 facility in Midrand.

The new facility was known as Data Park, said Ermano Quatero, the managing executive of Vodacom Business South Africa.

It “adds a significant amount of additional hosting capacity and will help Vodacom Business deliver on its new cloud strategy as South African businesses increasingly look to move from traditional on-site hosting to a shared data centre environment enabled by cloud or hosted services”.

The combination of lower cost bandwidth, mobile devices, storage and computing power “is driving a rapid uptake of cloud services”.

Data Park would be an extension of the company’s existing facilities, Quatero said, and would provide the scale needed to service customers for the entire range of cloud services.

“These services include Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, and Platform as a Service,” he said.

“As Vodacom’s overall customer base in South Africa passes the 32.5 million mark and with data traffic having increased by 70 percent on the previous year, the company is investing heavily in infrastructure. This year alone, the group is investing R9 billion in its network in South Africa in order to continue to meet the demand for high-speed access and data services.”

Moving its data centre to the cloud could also reduce a company’s carbon footprint – particularly when the cloud service provider had strong green credentials.

“While there is no formal ‘green’ benchmark rating in place for data centres, Vodacom follows the guidelines set out by the Green Building Council of South Africa,” Quatero said.

“The company’s latest data centre incorporates a series of green innovations designed to reduce electricity consumption and maximise the use of recycled materials, with the overall aim of minimising the site’s impact on the environment,” he explained.

There was a need to address the upsurge in demand for cloud-based services, and Vodacom Business was “bringing to market a new portfolio of cloud services and has restructured its cloud team in order to deliver a full suite of consulting and professional services”, Quatero added.

“The new solutions within the portfolio will include disaster recovery as a service, SAP Hana enterprise resources, and security as a service.”