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The rise of SA’s micro datacentre industry

By , Secure Power Channel Manager, Southern Africa Region, Schneider Electric.
20 Nov 2023
Rohan de Beer, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric.
Rohan de Beer, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric.

Micro datacentres today play an all-important role in supporting edge computing infrastructure, bringing computing closer to the source of data whilst reducing latency, and improving performance.

It is a role that is set to evolve and grow, with the micro datacentre marketplace poised to reach $10.25 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 13.8%, according to a recent report published by Insight Partners.

Available in form factors such as rack-based systems, modular units, and row datacentres, micro datacentres offer flexibility, scalability, predictability, and ease-of-deployment, making it suitable for various applications and end users.

“In South Africa, a significant number of organisations now require edge-type data centres, ranging from small 6u enclosure to larger modular design,” says Rohan de Beer, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric.

“These micro datacentres typically house most IT equipment from compute, data storage solutions, and networking infrastructure. The design is then completed with our our critical power solution, cooling systems and containment solutions,” he explains.

Scaling to meet industry requirements

Micro datacentres are not only versatile but also adaptive to various industries. In South Africa, key sectors are driving this adoption: mining, finance, health and automotive and other. These sectors have embraced the concept of bringing data management solutions closer to the source.

However, it should be noted that when building and deploying micro datacentres across sectors, the structures must adhere to various compliance requirements. “Compliance is a universal concern; customer still apply the same standards as with traditional brick-and-mortar datacentres.”

“These requirements also include industry standards for water resistance and structural designs, as well as local legislation concerning electrical components and health and safety,” explains de Beer.

Some segments also have specific requirements: “The automotive industry features stringent standards governing the materials used inside these data centre enclosures. Vendors must ensure that some of the sealant product used inside these modular units don’t cause cross contamination with the vehicle manufacturing factory when datacentre support staff moving between centres,” de Beer concludes.

Schneider Electric’s micro datacentre offerings include the following benefits:

  • Standardisation: By using pre-integrated standard designs, these micro datacentres are easy to replicate even across highly distributed areas.
  • Security: To prevent malfunctions or potential security breaches, micro datacentres can include Netbotz cameras, environmental sensors, and access control.
  • Management: EcoStruxure management software can be included to allow organisations to manage sites remotely.
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