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Kenya's ICT ministry calls for more datacentres as EADC is upgraded

Kenya's ICT ministry calls for more datacentres as EADC is upgraded

Kenya's Ministry of Information, Communications and Telecommunications (MICT) has urged further investment in datacentres to free up Capex and Opex for innovation.

This recommendation came as Liquid Telecom's subsidiary Africa Data Centres opened a new floor to provide 500 square metres of rack space at East Africa Data Centre (EADC) in Nairobi.

Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications said the availability of datacentres for use by public and private organisations will lead to a reduction in operational costs.

"I am a strong proponent (to) finding viable means to harness local content to a point where it can be commercialised. I support the establishment of additional datacentres in the country as this will ensure that we build and secure African content by hosting it in Africa. Indeed, datacentres will support and speed up the growth of industrialisation as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They will also enhance economic research through analytics and Big Data that influence evidence-based policy making."

Mucheru said he believes EADC positions Kenya as a regional gateway and also called for all ICT stakeholders not to shy away from investing heavily in Kenya - because of reliable infrastructural networks and incentives to support the ICT sector and growth of start-ups, particularly through the President's 'Big 4 Agenda'.

"I believe that this centre (EADC) will help in reducing the capital and operating expenditure to run and operate proprietary datacentres and similarly assist in freeing up of finances for innovations and investments to thrive. This datacentre is hosting Kenya's local Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) that enables the exchange of local traffic of all Local Internet Carries and Internet Service providers. It is noteworthy that it has given a platform to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 connectivity partners to establish their presence locally. This development has impacted positively on the sector because there is a drop in bandwidth costs and the local ISPs now have an opportunity to offer services at more affordable rates," he stated.

Wouter van Hulten, founder and CEO of pan-African cloud and carrier neutral data centre operator PAIX datacentres agrees that governments and private enterprise become more efficient by investing in their services and operations, and seeking out professional datacentre operators for their mission critical infrastructure requirements.

"Savings are dependent on many factors, but the lack of trained staff to manage datacentre infrastructure is an important one for deciding to work with colocation providers. A carrier neutral facility also presents a revenue opportunity for businesses because of the possibility for interconnection with business partners, and the formation of communities of interest. A prerequisite for the growth of the datacentre industry in Africa is well developed fibre infrastructure which is the outcome of having a vibrant telecommunications market with many suppliers, providing competitive prices for bandwidth."

Upgrade a response to growing demand

The new floor brings the space for data servers over four floors at EADC to a total of 2,000 square metres which is largest in the East Africa, according to EADC.

Management at EADC said the business resource is interconnected with Africa Data Centres' other carrier-neutral facilities in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Dan Kwach, General Manager, EADC said the decision to grow investment in EADC was triggered by a rise in demand.

"The newly opened floor at EADC is a direct response to the huge demand that we're receiving for colocation and hosting services in Africa. Our state-of-the-art data centre facility in Nairobi has exceeded expectation since it first opened in 2013, and we will continue to serve our expanding customer base with world-class data centre solutions."

He added that EADC will address growing concerns around personal data protection and security, which remains a talking point because of Facebook's recent data privacy crisis, meaning that today's businesses face greater scrutiny over where they host their customers' data.

"By hosting their data within Africa, businesses in the region have clear visibility on where their customer sensitive data is at all times and which parties have access to that data. This sends out a clear message to consumers that your business is serious about data privacy and protection," said Kwach.

The additional floor at EADC is set to host a new analytics centre for Strathmore Business School (SBS), which will provide data-driven research and practices for African businesses.

Liquid Telecom announced in January that it will provide SBS with dedicated rack space and colocation services at EADC and establish a direct fibre link to the SBS campus, which will facilitate data analytic services such as data mining, predictive analysis and exploratory data analysis.

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