Q&A: Dan Kwach, General Manager, East Africa Data Centre (EADC)
Dan Kwach, General Manager of East Africa Data Centre (EADC), tells Capacity how EADC has been raising its profile in the region, the challenges it faces and its strategic priorities over the next year.
What have been the highlights and key developments for your company in the region in the past year?
We have continued to raise the profile of the East Africa Data Centre (EADC), which is the perfect hosting location for African and international companies looking to protect their business critical applications and data in Africa. Located at Sameer Industrial Park in Nairobi, EADC offers excellent access across Kenya and beyond to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as diverse fibre routes to cable landing stations in Mombasa.
Most recently, the Technology Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) in partnership with the African Union Commission have announced that they are launching Africa’s first GSM Global Roaming Exchange (GRX) at the EADC. GRX will help cut costs for mobile operators in the region by removing the need for a dedicated link between each mobile service provider. It will also help reduce roaming charges as well as facilitate easy connectivity to the exchange.
What are the main challenges of operating in the African market and how are you looking to tackle those challenges over the next period?
Data centres have a fantastic appetite for power. In fact, the amount of energy consumed by the world’s data centres is set to treble in the next decade, putting an enormous strain on energy supplies.
A lack of reliable power infrastructure across Africa presents an even tougher challenge for the region’s data centre operators, which sometimes have to contend with rolling blackouts and service outages. Which is why EADC has taken a major step to ensure it has a more reliable and efficient power source by constructing a new power plant.
The power plant consists of two substations that supply two lines of power to the EADC, significantly increasing redundancy while improving power availability to the site from 85% to 97%. Like other data centre facilities across Africa, EADC mitigates the risk of service outages by reverting to costly back-up diesel generators. However, since completing the power plant, the facility is effectively no longer reliant on back-up generators, which translates into serious operational savings for EADC and its customers.
What are your strategic priorities as well as expansion plans for the region in 2017?
The new power plant also brings EADC further in-line with international standards. EADC has been designed to Tier III specifications as certified by the Uptime Institute, which is recognised worldwide for certifying data centre design, construction and operational sustainability.
EADC is currently undergoing further review by the Uptime Institute to qualify for both Tier III facilities and operational certification, with approval for the first expected before the end of the year. Further certification from the Uptime Institute will reiterate EADC as a world-class data centre facility for businesses in the region, as well as provide a platform for locally-hosted content to flourish.
What major trends do you see occurring in the African market this year and how do you plan to capitalise on those?
Growing demand for IT services and locally-hosted content is prompting businesses across Africa to intensify their search for reliable and secure data centre space.
The Middle East and Africa region is expected to have the highest cloud traffic growth rate globally through to 2019, during which it is expected to increase by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 41%, according to the Cisco Global Cloud Index.
What does your organisation hope to achieve by attending Capacity Africa 2016?
We’re delighted to have been shortlisted in the ‘Best Africa Project - Data Centre’ category in the first Africa Carrier Awards at the event.
I’m also looking forward to participating on the panel discussion examining the rise of carrier-neutral data centre across the continent – challenges and opportunities. This promises some lively debate and is taking place at 2.40pm on Day One.
For further information about EADC, please visit: www.eastafricadatacentre.com