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Cloud services enable growth and opportunity

As Africa becomes better connected, the increasing availability of cloud-based data services will open up massive opportunities for organisations to expand and prosper, says Dr Ayotunde Coker, CEO of Open Access Data Centres (OADC), a WIOCC Group Company. “Cloud democratises access to data and is a major enabler for businesses of all sizes. When the right technology is available, organisations can operate more efficiently and extend their reach, contributing to economic growth.”

Established for 15 years, WIOCC is a leading provider of integrated open access core infrastructure, having invested strategically across the continent in metro fibre, high-capacity national backhaul and hyperscale international subsea cable assets on Africa’s east and west seaboards – and integrated datacentres within the African continent. WIOCC network investments connect Africa, and Africa to the world.

Currently, most cloud consumed on the African continent comes from facilities in Europe or the US. However, data sovereignty rules are necessitating a switch to local cloud footprints. “On-continent cloud services are increasing, and South Africa is the leader in that metric, with many of the hyperscale’s based here. At ODAC, we provide underpinning infrastructure that complements the cloud infrastructure,” Coker says.

Latency is another key issue given the size of Africa, and Coker says Africa needs more locations opened up to improve this, especially with the adoption of AI.

 “AI is already providing massive benefits, with more to come, and it will significantly change our lives,” Coker says. “It’s important to have clear rules and regulations in place regarding its use, but it can reduce healthcare backlogs, enable education, and contribute to effective crime management. AI allows high quality information to be accessed almost instantly and by freeing up time, it leads to a better quality of life.”

Digital infrastructure

As AI adoption worldwide increases, there will be a massive demand for additional data capacity, both within Africa and to handle capacity substitution from other continents. OADC is developing hyperscale facilities to meet this demand. “AI will have an incredible impact on Africa’s growth and, in the long term, we envision a continental free trade area that will enable the cross-border use of AI,” Coker says.

To close the digital gap, it’s essential to create an environment where digital infrastructure is enabled every step of the way. Datacentres are the first step, and effective penetration and consumption of broadband is the next. Access to long distance networks and edge data centres provides a more open digital infrastructure and gives the consumer wider access to digital and broadband at the end-point. This is particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the biggest drivers of economies.

OADC provides a unique core-to-edge proposition within South Africa, with four Tier III facilities and 30 edge data centres. Its facilities provide open access to over 20,000 km of terrestrial fibre, 16 terabits per second (Tbps) capacity national and metro networks, and to the eight subsea systems connecting South Africa over multiple routes to Europe and Asia. This extends data storage, processing and content delivery to the network edge supports improved application performance, and allows critical data to be processed locally. The edge data centres are located within major business and connectivity hubs. They are carrier-neutral and open-access. With the best power rates in the industry, OADC is the fastest growing data centre company.

 “The core datacentres in four key cities, and the 30 edge locations, create opportunity for greater efficiency, reduced latency, and optimised backhaul costs,” says Coker. “We offer managed services, including remote hands, with linear or protected connectivity options – either across the WIOCC network or using a wide range of other network providers. Our tailored solutions are client-centric, based on the long-term relationships we have with them, offering a shared vision for growth and prosperity on this continent.