Telkom opens ‘green’ data centre

20 November 2009

South African telecoms firm Telkom has launched a state-of-the-art “green” data centre – dubbed Belville 2 – in Cape Town, with the facility’s services being offered to customers through the Cybernest brand.

The new brand brings together Telkom’s existing data centre operations, which manage about R2.5-billion worth of IT assets. These include 4 000 servers, 1 465 operating systems and databases, as well as some 32 000 e-mail boxes that handle up to 9.7-million incoming e-mails a day.

“As we strive to maintain our position as one of the leaders in SA while expanding our footprint on the African continent, we have consistently articulated that ‘defend and grow’ is the essence of our refocused strategy,” Telkom CEO Reuben September said in a statement this week.

“Providing impetus to our data centre operations via the Bellville 2 launch clearly amplifies our growth strategy.”

Growing data operations and capabilities

Telkom initially attempted to grow its data centre operations and capabilities by exploring the acquisition route, both locally and globally.

“Having extensively researched best practices across the globe with regard to data centre operations, we’re now in a position to leapfrog many other players in this field,” September said. “For instance, our new data centre in Bellville – in terms of design, capacity as well as our environmentally friendly, energy-efficient features – places it on par with the top 10% in the world.”

He explained that several strategic considerations have driven Telkom’s expansion into the IT services market. Foremost was the massive demand for a robust, redundant infrastructure.

“Internationally, demand for data centres exceeds supply by something in the region of 6:1,” September said, adding that some analysts expect the local data centre operations market to grow at about 22% per year.

Green approach to data centre services

Besides currently providing both basic and managed hosting services to around 80 external customers, Telkom has provided data centre services internally for more than 15 years. With the addition of Bellville 2, Telkom now has six hosting facilities – four in Gauteng province and two in Bellville, Cape Town.

“These six data centres present a combined floor capacity of 9 700 square meters and are interconnected to provide various business continuity options,” explained Telkom Data Centre Operations acting MD Pierre Marais. “We can therefore truly claim that we will put your IT at the centre of our network.”

Marais highlighted Bellville 2 as a purpose-built, best-in-class facility, not only with regard to technical expertise, but also with regard to its ecological footprint. It is also built on principles incorporating a holistic, “green” approach to energy management.

Telkom’s cutting-edge approach to energy-saving includes components such as effective air management, “virtualisation” and free-air cooling – depending on conditions, the latter alone could potentially reduce energy consumption by approximately 15% per year.

“The worldwide energy consumption of data centres has doubled between 2000 and 2006 and, in the construction of Bellville 2, it became imperative that we did what is right in the best interests of our customers, shareholders, our business and the environment,” Marais said.

SAinfo reporter

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