Equinix Plans Data Center in South Africa

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REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Equinix is front and center in the build out of the expanding data center sector.

Equinix plans to build a data center in Johannesburg, South Africa, marking its entry into the data center market in the country, according to the company last month.

This $160-million data center is expected to open in mid 2024. It augments Equinix’s current footprint in Africa.

The Johannesburg data center will be known as JN1. It will offer 4 MW of data center capacity via over 690 cabinets and more than 20,000 gross square feet of colocation space.

Two additional phases of development are planned: The fully completed 20 MW premium retail campus will provide over 3,450 cabinets and more than 100,000 gross square feet of colocation space.

JN1 will be built using the latest sustainability standards to reduce resource consumption and maximize efficiency. The facility will feature sustainable attributes, such as hyper-efficient cooling with outside air economization using minimal water. This helps limit the carbon footprint and maintain energy-efficient operations as demonstrated by power usage efficiency (PUE) ratings.

This is part of Equinix’s commitment to becoming climate neutral globally by 2030. It has a long-term goal of sourcing 100% renewable energy for all its data centers around the world. Its renewable energy coverage in 2021 reached 95% and has been over 90% since 2018.

Growth of the South Africa Data Center Market

South Africa is a sought-after market, as the country is the top data center market in Africa, according to Arizton.

The South Africa data center market will witness investments of $3.2 billion 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.15% during 2022–2027.

Part of the reason is that South Africa has a large, connected population. The share of the population of South Africa using the internet is nearly 80%, according to Statista.com. This share is expected to grow to an estimated 90% by 2027, meaning it has some of the highest penetration of mobile and internet users in Africa. This predicted rise would represent an increase of 28% compared to 2018, when the share of the population accessing the internet in the country was 62%.

Additionally, South Africa is home to a network of submarine communications cables. These strategic links between countries and continents are established at several points across the country’s 2,850 kilometers of coastline.

See more: 5 Top Data Center Storage Trends

“Opportunity to expand”

Equinix entered Africa earlier this year with the acquisition of MainOne, a leading West African data center and connectivity solutions provider with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire, according to Eugene Bergen, president, EMEA, Equinix.

The company’s investment in the JN1 data center will give “both South African businesses the opportunity to expand internationally and global businesses to expand into South Africa,” Bergen said.

“Both will be able to accelerate their growth by rapidly scaling their infrastructure, adopting hybrid multicloud architectures, and interconnecting with business partners.”

Equnix’s Global Growth

Equinix has embarked on a journey of steady expansion in recent years by acquiring data centers. As a result, it owns and operates a network of over 245 data centers across the globe, spanning more than 70 major metro areas and 32 nations.

These facilities provide digital infrastructure for over 10,000 companies, including more than 50% of Fortune “500” companies.

As Equinix looks ahead, it sees potential for data center expansion all over the planet. Recent announcements include more data centers for Indonesia and other parts of southeast Asia as well as more growth in South America market with the acquisition of five Entel data centers in Peru and Chile.

Equinix research indicates there’s demand, as organizations are connecting to three times as many business ecosystem partners and metros — consuming more than twice the amount of interconnection bandwidth on average in the past five quarters than in the previous five years.

See more: Equinix Expanding to Indonesia With $74M Data Center

Growth of the Data Center Market

Despite serious problems with power availability, a global push to reduce carbon footprints, and endless supply chain challenges, the data center construction business is healthy.

The analyst firm IDC noted that the data center segment has performed above the average IT level over the past 18 months, buoyed by the demand for digital platforms, initially driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend is accelerating, according to IDC.

Out of more than a quarter billion square feet of data center capacity in the world, Equinix and other colocation providers own 37%. They were responsible for 42% of new data center construction in 2021, according to the research firm Omdia.

Now colocation providers are in a race against their competitors — as well as hyperscalers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, Microsoft. They’re in a rush to cover more ground in more countries and more metro areas to deliver the low-latency services that customers demand.

“Equinix is well positioned to help companies optimize their digital infrastructure and power their digital platforms at global scale,” said Courtney Munroe, an analyst at IDC.

See more: Best Data Center Companies

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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