Serendipitously coinciding with the relaxation of national telecommunications regulations, Teraco (www.teraco.com) has opened a first vendor neutral data center in Cape Town, making it the first of its kind in the country, tapping a growing market of companies that can now choose where their data lies.
Following South Africa's liberalization of the telecommunications industry in November 2008, according to Teraco's Thursday announcement, companies have been newly granted the right to self-provision their data for the first time ever in South Africa, giving carriers, corporations, ISPs and IT service providers unrestricted control over their data.
"The timing for this business is right," Teraco Data Environments managing director Lex van Wyk said in a statement. "A number of operators are building networks and need to interconnect. So now, companies can benefit from vendor neutral data centers that give them global best practice facilities, unrestricted choice and access to many players in the industry, under one roof."
Teraco notes that in the past outsourced data center facilities in South Africa have typically been supplied by ISPs or large IT outsourcing companies, or bundled with Internet access plans or managed hosting services.
According to US non-profit research firm Bridges.org, Telecom deregulation in South Africa could lead a lower costs, encourage ICT sector diffusion, and enable broader economic and societal benefits from technology integration, just as it has done in many other countries.
To avoid all conflicts of interest, Teraco said it limits itself to only providing infrastructure and facilities, taking care of the practical side of data center management such as infrastructure redundancy, climate control, guaranteed electrical power, security and protection and maintenance.
"There is absolute focus on taking care of the physical space and honouring our quite punitive service level agreements," van Wyk said. "We remain neutral and offer customers the freedom of choice to purchase or sell products and services to whomever they wish. You want to buy your connectivity from one company, Internet access from another, and then do back-ups with yet another that's okay with us. It's your business. We don't ever compete with our customers. We just want to be sure that the data center is perfectly in order. All the time."
The Teraco data center has carrier connections to Neotel and FastNet, with plans to add Vodacom Business and Telkom. It also has points of presence from leading ISPs such as WebAfrica (www.webafrica.co.za).
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