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Uganda’s first privately owned data centre to lower costs of ICT

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An artist’s impression of the data centre at Namanve. The centre whose construction starts by Q4 2018, is due for completion in 2019

When Uganda’s first privately owned data and disaster recovery centre starts running in 2019, Ugandan companies will nolonger need to spend vast amounts of money to set up own data centres.

This is according to James Byaruhanga, the General Manager at Raxio Data Centre Ltd- the company that is going to construct the data centre, at the Namanve Industrial and Business Park on the outskirts of Kampala City.

Raxio itself was established earlier this year by Roha, a company that describes itself as a “US greenfield investment company that builds and and develops new businesses across Africa.

In a statement sent to us, Byaruhanga said that the centre is a “timely investment in Uganda’s Knowledge and ICT sector with wide strategic national benefits that go beyond its primary function of serving as a disaster recovery facility.”

“We believe that with the growth in data usage and storage and the broader digital transformation of businesses and the public sector being witnessed in Uganda today, a Tier III data centre will be a key pillar to Uganda’s digital economy and will stimulate and support the growth and digitalisation of the Ugandan economy and thus help meet the goals set in the MoICT Data Strategy and the broader National Development Plans,” Byaruhanga said.

He also said that the world-class facility, shall attract major global content data networks, cloud services providers as well as regional carriers to Uganda.

Robert Mullins, Raxio Director

“Other than bringing critical services closer to the local market, this will make internet services cheaper and faster to the end user, but most importantly, bring down the overall cost of connectivity in the country, thus increasing global competitiveness of Ugandan businesses.”

Recently, the Uganda government is increasingly getting sensitive about locally generated data, being stored out of the country.

For example, in 2016, following the closure of Imperial Bank in Kenya, which had a subsidiary in Uganda, BoU faced issues in accessing data on Imperial Bank’s Uganda operations as all the data was stored in Kenya. Consequently, to ensure uninterrupted business continuity for subsidiaries but also ensure regulatory access at all times, Bank of Uganda issued a directive to all commercial banks to install in-country Primary Data Centres and Disaster Recovery Sites. The sheer amounts involved make it more expensive for some of the banks, especially the loss making ones. A shared data & recovery centre located in Uganda would be a welcome cost saving move in an industry where 5-year industry cost-to-income ratios are over 75% thus putting pressure on industry margins.

The government is also increasingly getting concerned about the integrity of data storage. The Data Privacy and Protection Bill (2015) that is in advanced stages largely puts increased focus on data security and places primary responsibility on entities collecting especially personal data to “adopt appropriate, reasonable, technical and organisational measures to prevent loss, damage, or unauthorised destruction and unlawful access to or unauthorised processing of the personal data.”

Truly carrier-neutral co-location facility

Robert Mullins, a Director at Raxio said, the data centre is the “country’s first Tier III, truly carrier-neutral co-location facility and “when it opens in mid-2019, it will ensure the equipment housed within it operates optimally, 24/7, in a fully safe, secure and redundant environment. At full capacity, the centre will be able to house up to 400 racks, delivering 1.5MW of IT power.”

James Byaruhanga, the newly appointed General Manager

According to Mullins, the data centre has been designed to global Tier III standards by Future-Tech, a UK specialist data-centre design company with over 30 years of experience.  Raxio has also appointed Symbion, a leading local architectural firm to carry out the civil and structural design of the building. Future-Tech and Symbion are  working hand-in-hand to oversee the building and commissioning of the centre.

About James Byaruhanga

Possesses more than 18 years of technical and commercial experience in ISP and Telco Network Administration, Service & Infrastructure Support and Executive Management gained from major industry players such as Roke Telkom, MTN Uganda and AfricaOnline.

He previously worked as Chief Operating Officer, Roke Telkom.

James holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Makerere University, Kampala, as well as a range of specialist technical qualifications from Cisco & Juniper.

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