Tour of Hyperscale Data Center in Nairobi, Kenya – by IXAfrica

DateMay 23, 2024

IXAfrica has established itself as a key player in the data center industry with the launch of a state-of-the-art facility in Nairobi. This $50 million data center, operational since October 2023, represents a significant investment in the region’s technological infrastructure. Moses Kimaru, from the Pure Digital Passion podcast, recently visited the IXAfrica data center to provide an inside look at the advanced infrastructure and security measures that make it a top choice for hosting solutions.

Upon arrival, Moses was immediately struck by the facility’s meticulous design and the significant investment put into its infrastructure. IXAfrica boasts four diverse fiber entry points, ensuring redundancy and reliability. These fiber cables enter the facility through different routes and are routed to a central riser before being distributed through the Meet Me Room (MMR), where customers can interconnect with multiple fiber operators and carriers. This setup guarantees robust and redundant connectivity, essential for maintaining uninterrupted operations.

Security is a paramount concern at IXAfrica. From the moment visitors arrive, stringent measures are in place. Details of visitors are pre-logged with the security department, and entry is controlled through a secure man-trap system, which physically confines individuals to ensure no unauthorized access. This is supplemented by a comprehensive network of over 120 CCTV cameras monitored from the Network Operating Center (NOC), ensuring 24/7 surveillance and security of the facility.

Inside the NOC, engineers continuously monitor various systems, including physical security, power consumption, and environmental conditions within the data halls. The data center utilizes a sophisticated Building Management System (BMS) to manage these parameters, ensuring optimal performance and safety of all housed equipment. The BMS tracks temperature, power usage, and system statuses, providing real-time data to maintain the facility’s operational efficiency.

Cooling is another critical aspect addressed with advanced technology. IXAfrica employs both free cooling and direct expansion (DX) systems. Free cooling, used during cooler ambient temperatures, leverages water to efficiently manage heat, significantly reducing energy consumption. The DX system, on the other hand, uses refrigeration and compressors for cooling when temperatures rise, ensuring that the data center maintains a consistent and optimal environment for its equipment.

The data halls themselves are a testament to high standards. Designed to house a large number of racks, each hall is equipped with advanced cooling systems and power arrangements. The use of overhead busbar systems for power distribution allows for high-density setups, capable of supporting heavy and power-intensive equipment. IXAfrica has also implemented hot aisle containment to prevent the mixing of hot and cold air, enhancing cooling efficiency and reducing energy consumption.

Fire safety within the data center is managed through an innovative water mist system. This technology uses fine droplets of water to suppress fires without causing damage to sensitive electronic equipment, a crucial feature for a facility housing critical IT infrastructure.

IXAfrica’s data center is designed to be scalable, accommodating up to 250 racks with a power capacity of 1.5 megawatts in the current phase. Plans for further expansion are already underway, with additional data halls and increased power capacity to meet the growing demands of enterprises and hyperscalers.

For businesses looking to migrate their IT infrastructure or for international providers seeking a reliable hosting solution in East Africa, IXAfrica offers a compelling proposition. The facility’s combination of advanced technology, stringent security measures, and operational efficiency positions it as a premier choice for data colocation and cloud services.

The tour concluded with Moses reflecting on the importance of such world-class infrastructure for local and international businesses. IXAfrica’s commitment to providing top-tier data center services is evident in every aspect of its operation, making it a valuable asset in Kenya’s technological landscape.

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