Kenya’s first carrier neutral co-location data centre has opened its doors to national and international customers. Icolo.io partnered with Siemon to equip the new facility with state-of the-art network infrastructure solutions.
With an approximate population of 180 million people, East Africa has seen tremendous growth in Internet and mobile phone adoption in recent years. This has led to an explosion of digital data and a growing demand for data hosting and co-location data centre facilities in the region. Nairobi based icolo.io seized this opportunity and in 2015 launched into setting up the first carrier neutral co-location data centre in Kenya.
Icolo.io designs, builds and operates state-of-the art carrier neutral data centres providing co-location services including power, security, network access, redundancy, rack space and precision cooling to national and international customers. Located in Miritini, Mombasa, the company’s brand-new hyper-connected, Tier III facility, featuring over 550m2 of IT space and an ability to provide 675KW of IT load to 226 cabinets, was purpose-built for the global co-location market and is set to attract telecom carriers, ISPs, IT, global cloud and content providers, as well as enterprise and financial services institutions.
“For us at icolo.io, this new data centre is a true landmark project”, said Ranjith Cherickel, co-founder and CEO at icolo.io.
“Not only is it the very first carrier neutral co-location site in Kenya, it also acts as the main gateway to Africa from a connectivity perspective.
“The facility sits in close proximity to the landing station for all of the undersea cable operators and the international network hub for Internet traffic in the region and it has become a core node for all terrestrial networks reaching out via high capacity fibre routes into the rest of East and Central Africa.”
Partnering for success
From cooling to power supply to IT infrastructure, for icolo.io it was paramount to work with best-in class partners for this project. The search for a supplier of the physical IT infrastructure components – including data cabling, cabinets and power distribution – didn’t take long.
“Siemon is one of the strongest networking brands globally and particularly known for high quality, high performance IT infrastructure systems and solutions in East Africa”, added Cherickel.
“Besides the comprehensive solutions set, the key decision-making factor for us to partner with Siemon was the logistical infrastructure that Siemon and distribution partner, Mart Networks have in place and the flexibility this provides us.”
Having operated in the African market for over two decades, Mart Networks has a strong footprint across East Africa, including warehousing facilities in Nairobi. Local product availability means that icolo.io can react flexibly to customer demands within the shortest time frame.
Delivered straight from the warehouse into icolo.io new facility were data centre cabinets and racks, cold aisle containment, power distribution units and high-performance pre-terminated copper and fibre optic cabling.
Icolo.io selected Siemon’s V600 cabinets which offer a number of customer benefits.
Dinesh OP, Technical manager for Africa at Siemon, said: “The V600 features flexible mounting options to support any range of equipment depths, enhanced side entry for convenient access to installed equipment and high density perforated doors that provide up to 71% perforation exceeding major IT equipment air flow requirements.”
With power consumption remaining a significant operational expense in data centres, accounting for 20 to 30% of the total cost of ownership, it was in icolo.io’s best interest to keep energy costs to a minimum whilst maximising energy efficiency and PUE. Siemon’s cold aisle containment solution panels can easily be attached to the V600 cabinets to contain cold air for targeted cooling to active equipment, allowing higher temperature return air to improve the efficiency of existing cooling systems and reduce energy costs while preventing overprovisioning of air conditioning units. The panels also increase capacity by allowing greater heat densities without costly supplemental cooling. A pod of 26 cabinets has been initially deployed and this will grow to the maximum as tenants move in.
For the network cabling infrastructure, icolo.io specified pre-terminated copper and fibre trunking assemblies and modular patch panels. These pre-terminated solutions, including high performance category 6A F/UTP copper trunks from Siemon’s Z-MAX range, plug and play fibre assemblies using OM4 multi-mode cable, as well as OS2 single-mode cable are manufactured and tested in a clean factory environment and offer guaranteed performance levels. Modular patch panels provide maximum flexibility for icolo.io’s customers since they can accommodate both single-mode and multi-mode fibre cassettes, as well as copper connectivity and take up little rack space.
Value added benefits
“We also valued Siemon’s data centre design support as well as the on-site training and installation support they provided”, added Cherickel.
“The main cross-connect design in the Meet-Me rooms where local network carriers bring their fibre via diverse routes into the site are entirely based on recommendations from Siemon and the cross-connect is based upon the RS rack system with the VCP range of vertical cable managers and modular patch panels”.
The installation work was carried out by icolo.io’s team of experienced installers and again, the pre-terminated copper and fibre trunks proved to be a real time-saver. Compared to field-terminated links, these trunks can help reduce installation time by up to 75%. After successful completion, Siemon was able to offer a 15-year warranty covering products, performance and applications assurance.
Icolo.io’s new Mombasa facility started operations in August 2017.
“We are very proud to have partnered with Siemon to develop a truly carrier neutral data centre in the heart of the African digital economy,” said Cherickel.
“Due to the absence of these types of facilities, large international customers have in the past overlooked East Africa in favour of other locations in Africa to deploy services.
“With our new co-location data centre, we have now changed the landscape, enabling our customers to bring content closer to their users and Siemon’s high-performance infrastructure solutions have been fundamental in achieving this. We are very pleased with the work Siemon has done in helping us to bring high quality and reliable services to our customers.”