The new Joburg One West data centre being built in Ekurhuleni, in eastern Gauteng, will use dynamic free cooling to achieve a low power-use effectiveness – a measure of efficiency – that provides hosting services for clients in the South African and African markets, says vendor-neutral data centre management company Teraco Data Environments head of operations Gys Geyser.
The night-time temperatures on the Highveld consistently drop below 20 °C, and the dynamic free cooling system is separate from the conventional cooling systems, which provide all the cooling necessary when temperatures are above the required range.
The 17 500 m2 data centre is located next to the existing Joburg One East data centre, in Isando. The new data centre was built in response to the massive demand for data centre services across Africa. The possibility of building a third data centre in Cape Town, where demand is also on the increase, is being explored, says Geyser.
Joburg One West will have 5 000 m2 of data centre white space, and will serve the South African and Southern African markets up to Angola, as well as Nigeria and Kenya, she says.
The location was selected because of the stability of power supply. However, the data centre has full redundancy and power backup, with 210 000 ℓ of diesel used to run all its generators and cooling systems for 40 hours without external power.
Meanwhile, Teraco and its construction contractor, Abbeydale, upgraded a second electrical substation to accommodate 16 MW of power with approval from the Ekurhuleni municipality.
The new site will have about 1 000 m2 of office space. Importantly, the site is close to the airport, facilitates the movement of clients’ technical staff and there are showering, sleeping and work facilities for travellers.
Construction is proceeding rapidly, with ground broken in October last year. The first clients are expected to start deploying their systems by November this year for full switch-on by 9 December.
Teraco Data Environments solution architect and project manager Derick Muller highlights some of the challenges encountered during construction, including the relatively unstable ground which required that good lateral supports be built, as well as piling to depths between 3 m and 7.5 m, while bases were built for some columns over rocks that proved too hard to penetrate.
There are about 124 people on the site six days a week, and 800 t of steel and 2 200 m3 of concrete have been used so far in the project.
During peak periods, there are usually 156 people on site with 160 truckloads of premix concrete delivered in a day to cast large concrete slabs or structures. The largest single pour was 320 m3, highlights Muller.
Joburg One West will be equipped with rooftop solar power, but this will be used only for the office, as the data centres requires extremely high reliability and stability to maintain 100% uptime.
Teraco’s philosophy is to use green initiatives in its office environment and for data centres only where feasible and low-risk, such as dynamic free cooling, because it cannot compromise the reliability of backup power and cooling for clients across Southern Africa, concludes Geyser.