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Raxio Data Centre Will Support The Growth and Digitalization of Uganda’s Economy, Abdul Rahman

Raxio Data Centre will be a centre piece of infrastructure, supporting the growth and digitalization of the Uganda's economy, says Abdul Rahman; Head of Technology and Operations at Raxio.

Data centres are set to play a more important role in the future data economy of Uganda. As the world moves increasingly to the web, users and businesses demand quick information. The closer a business is to a data centre, the higher the performance of the service —and much of the content that we access is currently held far away.

The data centres in Uganda mostly serve government ministries and yet Ugandan enterprises are also generating their own data, and need somewhere to store it. Thereby, opting for western data centres. Some/Or a few private businesses often store data on in-house servers or rent space in a center run by a telecommunications companies, like MTN or Airtel, where the only way to connect is through the service that the telco itself provides.

This is where private companies like Raxio, come in play. Raxio a subsidiary of the Roha Group, a US-based investment firm —is building a data centre at the Namanve Industrial Park, which will see Ugandan businesses/enterprises host their data locally. They (Raxio) believe its data centre will be a center-piece of infrastructure supporting the growth and digitization of the Ugandan economy and the goals set in the Ministry of ICT Data Strategy.

The construction of Raxio begun in 2018 with expectations to finish by November 2019. However, due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been a lot set-backs that have hinder the completion of the data centre in the set time. However, PC Tech Magazine has been told that the data centre is expected to go live this month (March).

Following our interview with James Byaruhanga, the General Manager at Raxio Data Centre in 2020, he enlightened us about what Raxio Data Centre is. Today, in very-brief interview with Abdul Rahman Baguma Ahmed; Raxio Data Centre Vice President in charge of Technology and Operations, he enlightens the progress of raxio data centre, expectations, and how it will play its role in the digitalization of the Ugandan economy.

James last year briefed us his side-view about Raxio Data Centre, so what is else could you tell us more about the data centre?
Raxio Data Centre will be a centre piece of infrastructure, supporting the growth and digitalization of the Uganda’s economy. The data centre has been designed to enable business continuity thanks to our carrier-neutral data centre is purpose-built and certified to Tier III standards, and offer 99.99% uptime and best-in-class equipment. We are therefore able to offer customers affordable, secure colocation spaces and hosting environments of up to 400 racks to hold all mission-critical IT infrastructure in a 24/7 redundant environment.

You spoke about Raxio being Tier III certified data centre, what does this mean in lay man’s language?
As a tier the data centre, Raxio has been built with capacity to host up to 400 racks and delivery 1.5MW of IT power at final phase. Unlike other data centres that operate by a single Internet Service Provider, Raxio Data Centre offers a wide variety of internet connection options with up to 9 carriers currently installed at the centre. This is thanks to its classification as a carrier neutral data centre that allows interconnection between multiple telecommunication carriers and/or colocation providers.

How has it been so far building Raxio Data Centre?
It is said that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step and such is the case for Raxio Data Centre which began its construction in 2018 and is currently nearing completion in March 2021. It has been a real challenge looking at what we have faced with the pandemic as well as logistical challenges as a lot of the items that went into the construction needed to be important. But we are almost there, we are soon going live and ready to serve Ugandans.

Raxio Data Centre on-going constructions at Namave Industrial Park in Jinja.
Raxio Data Centre on-going constructions at Namave Industrial Park in Jinja. (COURTESY PHOTO/RAXIO)

How will Raxio Data Centre Digitize the Ugandan Economy?
Raxio as a data centre is set to play an important role in the future data economy of Uganda, this is because as the world moves increasingly to the web, users and businesses demand quick information. The closer a business is to a data centre, the higher the performance of the service and much of the content that we access is currently held far away. Raxio will be bringing this information closer to you.

What should a potential client of Raxio data centre expect?
This is a good question. A potential Raxio client should expect nothing but the best quality services and here is why;

  • The centre is concurrently maintainable, allowing for any planned maintenance activity of power and cooling systems to take place without disrupting the operation of client’s hardware located in the data centre.
  • The data centre has multiple paths for power and cooling and systems in place to update and maintain it without taking it offline. It has an expected uptime of 99.982% (1.6 hours of downtime annually).
  • Looking at the centre in terms of redundancy, Tier III offers N+1 availability. From Raxio’s perspective this means that the centre has two UMEME supplies from two different substations, two generators for Backup incase UMEME 2 feeds are off. one generator can carry the full load of the Data Centre as the other is redundant.
  • Raxio uses indirect Adiabatic Cooling, the first of its kind in East Africa. Indirect Adiabatic Cooling System uses outdoor air to indirectly cool the indoor air supply removing the data centre heat via a specially designed heat exchanger. Interestingly, heat transfer is achieved without the outdoor air entering the building this means that outdoor hazards such as fire, air pollution and salt aerosol are kept out of the building.
  • The data centre now has two fiber ducts from Roofing’s road to Raxio Data Centre to enable ISP or Network providers lay their cables in two different paths into fiber intake room A and fiber intake room B hence redundancy.
  • Raxio data centre has seven layers of security available to safeguard client’s assets against a physical event, from theft.
  • Raxio also has two water supplies for the facility, one from the national grid, there other from the borehole.

Doing business in Uganda can be a challenge when it comes to connectivity issues. How does Raxio Data Centre avert this?
Raxio Data Centre provides an enabling a secure and redundant environment to guarantee the smooth running of all the critical IT equipment that is monitored closely. Since Raxio Data Centre is built in the Kampala Industrial and Business Park in Namanve, it is ideally located for addressing both the primary and disaster recovery needs of its customers. This strategic positioning along Uganda’s principal fiber routes also enables optimal connectivity.

Final remarks as we conclude this brief interview?
What I can say is that the launch of this data centre —I believe will be the start of the digital transformation of businesses and the public sector in Uganda will drive a surge in data consumption. And when we open at the end of Q1 2021, Raxio Data Centre will be the first of its kind in Uganda.

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Joan Banura

A journalist at heart 💜 with a passion for Tech.
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