With bandwidth costs set to plummet in the next nine to 18 months, the role of hosted services will become much more important within the South African market, and Vodacom Business believes its new Tier 4 data centre is well positioned to take advantage of the coming trend.

South African city dwellers will be painfully aware of the massive fibre roll-outs that have been taking place over the last year or so – and it's this infrastructure that will enable the move to services.
Wally Beelder, executive director at Vodacom Business says the company decided to self-provide its own network access layer about one-and-a-half years ago, and has since rolled out an extensive fibre optic network that includes links into strategic buildings.
At the same time, the company also built what it believes is the best Tier 4 data centre in South Africa.
"We took a strategic decision that bandwidth is an enabler to get to the services layer," he says. "With the price of bandwidth set to implode within the next nine to 18 months, people are going to start looking differently at the networks. And maybe decentralised is not where they want to be, but in a centralised, virtual environment."
Vodacom's new data centre cost about R100-million to build. The 1 000-square metre facility has the capacity to host up to 20 000 dedicated client servers or 650 000 virtual machines and will allow companies to do away with their own costly data centres.
Beelders says the hosting facility, which already hosts about 10 clients, will allow clients to focus on their core business.
"IT operations are a crucial aspect of any company's operations. One of the
main concerns is business continuity; companies rely on their information systems to run their operations. If a system becomes unavailable, company operations may be impaired or stopped completely. Our new data centre will ensure that a company can continue to run without having to worry about their IT infrastructure."
Beelders says all companies, no matter what size, will be able to benefit from the range of hosting services now available due to the new data centre.
"The Vodacom Business Data Centre caters for large corporates with vast IT infrastructure needs, to small businesses, including small, medium & micro enterprises (SMMEs) and small office home office (Soho) businesses which need cost-effective hosting services."
According to Beelders, the cost of setting up and running your own data centre infrastructure with back-up generators, UPS, air cooling, building management systems and the associated services is prohibitive.
"By making use of our data centre, clients will benefit from a safe and cost-effective data centre environment – including back-up services that ensure the highest level of availability and network performance."
The data centre can be used as a primary facility or a disaster recovery site. Biometric security systems, video surveillance, on-site security officers and surplus power, heating, ventilation & air Conditioning (HVAC) as well as fire-suppression systems ensure high levels of security and reliability for customer equipment.
The Vodacom Business Data Centre will operate on a 24/7/365  basis.
Services on offer include basic Web hosting, server co-location, dedicated hosting, managed storage and managed backups.
The Data Centre is fully redundant, having been built and designed on an N + N principle. Cabling to all secure cabinets allow for 10Gbps Copper, 10Gbps Multimode Optic Fibre and 10Gbps Single Mode Fibre.
The Vodacom Business Data Centre is classified as a Tier 4 data centre, which is designed to host mission critical computer systems, with fully redundant subsystems and compartmentalised security zones controlled by biometric access control methods. Redundancy has been built into the building managements systems utilising both the Netbotz and SCADA BMS technologies.
Secure client office environments are available for all Vodacom Business hosting customers together with a world-class boardroom, fully equipped with video conferencing infrastructure – making planning and deployment of IT equipment convenient.