Driven by the ongoing global pandemic as well as long-standing loadshedding concerns, increasing numbers of South African organisations have had to enable remote working.
By Barry Kemp, head of managed IT at Vox
While moving to the cloud is often presented as the solution, it is not possible in some cases due to a variety of factors. In these instances, colocation doesn’t just provide a secure and reliable environment to maintain servers, but also a more seamless path to the cloud when the time comes to shift.
Many organisations might have made investments in modernising their IT infrastructure (which is now capable to meet their requirements and still within manufacturer warranty), and will first need to sweat these assets while others might have adopted more stringent security policies that prevent the storage of certain types of data on shared infrastructure or in public clouds – all of which means that they are still maintaining their equipment on premise.
At a time when offices are being downscaled (or being abandoned altogether in favour of work from anywhere), these organisations are forced to hold on to their costly server rooms, which come with several risks. The biggest is the spectre of a return to sustained loadshedding, and mitigating against this means additional expense on UPS systems, generators, maintenance and fuel needed to keep infrastructure running and properly cooled to ensure optimal performance.
More than just causing a disruption to business activity, unreliable electricity supply can also result in power spikes that can cause damage to electronic equipment including UPS systems, which could possibly result in a loss of data. Then, there’s the possibility that the fibre line to the office premises could be damaged, leaving employees without access to data, which can be equally damaging – reputationally and financially.
To address this market, Vox has partnered with Teraco to provide them with colocation services at data centre facilities in Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, which are operated at global best practice standards. Colocation provides customers with rack or sub-rack space, power, cooling and connectivity, be it a direct connection from on-premise to the cloud using Vox Fibre, a direct connection to the internet, through Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), or a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
The facilities are equipped with features including CCTV monitoring, as well as early smoke detection and advanced fire suppression to ensure the physical safety of IT equipment, and dual independent power feeds to ensure 99.999% guaranteed power uptime. Getting set up with colocation depends on the size of the business and the complexity of their systems, but this can be as little as a few days for a small business with two or three servers.
Apart from reducing on-site maintenance overheads and providing organisations with peace of mind that their infrastructure is safe and secure in an off-site location, colocation allows organisations to efficiently maximise their existing investment into server infrastructure, before acting as a stepping stone for their move into a cloud platform, such as a virtual data centre.
With direct peering to NAPAfrica and connection to the Vox Backbone which ensures the best performance and cross-connections to major service providers and hyperscalers. This means that when organisations decide to migrate to the cloud, such as when their existing infrastructure approaches end of life, they have a direct high speed connection to cloud providers, making their migration process more seamless and with reduced downtime.