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Vantage Data Centers plans R15bn Joburg campus at Attacq’s Waterfall mega-development

Says the facility will be the largest ‘hyperscale’ data centre in Africa.
An artist's impression of what the data centre campus will look like once fully developed. Image: Supplied

US-based Vantage Data Centers on Wednesday revealed plans to invest $1 billion (R15 billion) in a massive new Joburg campus on a 12-hectare site in Waterfall, the mega property node in the middle of Gauteng being spearheaded by JSE-listed Attacq.

Vantage, which is headquartered out of Denver, is a global data centre giant with several sites across the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

It said in a statement that the new 80 megawatt (MW) campus, which is already under construction, represents its first-ever facility in Africa, adding that Johannesburg was selected as it is “the heart of the continent’s largest data centre market”.

Vantage noted that the “massive investment” will “bring new business and positive economic impacts” for the city, helping to “foster economic growth, stimulate job creation, and lead the way in energy‐efficient design”.

The deal also represents a major coup for Attacq, the developer driving the Waterfall City mixed-use CBD and broader Waterfall node that includes logistics, warehousing and now data centre property developments.

Waterfall City, Attacq, Vantage Data Centers

Construction underway on the 12 000m² first phase of the new Joburg campus of Vantage Data Centers in Waterfall. Image: Supplied

“Vantage is a leading global provider of hyperscale data centre campuses. A data centre is a dedicated space for servers and IT equipment. A hyperscale [wholesale] data centre scales this up to comprise hundreds of thousands of servers,” the group explained.

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“Vantage’s carrier‐neutral Joburg campus will include 60 000m² of data space across three facilities once fully developed, making it the largest on the continent,” it added.

Antoine Boniface, president of Vantage for EMEA (Europe, Middle-East and Africa) commented: “Johannesburg is the data centre hub for sub-Saharan Africa due to its strategic location, IT ecosystem, fibre connectivity to the rest of Africa and the availability of renewable energy.”

“We look forward to opening the doors of our first African facility to our customers and becoming part of the local community. Our first campus has a planned investment of more than R15 billion, and it will add jobs to impact the local economy positively.”

Read: City of Cape Town approves R4bn Amazon-anchored development

According to Vantage, it is partnering with Attacq to develop a campus that is tailored to meet the requirements of Vantage’s global campus blueprint.

“Indirectly, the potential impact is significant. Having an African campus could create a cost‐effective digital infrastructure solution for myriad fintech companies and local businesses,” the group added.

Attacq CEO Jackie van Niekerk said the group was thrilled to have Vantage Data Centers’ join the Waterfall precinct.

“With a scalable, fit-for-future logistics hub and a world-class corporate campus, Waterfall City has an established track record of attracting leading international businesses such as BMW, PwC, Massbuild, Cotton On and Cummins to the precinct,” she noted.

Read: Google to invest $1bn in Africa over five years

“As the developer of Waterfall City, Attacq is working with Vantage to build a campus that is tailored to meet the organisation’s global requirements while still leveraging Waterfall’s unique capacity to scale its tenant footprints according to evolving company and market demand.”

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No doubt like Amazon in Cpt , Some tribal Chief will claim that this is sacred land preserved for the slaughter of Cattle or whatever and the project will need to be scrapped.

Yep … sigh … pass the chequebook …

Another dose of pessimism. Why can’t we celebrate this sort of news instead? No wonder the users masquerading as EFF supporters are becoming more active on here – the perpetual pessimism that people express on every post makes this platform ripe for the planting of comments intended to sew division and dispute. Be part of the solution or you are nothing more than a part of the problem.

Pessimism , realism , Sarcasm : You decide

This is the sort of investment this country desperately needs

If the Government can just get their house in order (no pun intended) and do away with the transformational stumbling blocks and all the other negative rhetoric, this country will flourish and the dollars will flow

Some day they might come to realise that to Govern isn’t for self enrichment, but to serve

Yes, the tribal chief is the Mia family.

I hope that they will be generating their own electricity to run and cool the servers. Considering that Mr Bezos is worth some $200 billion, it’s not a big deal in the global context.

This facility works out to R250,000 per square meter.

At that cost it presumably includes a crazy backup power system. 80MWh for an hour worth of batteries cover while the gennies fire up is about $20m. Add same again for the inverter-chargers and round it up to a generous billion. 100MW worth of generators is another R300m let’s call it R1,500 million for power management. What on earth is the other R12,000,000,000 for?

backhands and kickbacks of course

Always nice to have some intelligent input here instead of self-opinionated drivel …. when I could afford to subscribe to the Financial Times, the comments were often more informed than the article.

Look up kinetic flywheels.

Oubok:

We looked at flywheels for a 2MW power-sensitive site back about 2009. I think batteries have taken over IF you anyway (welcome to SA) going to need diesel. The flywheels are great for short duration grid imperfections overseas where the site probably anyways have two or three grid suppliers.

So if I had to do that system nowadays I could have a one hour buffer of batteries that always drive the loads through inverter-chargers and then a bank of gennies to keep the batteries going. Basically the loads see the batteries whether the batteries are kept going by Eskom or gennies.

There are some scary engineering flywheels out there. Massive magnetic RPM in a vacuum and under meters of concrete. If something goes wrong it is a large bomb of energy released in a millisecond!

Greasing palms perhaps?

If you going to rely on genny power to charge batteries you might as well just go with a flywheel for that second or two it takes the genny to start up and sync. If they going solar they will need 150 hectares of panels.
Not my field though, so stand to be corrected.

Oubok:

For sensitive power nobody would connect grid direct – the voltage and frequency fluctuations alone are a problem, then add the reliability in SA. So options are flywheel or battery plus inverter for pure sinewave power. Flywheel are damned expensive now that batteries dropped 90% in a decade. So a bank of inverters normally receive grid power via the battery bank and one can supplement the grid with the maximum solar you can fit.

Normal operations:
the power goes to sensitive loads via the battery bank and inverters.
the grid only sees the bank of battery chargers, not the AC coupled loads.
if grid fails, the battery bank capacity of 30min or an hour gives ample time to bring up as many generators as the load needs. The generators also only see battery chargers, not the live loads, so they can actually run optimally against a constant amps demand.
the solar can always produce, they are not grid tied so need not go off for loadshedding.

a place this size with as much cooling can actually go for concentrated solar cooling, one of the banks or cel phone companies in SA have half MW system like this

with battery bank one can also play with DC supply to server farm instead of inverting to AC and then avoid needing power supplies and their resultant inefficiency and enormous heat output. The servers anyway run DC at the board and drive level.

Must be a nice project with this kind of budget behind one!

Well… lets just say, in these times, R15bn is a nice number to paste into Attacq’s shareholder statements

meanwhile Eskom have different plans for them… umm loadshedding? Good luck trying to power that happy place.

Definitive advantage for 4IR and the green economy, establishing a leading edge technology hub inside the African Union at this ideal facility going forward.

Plus I own townhouse real estate across the road- so good news all round!

Great news for Gauteng, luckily the law now allows them to build their own power plant.

I’ve never seen an 80 MW generator but hopefully residents in the area will be able to sleep when this mother turns on.

Looks like a tremendous deal for the developer and a great base for Vantage to head into Africa. This however highlights the 4th IR and what it means for SA – we are most definitely still a destination for large projects but not ones that employ the masses. I wonder if the cadres even understand this 1%? I would expect this facility to have military grade fencing and guards after the recent cadre picnic in KZN and Gauteng

a fab hi-tech, power hungry project. Just what SA needs. Employment for the masses of unemployed and undertrained youth.

End of comments.

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