30 March 2017

Kenya: MTN Woos Firms With Cloud Plan

Telecommunications firm MTN has opened a data centre at its Mombasa Road offices in Nairobi as part of a strategy to attract smaller businesses to its cloud computing services.

The tier III facility, the second highest classification level for data centres, will provide MTN clients with robust remote computing capabilities.

The data centre offers redundancy and service availability about 99.9 per cent of the time, with maximum interruptions of 1.6 hours per year. It also offers power outage protection for at least 72 hours.

MTN says that it is particularly interested in extending the reach of its cloud accounting application and growing its business reselling Microsoft's cloud service Azure.

"The SME space is quite big. These are small guys that cannot afford to invest a lot in infrastructure. We want them to be able to their business using online applications," said MTN Business managing director, Mr Kennedy Chinganya.

The data center has the capacity for 70 racks, of which 24 are connected. A rack is basically shelving space on which servers sit. Each of the racks at MTN's new data centre can accommodate 42 high density servers.

MTN's new facility is relatively small. Liquid Telecom's East Africa Data Centre, a tier III facility, has 600 racks at its Nairobi. Mr Chinganya said that MTN has data centers with capacities of 5,000 racks in other parts of the continent.

Technology companies, globally and locally, are positioning themselves to compete on cloud computing and data hosting services. American multinational IBM last month brought its cognitive cloud computing services to Kenya through a deal with Sidian Bank.

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