July 6, 2024

Data Centres: Shining examples of Uganda’s digital transformation

Godfrey Sserwamukoko

By Godfrey Sserwamukoko, Managing Director, Raxio Data Centre Uganda,

The development of the telecommunications sector in Uganda over the last 25 years is synonymous with the establishment of the Uganda Communications Commission. The development of data centres in the country, as a critical infrastructure in the digital ecosystem, is one example of such huge steps in the sector.

The telecommunications sector has significantly grown from the early days of basic infrastructure development to the current era of digital transformation. The policy framework has fostered an environment conducive to innovation, attracting investments, and spurring growth in the industry.

Evolution of Data Centre Space

Currently, there are two of a kind data centre that have been established and have evolved as the leaders in the space. These are Raxio Data Centre and the National Data Centre. Both are fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology utilised for centralising hosting services, disaster recovery services, colocation, data storage, and data centre services.

Recognizing the growing importance of movement, proximity, and storage of data in the digital age, the Uganda Communications Commission  foresaw the related need for robust infrastructure for secure, professionally controlled IT environments to support the escalating demand for high density storage and high-capacity computing/processing capabilities.
The industry regulator facilitated strategic global partnerships with hyperscalers and Content Distribution Networks (like AWS, Google Cloud, Meta, and Microsoft Azure) and public/private IT infrastructure investments. This has seen the development of state-of-the-art data centres, equipped with cutting-edge technologies to ensure reliability, security, and efficiency. This creates a near complete innovation enhancing eco-system in the local IT infrastructure context, that in effect allows the Ugandan IT space to compete globally.

Current state of data centre infrastructure

Today, data centre infrastructure stands as a major pillar of technological advancement in Uganda delivering significant cost and time savings in IT deployment, operations, shorter service/product time to market evolution. The issues that plagued isolated, own use facilities have been solved by these large professionally run open to business, carrier neutral, uptime certified operations.

These facilities serve as the backbone of the country’s digital ecosystem, supporting a wide array of applications and services critical to corporate business, government ministries, departments, agencies, and the critical private sector players ranging from the needs of small software developers to large high process computer farms.
With redundant power systems, stringent security measures, and scalable architecture, these data centres offer unparalleled reliability and performance, enabling organisations to harness the power of data, reliable and responsive IT systems, and dividends of time saved from quick deployment for innovation and growth.

The establishment of large professionally run data centres has catalysed innovation and spurred economic growth as these offer a platform for hosting cloud services, big data analytics, and emerging technologies which has empowered businesses to unlock new opportunities and drive efficiencies.
In addition, the availability of reliable data centre infrastructure has attracted foreign investments and positioned Uganda as a regional hub for technology-driven enterprises, further strengthening the country’s promise and economy.

Looking towards the future

The future role of colocation or Managed Services Data Centre space holds immense promise in compressing the global or regional digital divide.
With the recent commissioning in Uganda of latest technologies like 5G (MTN UG and Airtel), the Internet of Things (IoT) through sensor systems like air quality monitors, artificial intelligence (AI) in the entertainment and creatives sector, cryptocurrency mining, streaming applications like TikTok, WhatsApp, Netflix and Showmax, business collaboration systems like Teams, Skype, Zoom the demand for data velocity (big data), data storage and processing is exponentially growing day on day.

The sector’s evolving needs, including leveraging innovations in infrastructure build design, energy efficiency, and cybersecurity to ensure that Uganda remains at the forefront of the digital revolution and transformation will need to be met.

The transformational evolution of data centre infrastructure and operations in Uganda stands as a shining example of the successes and commitment in the last two decades to government’s support (through the Uganda Communications Commission) to  innovation and excellence in the country.

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