CHANCES of computers going off-line during the 2010 World Cup are virtually zero, says Telkom, which opened a state-of-the-art data centre in Bellville, Cape Town, yesterday.

Telkom will be in the spotlight during next year's World Cup, with Fifa and thousands of businesses and media agencies relying on the company to provide reliable internet connectivity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Any downtime could be potentially disastrous for the 2010 World Cup and South Africa's image.

While Telkom already has had some practice run, having successfully hosted Fifa's servers in their Centurion data centres during the Confederations Cup earlier this year, the designers of the R350million data centre, dubbed the Cyber Nest, are not taking any chances.

A guided tour of the Cyber Nest yesterday showed that the facility is connected to electricity supplies from two different Eskom substations. This will ensure that power problems don't affect South Africa's ability to be online all the time. The Cyber Nest also has 72 hours worth of diesel in its basement, which can be used to power generators in the worst case scenario.

The Cyber Nest has four uninterruptible power supply generators, but only needs two to keep the data centre running during a power cut.

The Cyber Nest is also the first green, energy efficient data centre in the country, placing it in the top 10percent in the world, said Telkom's chief executive Reuben September.

With the massive servers needing to be kept constantly cool, data centres are normally high electricity users.

But instead of keeping the air conditioning on 24 hours a day, all year round, the Cyber Nest was designed so that when the temperature outside drops below 24 degrees Celsius, the air conditioners automatically shut down. At that point, the air is brought into the building to keep the servers cool.

"We've created a very stable environment that can sustain the infrastructure no matter what happens," said Telkom's Pierre Marais.