NIGERIA: Why We Need Data Centers (I)
Data centers are simply centralized locations where computing and networking equipment is housed for the purpose of collecting, storing, processing, distributing or allowing access to large amounts of data. These facilities have existed in one form or another since the advent of computers.
There are like nerve centers where critical processes are run.
The infrastructure that businesses depend on is extremely important to the success, the level of expenditure, and the reputation of the organisation. We need to come to the realization that in this present economy we need to be creative, think out of the box, and be innovative to create sustainable businesses that will give a reasonable return on investment. More importantly, risks need to be mitigated and the organisations missions achieved. The major fallout of the devaluation of our currency is that traditional capital expenditure does not give an acceptable return on investment.
A data center that costs N1 – 3 billion when the exchange rate was N150 to $1 would be costing in the region of N5 – 15 billion today. This depends on the size and level of the data center(the level implying whether you are building to a Tier-III or Tier-IV standard data center). Yet many organisations are talking about building their own data centre.
To quote from the Uptime Institute (The global data center authority);
“When you are putting millions of dollars into building a new data center, you want to ensure that the facility is going to provide the level of IT performance and reliability that satisfies your business objective for 24 X 7 availability. At the same time, the project has to balance risk management, energy efficiency, and cost considerations, and ultimately deliver ROI.”
Currently in Nigeria, we have four(4) data centers that are Tier-III certified by design of which only one of them is certified by construction. As it stands, we currently have none Tier-III certified (operations). We need to have more collaborations and strategic partnerships rather than the journey of everyone wanting to own their own.
Our banking industry should be on a Tier-III platform, yet less than 10% of them are on a Tier-III platform. This means, there is a possibility that they will suffer outages and unplanned downtime with an adverse impact on their operations, brand and finance. We need to appreciate that a server room is not a data center. A server room cannot have a Tier-III designation as it does not have the basic components to be a data center. The implications are the risks will be high, the likelihood of disruptions will be higher and the danger and damage to data and equipment will also be high. Permanent data loss is not recoverable and the reputation cost is infinite.
It is very important to note that the more critical your operations, the more important the data center standard you maintain. Any facility that houses servers should be a Tier-III facility at a minimum. Maintaining a lower level compromises your investment. The data is in danger of corruption, intrusion and most importantly, permanent loss. The failure of a data center becomes ‘reputational’ and the brand of the landlord and the tenant organisation is severely impacted.
Unfortunately, because we maintain a very low standard, we do not put ourselves under pressure when this failure occurs. In many other societies, such occurrences lead to resignations, heavy financial loss and reputation damage.
Remi Adejumo is the Chief Technology Officer of Cloudflex.
Cloudflex is an IaaS company that provides private, public and hybrid cloud. They also provide U-level rack space (managed colocation).