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Essential checklists in choosing a data centre in Nigeria

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Data Centres are at the core of the knowledge economy and information age. Before now, the need for such infrastructure did not exist because the market was not ripe for it.

When you talk about the knowledge economy, you are talking about e-Commerce, social media, mobile applications, e-banking/fintech, and online surfing. In an era where technology has become your life-line, your e-learning information, bank accounts, and loads of personal and business information are hosted on a computer somewhere.

In fact, there is no boundary anymore; everywhere you go there is information. The information needs to flow and be kept somewhere; so, data centres come in within the ecosystem.

Data centres, basically, are structured controlled computer rooms where rack space, cooling, power, networking infrastructure and security are provided for all your equipment in exchange for a monthly rental fee. Data centres are a place where all your information is stored and connectivity is provided to the one or more network.

Accordingly, Cisco’s most recent white paper, “Global Cloud Index” predicted that in two years’ time, the enterprise world, and indeed other sectors will be much more fluent when it comes to cloud services, which will transform the data centre ecosphere.
As part of the cloud data centre portfolio, networks will also go under a deep makeover to cope with an even more, and ever growing, connected world.

For example, Cisco predicts that by 2020, an additional one billion people will be connected to the internet, topping 4.1 billion users.
Interestingly, the Cisco Global Cloud Index forecasts the continued transition of workloads from traditional data centres to cloud data centres. By 2020, 92 per cent of all workloads will be processed in cloud data centres.

Cloud workloads are expected to more than triple (grow 3.2-fold) from now to 2020, whereas traditional data centre workloads are expected to see a global decline, at a negative three per cent CAGR from 2015 to 2020. The number of networked devices and connections is expected to reach 26.3 billion and 82 per cent of all IP traffic are en route to be video.

In other words, enterprises now appreciate the need to outsource data storage to maintain close to 100 per cent uptime in a secured environment.
The Guardian looks at the seven essential checklists before choosing a data centre to host your data:

Power Availability
Epileptic power supply has crippled most businesses. Imagine spending millions of naira on ads to convince potential customers to buy from your online store, and on the verge of clicking to pay you witness downtime; it will cost you extra millions to regain the customer’s confidence. In order to attain 24/7 uptime, you need a data centre that thinks along that line. In Nigeria, Tier III data centres provide robust power availability and have capacities to guarantee 100 percent reliability and uptime of all critical resources. Some data centres in Nigeria have invested into direct grid connections, coupled with multiple power options, which ensure 100% uptime, enabling them pseudo tier 4 status.

Scalability
Every business is modelled for scalability, but not all implement that. Therefore, before you choose that data centre, cross the T’s and dot the I’s. One valid question at this point is: Is this data centre prepared to scale alongside my business or would it become a stumbling block to my growth? Be sure to settle for a data centre that offers different levels of flexibility to meet your changing needs – from additional space to power and even connectivity. Also ensure your data centre has an extensive expansion plan to expand its facilities on request. This is why companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft continue to build new data centres across the world.

Consider the location
There is no gainsaying that aside energy and construction costs and reliability, the risk of man-made disasters take on added importance when considering a location for data centre facility. In other words, the facility location goes a long way to determine how safe the data you are importing will be. One of the major promises of outsourcing your data storage needs is for peace of mind in your business.

Connectivity
Also, it is very important to pitch your tent with a data centre that is carrier-neutral; that way you are not limited to one or a few network carriers. A carrier-neutral facility gives your business access to multiple global carriers. Carrier neutral data centres enable you to have direct connection to the network provider that best suits your business operation. Additionally, a facility with a diverse network or submarine cables can be a one-stop solution, opening up the doors for increased connectivity for a business, as well as delivery of a broader variety of available services from network providers. Globally, companies site data centres very close to submarine cables, or build new cables to assure connectivity to their facilities.

Security standards
Identifying with a data centre with recognition of global standards is a good point to note when making decision. There standards such as the PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security), ISO27001:2013 (Information Security Management System) and ISO 9001:2008 (Quality Management System), Tier III and TIA 942 standards. If you are in the financial and payment sector, obviously you have no business putting your critical information in a data centre without PCI DSS, as such data centres cannot protect consumer security for your clients processing transactions using credit cards.

Cost
Data centre projects have the potential for high construction costs. Understanding those costs in different geographic areas is an important consideration during the site selection process. Telecommunications infrastructure: availability, cost, and redundancy – since telecommunications infrastructure is critical to data centre operations, redundancy of infrastructure and multiple carriers are vital to minimising risk. So, if you are not careful you would fall prey to data centres that would dump the high cost of maintenance and other exigencies on you!

Ownership/pedigree
Are you aware that insurance costs and even the ability to get coverage may be impacted by building a data centre in potential lucrative and growing markets, but which may have a higher risk profile, than a ‘nearby’ data centre network that has viable communications bandwidth into the target market.

In fact, consider the governance behind the data centre project for business continuity and future investments. The advantages are numerous; making wise choices during the recruitment process, investments, interpretation of government policies and leadership prowess to manage the affairs of the company, etc.


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