The infrastructure that Nigerian businesses depend on is extremely important to the success, level of expenditure and reputation of the organization.
We need to come to the realization that this present economy calls for creativity, thinking out of the box and being innovative to create a sustainable business critical infrastructure that will give a reasonable return on investment. More importantly, risks need to be mitigated and the organization’s mission 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 cost ₦1-3 bn when the exchange rate was ₦150 to $1 would cost in the region of ₦5-15bn today, depending on the size and the tier standard of the facility.
And yet many organizations are talking about building their own data centers. 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 organization is severely impacted.
Unfortunately, because we maintain a very low standard, we do not put ourselves under pressure when this failure occurs. Even our largest organizations could have a severe outage and there would be no consequences or repercussions. In many other societies such occurrences lead to resignations, heavy financial loss and reputational damage.
To quote from the Uptime Institute: “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 24x7 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 data centers that are Tier III certified by design and only one data center certified by construction. We currently have no data center that is certified Tier III by operations. We need to have more collaborations and strategic partnerships rather than a journey of everyone wanting to own their own.
Our banking industry should be on a Tier III platform, yet less than 10 percent of banks are on a Tier III platform. This means, it is a given that they will suffer outages and unplanned downtime with an adverse impact on their operations, brand and finances.
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 high and the danger and damage to data and equipment will be also high and many instances irreparable. Permanent data loss is not recoverable and the reputational cost are infinite.
Aderemi Adejumo is CTO at Lagos-based IaaS company Comercio
A version of this opinion originally appeared on Techpoint.ng and was republished with permission