Business Day, June 3, 2014 By Ben Uzor Jr

With the growing number of multi-million dollar data centre projects springing up across Nigeria, Africa largest economy, an industry expert says the country needs to rev up its skills, expertise and techical knowhow especially in the area of assessment to effectively manage these infrastructure.

Data centres gives impetus to the online business community by providing them with innovative services cost-effectively. According to Mehdi Paryavi, president of TechXact, who re-emphasised the need for data centre owners to build competent human capacity to manage their high cost infrastructure, further added that data centre deployment, is indeed a lucrative business, capable of creating wealth and employment opportunities for the nation.

A data centre is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications equipments and storage systems. Speaking with Information Technology (IT) journalists at a data centre seminar held in Lagos, weekend, and organised by the United States (US) based company, in strategic partnership with GlobalInfoSwift, an indigenous Information and Communications Technology company, Paryavi pointed out that data centres had a very important role to play in Nigeria’s quest to become a leading economy by the year 2020.

“Education and assessment are critical to managing data centres. You need to assess the entire infrastructure.

You also need to education to make sense of the reports and information gathered. With education and assessment, you reduce those risks and vulnerabilities on the site”, he further added. The Ministry of Communication Technology has estimated that approximately 300 data centres will be required in the coming years, to support the rollout of efficient internet services and software applications.

“If Nigeria intends to become the information hub in Africa, it will need to invest more in data centre infrastructure.

It brings safety and security to critical online data. It elevates the standard of living in the economy. It creates a lot of job opportunities”, Paryavi explained. A world class data warehouse is estimated to cost between $20 million and $30 million. BusinessDay gathered that a large data centre might have from 100 to as many as 300 on-site employees. He advised prospective data centre owners not to fall into the trap of purchasing expensive equipments for the deployment of data centres. Speaking in the same vein, Solomon Edun, chief executive officer/managing director at GlobalInfoSwift, said, “We are advocating that you should know your needs and design your data centre accordingly. “Data centre owners should begin to criticise vendors who look for every avenue to meet their sales target. Nigerians should look out for cost effective equipments that meet their business needs”, he noted.

According to Edun, most vendors do not design data centres based on the needs of their customers. He said a data centre is the heartbeat of every organisation, adding that downtime could have negative impact on the long term growth and sustainability of any business.

To reduce downtime, he urged data centre owners to build these infrastructure with appropriate allocation and budget to allow for no compromise in meeting available requirements. Paryavi, however stressed the need for data centres to be audited. “It involves an extensive and rigorous process to access compliance to the requirements of the standards.” Taking a look into the future, the TechXact boss said next generation data centres will address industry specific needs, adding that it will also be cloud based. The seminar was however targeted at anyone financing, designing, planning, managing, investing, making decision or involved in any way with data centres.

The event helped stakeholders in Nigeria’s emerging data centre market understand the complexities involved in data centre build and management. It provided insight into the best practices, the international norms, past, present and future of data centre and data management systems, latest trends, methodologies, technologies and approach.

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