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 realisation that in 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 organisations 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 centre that cost ₦1 – 3 bn when the exchange rate was ₦150 to $1 would cost in the region of ₦5 – 15bn today. This depends on the size and the level of the data centre. The level implying whether you are building to a Tier 3 or Tier 4 standard data centre.
Yet many organisations are talking about building their own data centres. It is very important to note that the more critical your operations, the more important the data centre standard you maintain. Any facility that houses servers should be a Tier 3 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 centre 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. Even our largest organisations 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 centre, 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 data centres that are Tier 3 certified by design and only one data centre certified by construction. We currently have no data centre that is certified Tier 3 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 3 platform yet, less than 10% of banks are on a Tier 3 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 centre. A server room cannot have a Tier 3 designation as it does not have the basic components to be a data centre. 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.