Stakeholders at the second edition of the monthly ‘Breakfast With The CEO’ forum organized by the National Information Technology Reporters Association’s (NITRA), a roundtable initiated to further development in Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology have listed challenges that need to be addressed in the drive towards infrastructure development in Data Center operations in the country.
Speaking on the theme “Data Center Operation In Nigeria: Impacts, Benefits And Challenges In a Knowledge Economy”, the Data Centers operators agreed that the country has improved in data hosting as more Data Centers are being built in the country.
They also agreed that Data Centers are pivotal in developing any country’s economy as it is a storehouse for critical components of any company’s existence.
Director of Operations, Rack Center, Ezekeil Egboye however noted that Nigeria is still ranked very low in macro economy because it has not achieved increased infrastructure and technological readiness. According to him, there is a co-relationship between macro-economic rating and infrastructure readiness, as well as technology readiness. He said Nigeria currently ranks 122 in macroeconomic indices, a reflection of the country’s level of Infrastructure and Technology readiness which stands at 2.0 and 3.0 of 10 respectively.
Egboye further noted that challenges in data center operation is about people, processes and control. According to him, there is a need to acquire people with the right skill set and train competent experts to man the Data Centers, while also ensuring that processes are put in place to have clear documentation and control.
He said that Data Center, Connectivity and Security play a very important role in growing the economy of any country, and with the efforts by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other bodies, Nigeria is moving in the right direction.
In his submission, Chief Executive Officer of Medallion Communications, Ikechukwu Nnamani, observed that Nigeria needs 72 Data Centers across the country, one in each state. He noted that this will not only help in economic improvement, but also in effective connectivity and quality of data services.
Nnamani strongly canvassed for the localization of data, noting that the federal government should put policies in place that will ensure that local data are hosted locally; and improve on infrastructure support policies to drive down cost.
According to him: “Localisation of data is about user experience.” He explained that the quality of data transmitted locally is improved if hosted locally. He also pointed out that there will be a reversal in payment structure as others will be paying to the country for data access, as against the present prevailing position where data is hosted outside the country. “The country will benefit from localization of data because it will mean customized efficient service delivery at lower operating cost. This will also mean national economic growth.”
General Manager, MDXi, Gbenga Adegbiyi, while unfolding his company’s expansion strategy, noted that Nigerians will have to be sensitized on the benefits of localized data hosting. He observed that very many foreign companies are bringing in their data for hosting in Nigerian Data Centers, having also realized that it is cost effective.
“Data domiciliation in the country is very important. We need to let the federal government know this. This will promote security of data, job availability, local content, among other things.”
He noted that about 60 percent of the operating cost of data centers is on power, and there should be focus on regulation and infrastructure.
Facebook, among some other Over-The-Top (OTT) service providers are already hosting their data in Nigeria, and more are expected to join them.
The NITRA monthly ‘Breakfast With The CEO’ forum is organized to draw CEOs and decision makers in every subsector of the industry together to discuss and bring to light issues plaguing the ICT industry in Nigeria, and proffer solutions to challenges hampering growth.