When you log on to your computers and snap off emails to share info and pictures to your friends, family and business partners – do you ever stop and think about where this data travels and where it lives? Does it just live on your computer’s hard drive or phones small sd card? The answer can be yes and no.
Sure, our computers and phones have local storage for use to save documents and photos, but the amount of data that we end up creating and sharing is far too voluminous to keep on our drives. So where does this info go? I am sure you have heard of the “cloud” the illusionary place high in the sky that holds billions of bytes of data and information from all parts of the globe, but do you really know where the cloud is?
Data centres are large facilities that are located throughout the world that serve as storage centers for the world wide webs info and data. They are essentially large rooms of servers or computers that hold and “serve” data to computers on a shared network or the internet. These centres are the cloud.
Nigeria has only 5 data centers. But with the recent announcement that Rack Center will be expanding its Lagos campus, this was interesting news. It is set to expand to over 6,000 sqm (64,000 sq ft) in order to accomodate 13MW of internet power capacity. This will be funded by $250m from a Pan-African data center platform established by Actis and Convergence Partners, an infrastructure investor in Africa.
DOES NIGERIA NEED MORE DATA CENTRES?
Data centres are major energy hogs. They are typically set up in areas off the beaten path where real estate prices are not as high. In Nigeria, the dilemma is that they consume so much electricity and they can never go off line, and must have comprehensive generator back up systems in place to ensure 100% “uptime.” Nigeria should look to build more centres, but the argument against them is that there are many other pressing needs for our people, other than these facilities.
Why not invest money to improve our electric grid and provide power and water to the masses? Why not first improve our road networks? Why not put money into education, training and security for our citizens? Surely these needs are more pressing and important.
I argue that we must do both. We should be able to chew gum and walk at they same time, right?
Aren’t we the Giant of Africa?
If we want to compete on the global playing field – we must do all of these things mentioned. Africa is the last frontier for the internet expansion and penetration – we should do whatever we can to control and profit from this technology wave.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts.