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Countries like Nigeria are changing the face of African colocation data centre services. It recently produced a state-of-the-art facility in Lagos, unveiled earlier this year, that promises to be the most well-connected data centre in West Africa.
Named “Lekki” and managed under the banner of MDX-i as a subsidiary of MainOne, a leading provider of telecom services in West Africa, the Tier III certified facility boasts a 3500 square metre capacity of 600 racks, multiple redundant power supplies, advanced on-site security, and high-tech cooling and fire protection systems. Connectivity is provided by MaineOne’s 1.92 Tbps international subsea cables hooked in to a world-class IP NGN network and extensive terrestrial fibre networks.
Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke said, “We are delighted to launch West Africa’s largest and best-connected data centre. This reaffirms our capabilities in meeting the needs of business for reliable connectivity and data centre services in a dynamic and fast-paced global economy.”
The data centre also satisfies Telecommunications Industry Association 942 standards and claims to comply with PCI-DSS and ISO 27001 standards.
Because the western-African region has previously been under-supported when it comes to accessing the major network operators and internet service providers, the MDX-i facility is a breath of fresh air for the region’s development prospects.
The Nigerian government is particularly pleased. The minister of communications technology, Dr Omobola Johnson, said, “Availability of world-class data centres in Nigeria is critical infrastructure required for the implementation of our Broadband initiatives. The accomplishment by MainOne is indeed significant as it provides an outsourcing and cost-effective model to further drive ICT adoption.”
The MDX-i facility is reported to be aimed at a wide range of customers, from local SMBs to global oil and gas companies. Opeke also mentioned to the daily Nigerian newspaper, ThisDay, that due to MainOne’s reputation, businesses feel comfortable using their connectivity services. He also added, “…businesses can adopt more cost-effective models of consuming technology to allow increased focus of valuable company resources to drive business development and growth.”
Since the data centre is able to provide colocation, cloud, and disaster recovery services, it’s well-positioned to collaborate with other providers. Biztech Africa reported in July that Microsoft will be partnering with MainOne to expand its cloud-based service offering. MDX-i’s business development executive, Rob Lever, said, “Businesses are beginning to embrace Cloud services because it promises increased agility in addition to savings in OPEX and CAPEX. Our IaaS platform reduces complexity, interoperability, and security concerns of our customers. It provides them the benefit of leveraging our infrastructure, and the expertise of MDX-i and Microsoft, without their having to incur the substantial costs associated with deploying such solutions.”
Unfortunately it seems that Africa is plagued by slow development. MainOne has over 7000km of subsea cabling providing 314GBs worth of bandwidth. The Guardian reported that only 5% of this capacity is currently being leveraged effectively and that Nigeria only has a total broadband penetration of 10% – compared to other African countries like Ghana with a 30% penetration. With the necessary resources becoming more and more accessible, it’s clear that further investment in infrastructure like the MDX-i data centre will go a long way in harvesting the enormous potential lying fallow on this vast and beautiful continent.