After a visit to Rack Centre (a Tier III Data Centre), the Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu “declared” the Nigerian government will put a stop to its data being hosted abroad…once Nigerian data centres attain the required capacity.
According to the Rack Centre MD, the centre’s capacity has increased from 119 racks to 255 racks in the last seven months. A figure which it hopes to increase to 600 racks within the next seven months. Apparently the Minister shares in this hope because he said the government would ensure Ministries, Departments and Agencies locally host their data if local capacity can be met within a year. In the words of the minister, “It is not logical for the Nigerian government or the private sector to keep patronising the foreign facilities once we have the capacity. We will resort to buying outside the shores only if the capacity is not there” (we’ll talk about this later).
This is not the first time the issue of in-house data hosting in Nigeria is coming up. Earlier this year, MainOne called for more companies to host their data locally owing to their confidence in their Tier III carrier neutral data centre, MDX-I. The centre is internationally certified (PCI DSS, ISO 9001 and 27001) and has multiple layers of security with 99.982% (why so precise?) availability.
This is apparently part of the “Buy Nigerian” campaign everyone is jumping on to build the economy. Yes, if we are able to efficiently pull off the local data hosting thing, it’d be a big boost to the nation’s economy (not to mention data security). But the key word here is “efficiently” because Nigerian projects are usually poorly done. Regarding the minister’s comment on the logical aspect of hosting data abroad when Nigeria has the capacity. Well, it’s not really about logic, it’s about peace of mind. I’m sorry, buying Nigerian doesn’t always come with peace of mind so they’d have to give a reason other than “we have the capacity to host your data so you should let us host your data”. It’s good the government plans to lead by example though.