Nigeria‘s MainOne this week opened what it describes as the largest commercial, vendor-neutral data center in West Africa, the Tier III Lekki Data Centre, to address the growing demand for co-location, cloud and disaster recovery services for enterprises and governments in the region.
The 7 billion naira investment has a capacity for 600 racks, is designed to ITU 942 Standards and will be managed under a new subsidiary, MDX-I.
MainOne CEO Funke Opeke said in a YouTube message that the company built the data center to provide critical infrastructure for businesses and institutions across West Africa that are increasingly participating in the digital economy.
“We have provided the business model and expensive hardware and software solutions required to fully participate so they do not have to devote their hard-earned capital to building equivalent infrastructure but they can simply focus on solutions that drive their businesses,” said Opeke, a former executive at U.S. telecom giant Verizon.
The center’s tech specifications were designed by the Uptime Institute, according to MainOne’s head of capital projects, Gbenga Adegbiji. “It is an objective way of measuring the functionality and reliability of data infrastructure,” he said. “Now, we are building to Tier III classification and what that means is that for every sub-system or every system that you have, you actually have a back-up for that system which is real-time online.”
The center has access to the MainOne and other submarine cables for direct international connectivity and direct access via MainOne’s IP network to leading internet exchanges and major content providers worldwide.
“The availability of data centres is critical at this point in time because Africa, indeed Nigeria, is increasingly doing business online,” Opeke said. You look around us, you see everything from electronic payment, e-commerce, businesses that are engaging in and transacting with their partners online, educational institutions that are connecting with students online, government agencies that are serving the populace online.”
Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson, said the launch of MDX-I data center is a notable accomplishment that complements initiatives required to further drive the realization of the country’s broadband plan.
“Availability of world class data centers in Nigeria is critical infrastructure required for the implementation of our broadband initiatives,” Johnson said in a press release. “The accomplishment by MainOne is indeed significant as it provides an outsourcing and cost effective model to further drive ICT adoption.”
Dr Johnson reiterated that ‘’Today a disproportionate amount of the data generated by our increasingly technology-dependent economy is stored outside of this country denying the local providers of data storage and business applications recovery service offerings of revenues and opportunities to scale up their service offerings. Too many of the websites that are visited daily and almost solely by Nigerians are hosted offshore. Even when we do make use of locally hosted websites; the critical switching of our Internet traffic is done by Internet exchanges outside of the country. This adds to the cost and response time when local users access these websites. It is therefore with great excitement that I am here today to witness the commissioning of Main One’s Tier III data centre. This data centre, representing an investment of $ 40 Million, is the largest of its kind in West Africa at 1,500 square meters and a 600-rack capacity. This data center also represents a significant addition of professionally designed, delivered and managed data hosting capacity that will improve the Internet services available to companies in Nigeria and the sub region.’’
Launched in 2010, MainOne is known for its all-African financed US$240 million submarine cable system that runs from Portugal to West Africa through Ghana to Nigeria and branches out in Morocco, Canary Islands, Senegal, and Ivory Coast.