By Prince Osuagwu
Collocation and shared in-frastructure are practices which have found it difficult to penetrate freely in the Nigerian ICT market. While many companies are sharing infrastructure, a whole lot believe in slugging it out with each other in amassing infrastructure which ordinarily they should have shared from somewhere.
While some industry stakeholders call for legislation to compel Organisations to collocate, Chief Executive Officer of Rack Centre, Mr Tunde Coker in this interview, said what is necessarily required is more awareness.
You’ve been in business for sometime now, how has the Nigerian market responded to data centre services?
It is changing and we talk about the addressable market. Our analysis shows that there is a significant addressable market in Nigeria. However, we will have to unlock that market a bit like it happened in telecoms market over the last 10 years. We have been doing a lot of work in that regard.
It is also credit to the media which is actually devoting space for some of us to articulate presentation of the changes in the marketplace right now for connectivity and shared collocation services.
Businesses have to thrive through technology. Banks, telcos and oil and gas firms need to have highly reliable technology to support their systems. Energy companies coming in after the privatisation need to put in technology very quickly to efficiently run and thrive. They all need data centres. If the data centre is down, your business is in jeopardy. You have to invest in core infrastructure – networks and data centre.
Recently you partnered with the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) and Vodacom Business? What benefits can consumers derive from this partnership?
We are carrier neutral, we are not tied to any particular network carrier. It is a unique positioning for us. We are integrated into the IXPN, which means therefore that for online traffic, the inter-change is pretty much instantenous. There is no latency in a high-quality, high-reliabilty environment that we have here. We are delighted to have this partnership and I think it is indeed transformstional for the economy.
No advanced economy exists successfully without fundamental technology infrastructure. Broadband, collocation and fixed internet facilities. are fundamental and having an exchange point here actually raises the game in moving Nigeria foward as far as international core infrastructure capability is concerned. class, highly reputable, Pan-African companies.
But Rack Centre seems to focus more on the large corporates and multinationals. Are there services tailored towards survival of the SMEs?
We don’t turn back attention from Small and Medium scale Enterprises. Some of the things we do with our reseller partners are particularly targeted at SMEs. We provide opportunities for SMEs to have base technologies that are the same standard. We package out the solutions specifically for the SMEs. Do you know what would transform SMEs in this country? Cloud computing.
Almost all the telecommunications operators in Nigeria are building their own data centres, how do you intend to still retain your market share?
We are carrier neutral – so that’s a plus. Telecoms companies, with their own data centre are also our partners. We have MTN, MainOne, Globacom, Vodacom Business, and so on. These are the networks our clients use. When a customer comes in here, basically they have a choice of carriers.
They can have their primary, backup and they can switch to any network. That’s the value proposition we give to corporates. Our value proposition to partners in the telco space, as we build out the range of customers we have, it also opens up the opportunity for them to have their network to be fully utilised. So, it is a symbiotic relationship. Competition is not a bad thing. We need to increase the capacity in the economy.
For businesses in Nigeria, is outsourcing the way to go?
I would rather say rightsourcing is the way to go. The world has moved on. The old days when big multinationals actually build their own network has changed.
Do you think regulation is needed to compel businesses to collocate?
I think businesses would have to come to terms with it. It is a straight-forward business issue. It is a matter of available capital, time to market, skills and competencies. We do not need legislation, what we need is more awareness.