LATE last week, government through its fixed phone operating parastatal commissioned a $4 million Data Centre at the TelOne Exchange centre.
The investment which is a sub-project of the National Broadband (NBB) project under a $98 million China Exim Bank facility is set to transform the lives of most Zimbabweans and business at large according to experts.
Maybe before getting into the detail of how Zimbabwe will benefit from the Data Centre, lets start by defining what a Data Centre is. A Data Centre is a centralised location where large amounts of data are collected, stored, processed, distributed and accessed.
According to TelOne, the Data Centre will create a huge data storage and processing facility to cater for the current and future information and communication technology (ICT) processing needs of enterprise in Zimbabwe and beyond.
The Data Centre allows for Co-location which means it permits enterprises to have their information and communication Technology (ICT) equipment housed by Telone. Co-location has a number of advantages.
A Data Centre has a number of benefits to both businesses and individuals.
Firstly, the server is going to be kept in a secure environment that is prepared for the eventuality of power cuts. A Data Centre will have huge banks of batteries and generators that will keep the electricity flowing indefinitely whilst the power outage is fixed.
Secondly, a Data Centre is secure. It is typically manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week and be physically very difficult to break into. The telone Data Centre is secured with biometric checks in place so no one without the required clearance will have access.
Then there is the issue of connectivity. The Data Centre will have multiple high bandwidth and geographically diverse fibre connections to the internet. When we say geographically diverse we mean from different network providers and physically coming from different directions e.g. one from the North side of the building and one from the South – if a digger breaks one the other is still going to be ok.
This is all well and good but what practical effect will it all have on your business. Well this server could be your email server or it could store all your customer records. It could even be your phone system, or it could be hosting your website.
If this server is kept at your premises and you get a power cut or your broadband goes down your business can grind to a halt. If this is stored at a Data Centre then not only are these faults less likely to happen but if they do happen in your office you can just send everyone home to work and your business will still function because they will be able to access the same services from their home broadband – or even from ZOL spots or telone spots if it comes to the crunch.