The newly-opened multi-million dollar 600-rack National Data Centre, managed by the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), can help spur the country’s economic growth, according to Dr. Edward Omane-Boamah, Minister of Communications.
“Considering the fact that the nature of our economy is transforming and increasingly digitising every aspect of our national life, it is very clear that we need a robust system that can assure government, business and, most importantly, the citizenry that data can be safely stored,” he said.
The World Bank has estimated that for every 10 percent rise in bandwidth for a country, an expected average point of 1 percent in GDP growth is likely to be recorded.
This, according to Dr. Omane-Boamah, shows that launching the data centre marks a beginning of greater things to come in the ICT and telecommunication sector of Ghana. “Data is the currency of the 21st century.”
The National Data Centre is an ultra-modern Tier-III Design data centre that comes with a 24/7 video monitoring system, redundant power, secure access features (biometric + card system), policies and process, over 160 racks installed (Capacity for 600 racks) and quality service and affordable prices.
The services available include a rack co-location, virtual private servers, off-side back-up and managed support/services; and in the future will have dedicated servers and storage in the cloud.
Dr. Omane-Boamah assured that the data centre’s location makes it very safe, because it is designated as a national security zone by the National Security Agency; thus he expects businesses, individuals and government to start storing their data with the National Data Centre.
“I am seeing the banks, Telcos, mining firms and the public sector gravitating toward the national data centre, and I am seeing a lot of competition over the 600 racks -- and NITA is taking the necessary steps to increase the racks even from what we have now.”
He added that government is very confident with the investment made to establish the centre, which includes security, institutional arrangement and revamping the architecture of NITA and empowering the Data Protection Commission through the Data Protection Act, to help protect the data stored at the centre.
“We are working to enhance the digital economy that has come to stay. We are confident that the transformational agenda of the president will continue to be driven significantly by ICT and telecommunications,” he added.
Prof. Nii Narku Quaynor, Board Chairman of NITA, has stated that opening the National Data Centre is extremely important because Ghana has never really had a data centre of this scale and quality.
He added that due to unavailability of a data centre, it became cheaper to host websites and store data outside the country, which has its own challenges like capital flight.
“I see this particular intervention as an extremely important boost in information technology for the country. With thousands of websites that are hosted outside, should all these websites be brought back into the country it will be a good thing,” he said.
Prof. Quaynor added that the data centre’s plan is to make it cheaper and more attractive for SMEs to host their websites and store their data there; and for large enterprises the hope is to see them co-locate their data there, where they can exchange traffic instead of traffic going to the US or UK before coming back here.
“It will not only save money, but also create new capacities and skill sets; and besides, it gives you new cloud. Here we can be a cloud provider, and if you have active exchange points you will see other multinationals want to co-locate their services here,” he added.
Archur Zou, Director for Enterprise Business at Huawei Technologies -- a partner of the Communications Ministry from the onset of the e-government project -- assured and pledged its continuous support to this project as it goes commercial.
“The National Data Centre is of world-class standard, and our team of expertise is ever-ready to work with all clientele who may require the services of this all-important data centre.
“It will also interest you to know that we have deployed similar solutions in several other countries around the globe; therefore, you can trust our expertise and be assured that with Huawei you get nothing but the best,” he added.
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