Of Cloud Technology and Big Data Hosting

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The recent partnership between Garanntor, a cloud hosting company, and RackCentre, a Tier 111 collocation data hosting company in Nigeria, will no doubt boost investors’ confidence and also address the fears of hosting big data in the cloud, writes Emma Okonji

Despite the global trend of hosting big and small data in the cloud, which gives room for huge reduction in the cost of doing businesses, increase in market shares and also help organisations to remain relevant in their various lines of businesses, adoption rate of cloud technology in Nigeria is still low.

Although organisations that handle big data operations have pointed out insecurity around cloud computing, as reason for not investing in cloud technology, the recent collaboration between Garanntor, an Infrastructure-as-a- Service company that is into cloud hosting, and RackCentre, a Tier 111 collocation data hosting company, operating in Nigeria, will go a long way in addressing organisation’s fears about hosting their big data in the cloud, where they believed that their competitors could have access to their data to launch attack at them.

Since the global introduction of cloud technology, developed countries of the world have taken advantage of the technology to host their data in the cloud, but most developing countries are still afraid of hosting the entire data of their organisations in the cloud for fear of security breaches and online attacks on critical data of organisations sitting in the cloud.

Cloud technology has however showed that the best place to store data is in the cloud and Tier 111 data Centre operators in Nigeria are beginning to collaborate with cloud companies to provide cloud services to their clients, in addition to hosting of organisation’s data.
RackCentre took such advantage, when it announced its partnership deal with Garanntor recently, to provide cloud services for its growing customers, who are mainly enterprise organisations that control big data that are critical or business.

Driving cloud adoption

Following the recent partnership agreement, Garanntor, a 100 per cent Nigerian company that works with some foreign technology vendors, said it will promote fast adoption of cloud technology among indigenous companies in Nigeria.

The Chief Executive Officer of Garanntor, Mr. Olalekan Ajayi, told THISDAY that the focus of Garanntor is to promote the adoption of cloud technology among organisations in Nigeria, to enable them take advantage of cloud computing, which he said, would increase work efficiency and productivity.

According to him, Garanntor.ng is an Infrastructure-as-a- Service and cloud hosting company where customers can provision and customise Virtual Servers, Cloud Servers, Web Hosting, Email Hosting, Domain Hosting in real time from its website at affordable price.
“All our infrastructure are managed locally in Lagos, Nigeria and resident in the same datacenter as the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN). This gives customers a wealth of advantages for instance speed and performance advantages for businesses. Website owners should know that a locally hosted website loads approximately three times faster than hosting the website abroad, because the site visitors are physically closer to the website data center. Customers save time and data because they are able to load the website at a faster pace in their browsers.
Speaking on its growing customer base in less than four months of entering into the Nigerian market, Ajayi said the quality of its products and services is at par with global best practice, and that with the current forex challenges, businesses are searching for a local company that can offer the same quality of services as they get abroad, that is reliable and not compromising on quality.

Adoption rate of cloud technology

Addressing the issue of low adoption rate of cloud technology in Nigeria, Ajayi said: “We believe that as the awareness of our services grow, more businesses would switch to cloud. Cloud adoption hosted here in Nigeria is set to increase significantly, now that Garanntor offers capability that is as good as global brands here in Nigeria, there would be significant up take from corporates and small businesses.”

According to him, the datacentre has world class standard security, it is completely secure, there would be no security issues. As the brand grows, businesses would realise that we do not compromise in any area of our services especially security and this would build their trust in Garanntor.

Government’s role in cloud adoption

Speaking on the role of government in driving adoption of cloud solution in Nigeria, Ajayi said government must first mandate that government data of ministries, departments and agencies held outside the country should be hosted in Nigeria. Then, enable the uptake of cloud and shared services through all tiers of the government to deliver quality services such as reliable mail. Officials should not have to resort to foreign mail addressed for reliable email services.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, had in the past, stressed the need for organisations, including government agencies to drive data traffic in Nigeria by hosting all data in the country. He said the move would save organisations and government agencies, huge cost of hosting data abroad, especially at a time that dollar has become expensive and scarce.

Cloud as disruptive technology

Although many organisations see cloud technology as a distributive technology in the 21st century, technology experts have said such disruption is what developed economies are catching up on to develop their economies and that Nigeria cannot be left out in the current technology revolution across the globe, driven by cloud technology.
For Garanntor, cloud technology is disruptive in a positive way. Cloud technology has the potential to transform uptake of technology industry in the country. We have millions of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that would have access to affordable technology locally where they can pay as they go, and scale as they grow. The efficiency of SMEs will drive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution through Information and Communication Technology (ICT). With respect to larger enterprises, cloud services that are delivered locally and data hosted locally, will bring better agility, functionality and quicker time to market, technology experts said.

Cloud on Ground

Describing the new technology called ‘Cloud on Ground’, the Managing Director of Rack Centre, Mr. Tunde Coker said the term ‘Cloud on Ground’ is to bring cloud services closer to the people and make cloud easily accessible by both small and big organisations that operate critical data.
Ajayi however said that Garanntor was pleased to be part of this ground breaking service and channel to the market, as it relates to cloud technology and the partnership between both companies. ‘Cloud on Ground’ will be providing a comprehensive and heterogenous marketplace for cloud services in Nigeria with capability being exported to other African countries to patronise local Nigeria cloud services, Ajayi said, adding that “cloud servers mean virtual servers which run on cloud computing environment. While it is true that every cloud server can be called a virtual dedicated server, the opposite is not always true. This is because a virtual dedicated server can be placed only on a single hardware server and thus suffer from a single point of failure when any of its hardware fails. Cloud servers run as software-independent units. This means that a cloud server has all the software it requires to run and does not depend on any centrally-installed software.”

Cloud benefits
Listing the benefits of cloud technology, Ajayi said it brings about freedom to modify all the server software to organisation’s needs, which includes the operating system kernel, which is not always the case with other virtualisation solutions such as private virtual servers.
Stability and security because a software problem is isolated from and to your environment. Others’ cloud servers can’t harm you and you can’t harm others. Also, if other users overload their cloud servers this will have no impact because resources are dedicated and stability is guaranteed. In addition to that, cloud servers don’t suffer from hardware problems.

Cloud servers probably hold the best stability and cost ratio performance. They do not suffer from the usual server hardware problems and they have all cloud computing benefits, since they are stable, fast and secure.
On the other hand, Ajayi said cloud servers are economically more efficient than the standard dedicated servers. “For a similar price, with cloud servers you will receive more resources and your server will be faster. In web hosting terms, your site will run faster on a cloud server if you compare it to a traditional server with similar price. In this regard we should also mention that cloud servers scale very well. It is very easy and fast to add upgrades to a cloud server just as it is more affordable,” Ajayi said.

Garanntor’ technical strength in cloud services

Garanntor runs on custom built servers for cloud computing, all resident locally at Rack Center, offering 24×7 support to customers via its call centre, via email or online chat. Its team, according to Ajayi, comprised of industry experts with a wealth of industry experience from infrastructure design, hosting, cloud computing, software development and technical support. Garanntor is a 100 per cent Nigerian company but works with some foreign technology vendors who provide some of its core infrastructure.