So I finally got to visit the Rack Center datacenter in Lagos, Nigeria this year and below are my views on the facility. This is not intended to be a detailed step by step review of their facility (their website already has a lot of information about their facility) This is basically my fair opinion on what I saw during a tour of their facility in my own words.
In my opinion, this datacenter is the best in Nigeria. I remember visiting the MTN datacenter in Ojota, a few years back and how impressed I was with their facility, this datacenter set a new standard for me and made the MTN datacenter look like a server room (ok, I exaggerate :-), MTN does have a solid offering as well) but honestly what these guys at Rack Center have put together is nothing short of spectacular. At a point it was extremely hard to believe I was still in Nigeria. This is a world-class facility by all standards using only the very best solutions available. These guys have spared no cost to build this really magnificent datacenter.
The datacenter is located within a private estate and I had to drive through 2 manned gates to get to their car park before having to walk through another security gate where a rooster showed I was expected. There were a number of security persons smartly dressed guarding the facility. They actually have 8 different levels of security before you can enter the datacenter itself, I counted every single one and yes, they do have all the 8 levels of security they mention in their communication.
Honestly upon entry I wasn’t too impressed, as what I saw looked like something that was work in progress, I was later informed by the team who took me through the whole tour that they had plans to scale as their needs grew and what I saw was space meant for the expansion. The space meant for the expansion is the first thing you see when you work in but it is totally separated from the datacenter itself.
The office spaces are totally separated from the datacenter as well with several more smartly dressed guards parading the environs. Two massive diesel generators power the facility, I was made to understand they relied 100% on diesel generators and never use “NEPA”( Who blames them?). Can’t remember the size of the generators but I remember they were two of the biggest generators I have ever seen.
Everything in this datacenter is state of the art. Their cooling system allows them to achieve a power utilisation efficiency (PUE) of only 1.5 which I also understand makes them one of the most power efficient datacenters in West Africa. They adopt the hot air – cold air cooling system which if properly implemented is extremely efficient and that works great for them, hot air and cold air are perfectly separated.
I spent about 2 hours taking a look at everything they had to offer, everything. Everything they say they have on their website is all there.
Because they are a carrier neutral facility, everyone is here. Broadbased, MainOne, MTN, Vodacom, Globacom are all here directly, so if you decided to colocate your servers here, you won’t have any problem getting online, in fact you could easily get multiple redundancies because you have all the major providers with fiber connection in the same building with you.
Everything in the datacenter is automated and the system practically runs itself, regulating temperature as needed.
Rack Center is a modular datacenter which is currently at Phase one of it’s growth stage, they currently have about 119 racks with a total power consumption of about 375KW. Upon completion of the entire project, they will grow to about 6,000 sqm of space.
I can’t tell you everything about this datacenter in Lagos but I can tell you it’s the best I have ever visited, everything they “claim” to have on their website, they actually do have.
So far nothing comes close to this in Nigeria ( I hear Mainone has now launched their datacenter as well , can’t wait to pay them a visit and see things for myself)
So that’s it from me on Rack Center, I hope you find this review useful. Special thanks to everyone at Rack Center who made the tour possible.