You are not alone. With the most recent spate of load shedding ravaging our country, many businesses in South Africa find themselves at the mercy of harmful, smoke-emitting, diesel-powered generators. These generators, though once a reasonably efficient method of offsetting the effects of load shedding, are now considered costly, intrusive, and ineffective. The utter damage that can be caused to the electrical and IT infrastructure of your business by these unpredictable power surges and their effects are a major concern for organisations.
Of course, organisations also have the alternative to employ costly backup batteries to help quell the side effects of load-shedding. Though these have also been effective for many companies until now, the sheer rate of load shedding recurrence due to the most recent Eskom crisis has left major South African companies in the lurch. MTN is one of the latest companies to have suffered such a fate at its Gallo Manor data centre in July 2022, with its Twitter page reporting, “The majority of MTN’s sites have back-up power but the frequency & severity of outages means those batteries are unable to sufficiently recharge.” In further response to this cooling failure, MTN’s Technology and Information Officer, Michele Gamberini, expressed: “Despite us having placed thousands of batteries at our sites across the country, the efficacy of those batteries greatly reduces once we pass stage 4 load shedding” (DatacenterDynamics).
In-house data centres and the infrastructure they house are reliant on a constant supply of power for business continuity. The cooling systems within these server rooms are employed to regulate server temperatures to protect their efficacy. This is but one reason why potential power surges brought on by load shedding can have a devastating effect on servers and consequentially, a company’s data security, and reputation. A data centre configuration in which servers are running on UPS with an ineffective cooling system would be catastrophic for any organisation and its data security.
In addition to implementing sufficient temperature control with the correct cooling systems, organisations with on-premises data centres must also take other costly steps to ensure that best practices are followed in order to create the perfect environment for their local servers. These include:
- Sufficient ventilation and the use of dedicated server racks if your server room is so small that servers must be stacked.
- Balanced moisture levels to ensure that your servers are not overrun by humidity but also, that the environment is not so dry as to cause harmful electrostatic discharge.
- Regular testing of your power backup systems to ensure that everything is in working order in case of power outages.
- Insurance to protect the company in case of a major disaster resulting in potential data loss.
Unfortunately, it often takes a major disaster to convince a company to change the way it manages its data. Most would agree, though, that it would be preferable to put measures in place to circumvent a crisis of this nature. As part of their load shedding mitigation plan, many companies are migrating to the cloud. These companies are enjoying many benefits because they no longer need server rooms, backup power to keep their servers running efficiently, or the insurance costs required to cover these servers in case of loss or damage. Benefits that, per Evgeniy Altynpara (Forbes Technology Council), include the following:
- Cost Savings (e.g., They started in 2020 and once their cloud migration is complete, and their old infrastructure fully retired, Emirates is looking at a potential saving of $1 million annually).
- Scalability (e.g., Payment platform, Yedpay, reduced costs by 40% when they moved over to the cloud after a datacenter failure. They nullified the need for substantial IT investments and people for the physical maintenance of infrastructure).
- Security (Trustworthy cloud providers regularly update their systems according to industry best practices to maintain security. According to this standard, Gartner predicts that through 2025, 99% of cloud failures will be the client’s fault).
- Reliability (e.g., Under Armour’s Connected Fitness platform allayed and resolved reliability concerns when they moved to the cloud, removing the need for two data centres, one of which would oft affect the other with power outages).
- Fast implementation (e.g., One of the largest banks in the U.S, Capital One, decreased development environment build time from a few months to a few minutes after their cloud migration).
- Decreased carbon footprint (The possibilities in this regard are endless. Accenture has estimated that cloud migration can decrease CO2 emissions by 59 million tonnes annually – this is equivalent to the gas emissions from 22 million cars. A great example is Microsoft, who is carbon neutral and has been since 2012, with a goal to become carbon negative by 2030. This means Microsoft will extract more CO2 than it produces).
If you, too, would like to enjoy these benefits and many more (while demonstrating to the corporate social responsibility executive at the boardroom table how to better control the company’s impact on the planet) then migrating to the cloud simply makes sense. If you would like more information, please click here.