Developing a stable infrastructure network in Iran is part of the country’s project for the National Information Network (NIN). Although the government has given more attention to this project in the recent years, there are still many problems facing this sector including not having sufficient high-standard data centers in the country.
Iran’s government has been insisting on building data centers inside the country in order to elevate the privacy of users over the internet and also provide a faster and cheaper way to access local content. Although foreign data centers provide higher quality services with a much cheaper price, local data centers can provide a faster access to content and Iranians don’t have to be in fear of losing their data and access to a service due to sanctions.
Unfortunately, not much of investment has been done in this sector for various reasons. High risk of ROI, lack of access to latest technologies in the long term due to sanctions, and also not receiving a guarantee from the government in case an international player decides to enter the market are only some of the doubts which the investors have.
Last year, Iran launched its first private cloud data center in the country with the help of the government. The construction of this data center which was built by Afranet, took 3 years and 12 million dollars. Afranet’s 2 megawatts data center was built on a 15,000 square meter area which includes server rooms and IT infrastructure equipment with a capacity of 1000 cloud servers and 6 petabyte storage. This data center is currently being used by some of the major e-commerce companies and online platforms in Iran. Last year, Afranet’s servers were shut down for a few hours, which brought downtime to many Iranian startups.
A new report released by Iran IT Organization has been published which discusses the state of Iranian data centers in terms of quality and costs comparing to other countries. The following is an abstract of this report.
Some of the Iranian online businesses are dreading to use these local data centers, but since the market lacks enough competitors these businesses have no other choice. The current major data centers in Iran are owned by Afranet, Pars Online and Asia Tech. The other providers include Tebyan, Ava Barid, Ravand Tazeh, Fanava, Shatel, Host Iran and Jaygah, Sepanta and Neda Rayaneh.
Here are 17 problems with local data centers according to Iran IT Organization:
- Local data centers are not cost efficient due to small size and scale and overhead costs.
- The high cost of data transit due to the outdated model.
- Deficiency in the legal infrastructure which supports databases and privacy.
- Deficiency in the filtering system due to the lack of separation of platform responsibilities from user responsibility.
- Low quality of local services.
- High latency and downtime of overseas communications.
- Lack of an acceptable Service-Level Agreement (SLA) at the level of foreign competitors.
- Lack of sufficient technical know-how in the layers of Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) from the service provider.
- Lack of skilled manpower and the high cost of consulting for small data centers.
- No existing service in the layer of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
- Not being able to use Desktop as a Service (DaaS) due to high costs.
- Lack of a convenient link between connection providers.
- Improper use of data centers due to filtering.
- Lack of national CDNs to provide quality services.
- Numerous bugs in the search engine optimization.
- Bad customer service due to the absence of competitors.
- Lack of access to new hardware with competitive economic prices due to the sanctions.
Data centers are an essential part of the infrastructure needed in the ecosystem to host and deliver online services and products. In order to increase the volume of local content and reduce the costs in the long run, the government has to provide more incentives for private IT companies in order to invest in this sector.