EghtesadOnline: In line with plans to develop the country’s information and communication technologies infrastructures, ICT Ministry has launched a data center in East Azarbaijan Province in northwest Iran.
During a videoconference in Tehran on Sunday, the data center was inaugurated by ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, who was accompanied by Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the Iranian Parliament speaker, Abolhassan Firouzabadi, the head of Iran's High Council of Cyberspace, and a number of officials from Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran (MCI), Peivast reported.
The data center has been established at a cost of 3.5 trillion rials ($17.2 million) by MCI in a three-story building with a total area of 3,000 square meters.
The data center has 250 racks, with the capacity of 1,500 physical and 16,000 virtual servers. The number of racks could be increased to 350, which will consequently raise the computing and storage capacities of the center.
MCI is determined to add 1,370 more racks to the country’s active data centers by the end of the current Iranian year (March 2021).
Speaking at the inaugural event, Jahromi said the project is aimed at upgrading ICT infrastructures, boosting mobile network connections, developing ICT services in rural areas, promoting local messenger applications and converting conventional schools to smart education centers.
The ICT minister noted that the launch of data center can contribute to the development of digital businesses and tech ecosystem in the province.
“It strengthens the database infrastructure and the capacity of cloud computing capacity in the country,” he added.
Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user. The term is generally used to describe data centers available to many users over the internet.
Providing high-quality cloud computing services is one of the main requirements for bolstering the tech ecosystem, without which the development of digital economy and tech-based services is impossible.
The data center resembles a similar project launched in late May in Tehran. According to the ICT Ministry, the center was built by major mobile operator MTN-Irancell with an investment of 11 trillion rials ($54.3 million).
Reportedly, the center has 407 racks that add a 25% data storage capacity.
Officials say such a project is of crucial importance for Iran’s National Information Network. NIN was initially launched in August 2016 as an alternative independent network with content compatible with Islamic values. It is reportedly designed to facilitate Iranian users’ access to indigenous content.
Thanks to the endeavors made for ICT infrastructural growth, NIN has been developed to serve different sectors, especially the economy.
“Digital services are one of the most potential sectors for promoting growth and creating job opportunities,” Jahromi said earlier.
He added that digital economy accounted for 3.68% of Iran’s GDP in 2013-14, which share increased to 4.11% in 2017-18 and 6.5% in 2019-20.
Underlining the remarkable expansion of NIN, Jahromi said the transmission capacity of the network was 680 gigabytes per second in 2013-14.
“Two years later, the capacity reached 4,000 gigabytes per second and expanded to 18,000 gigabytes per second in 2019-20,” he said.
“The capacity of NIN data centers in terms of active racks has increased from 210 to 1,830 since 2013.”
The connection speed for mobile and cable internet subscribers was 0.218 and 0.256 megabits per second respectively in 2013-14.
The respective speed went up to 2.5 and 4.8 megabits per second in 2017-18 and to 10 and 6.2 in 2019-20.
Shifting focus to internet access in rural areas, Jahromi said data coverage has increased from 0 to 89% since 2013.
In 2018, when the United States reimposed sanctions against Iran, the country faced economic challenges resulting in a total added value of 3.7% in the economy. The ICT sector registered a 31.3% growth rate in the same year.
Noting that all these achievements have been made because of young talents helping develop the technology ecosystem, the ICT minister said, “Information technology is one of the important tools for raising productivity. All the figures indicate that digital economy is a potential alternative for oil-based economy.”
According to Jahromi, the launch of more data centers, extension of data coverage in rural areas, establishment of a local operating system for mobile phones and the further development of communication infrastructures are high on ICT sector’s agenda for the current Iranian year (ending March 2021).