Zenith Bank, Nigeria’s biggest bank by market capitalisation, is experiencing a total infrastructure downtime after a fire at the company’s primary data centre. The downtime affects Zenith Bank’s services, leaving millions of customers in the lurch. At one of the bank’s branches, a security official could be heard telling a customer that the network was down. The security official did not provide further information. 

Multiple sources told TechCabal that the downtime began around 7 a.m. this morning. One source confirmed that the incident started after a backup power system caught fire, triggering a power cut to the data centre. According to sources with knowledge of the matter, the bank is now attempting to switch to its disaster recovery infrastructure to get all services up and running. It is standard practice for big organisations to have disaster recovery protocols, but Zenith could not switch to its recovery infrastructure at the time of this report. 

One source told TechCabal that the delay in switching to its disaster recovery is connected to the fact that not all banking service were running in an active-active deployment. It means that the services running active-standby now have to be switched manually. The source told TechCabal that, despite the delays, the bank expects to have its infrastructure up and running before the end of the day. 

TechCabal sent emails to Zenith Bank’s corporate communications department and didn’t get a response at the time of this report. A member of the communications team who spoke to TechCabal on the phone said that she could neither confirm nor deny the incident. The bank has also not shared any information with customers on social media channels or acknowledged that it is experiencing a downtime. 

Today’s incident will bring conversations about moving banking infrastructure to the cloud to the front burner again. While some may argue that it may not wholly solve reliability issues, it could go some way in helping to prevent day-long downtimes when unexpected incidents happen. 

*This is a developing story.

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