Infinera helps BroadBand Tower expand data center connectivity across Tokyo

US IP technology company Infinera has helped Japanese data center and cloud services provider BroadBand Tower deploy a modular platform to expand connectivity between its data centers across Tokyo.

Infinera’s GX Series Compact Modular Platform was used to enable BroadBand Tower to meet increasing customer demand for cloud-based services connectivity in Japan and enhance service performance in the era of 5G.

“Infinera’s GX solution has become a leading solution for data center interconnect around the world, and it continues to gain momentum as operators like BroadBand Tower look for ways to meet the increasing demands of their customers,” said Nick Walden, the Senior Vice President for Sales at Infinera.

With the growth of cloud computing in the country and digital transformation being a strategic government priority, Infinera believed delivering secure and scalable data center and cloud services in Tokyo was critical to BroadBand Tower’s customer success.

“Infinera’s GX solution is a leading optical transport solution, outperforming other solutions on the market for data center interconnect to deliver the high capacity, security, and reliability needed for data centers, making it the ideal solution for our expansion,” noted Hiroki Kabasawa, Member of the Board and Operating Officer for Cloud & Storage Engineering at BroadBand Tower.

Infinera worked closely with its local partner UNIADEX to help BroadBand Tower strive to provide the highest capacity, reliability, and network security available, as well as uninterrupted service during their transition to 5G.

Twitter moves to public cloud for the first time with AWS

Twitter is set to fly up to the clouds after selecting AWS to provide their infrastructure to deliver Twitter timelines in a multi-year deal.


The social media giant will work with AWS to create architecture that extends Twitter’s on-premises infrastructure to enable them to seamlessly run and scale the real-time service globally, increase its reliability, and rapidly move new features into production.


Matt Garman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at AWS, said that Twitter’s decision to rely on AWS infrastructure and services for its real-time workloads will help the company instantly scale their global footprint without compromising the user experience of those on the social media platform.


“By using AWS container services to create a seamless hybrid on-premises and cloud environment, Twitter can innovate and deliver new experiences quickly and cost-effectively,” noted Mr. Garman.


Twitter will take advantage of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud’s (Amazon EC2) processors, AWS Graviton-2, to power its cloud-based workloads.


Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer, also agrees that deploying AWS’ infrastructure will improve the performance of Twitter, and those who use it.


“In addition to helping us scale our infrastructure, this work with AWS enables us to ship features faster as we apply AWS’s diverse and growing portfolio of services,” added Mr. Agrawal.


Twitter will continue to use AWS’ other services, including Amazon CloudFront, its low-latency delivery network service, and Amazon Dynamo AB, a key value database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance.

SUSE appoints former Salesforce and SAP Account Director as first Southeast Asia Managing Director for next growth frontier

SUSE, a global leader in open source solutions, has appointed Isabella Kusumawati as its Vice President and Managing Director for Southeast Asia, a recognition of the region as an important market.

Ms. Kusumawati aims to significantly increase revenue in the region in the next three years by recruiting partners and top talent to reap the benefits of untapped business opportunities in one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the world, despite SUSE acknowledging that Asia Pacific enterprises, large retailers, and brands are lagging in their platform strategies, putting them at a competitive risk.

“Our customers are looking for choice; they demand open technologies that help them drive their business outcomes. We are currently hiring aggressively as we look to expand the team to help our customers, communities and partners leverage open source solutions,” said Ms. Kusumawati.

In Nielsen’s What’s Next in Southeast Asia, the global measurement and data analytics company calls Southeast Asia the next growth frontier. It is an emerging market that is home to the fast-growing population with stable GDP growth and high digital connectivity, which increases the desire for more innovation in the region. 

Digital transformation is crucial for businesses to thrive and open source is playing a major role that delivers a robust foundation in the modern IT landscape, as well as cost efficiencies and innovation.

“The trend of enterprises leveraging open source technology will rise drastically like never before as it allows companies to develop an ecosystem that can advance faster innovation, enabling unprecedented scale, adaptability and additional new features supporting changing trends and customer demands,” added Ms. Kusumawati. 

Ms. Kusumawati is a senior sales leader with 17 years of experience in sales management, including new market and business development for tech companies such as Salesforce, SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. 

Phillip Miltiades, the President of SUSE Asia Pacific and Japan, said: “With the digital economy in Southeast Asia growing at a rapid pace, I am confident under Isabella’s leadership that she will be successful in building the market and growing SUSE’s business.”

Ntuple becomes first South Korean company to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community

Ntuple, a leader in application programming interfaces (API) and micro-services lifecycle management, became the first company from South Korea to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators’ Community, a highly selective group of the ‘most promising scale-ups driving the technological and business model innovation’.

Companies who are invited to become Global Innovators have the opportunity to engage with the public and private sector leaders and the Forum’s Platforms to help define the global agenda on key issues.

“The World Economic Forum is excited to have Ntuple join the Global Innovators Community. We look forward to engaging Ntuple in our Platform activities and showcase how the potential of API economy can help businesses adapt to digital transformation and advance digital content safety,” Cathy Li, Head of Media, Entertainment and Sports Industries at the World Economic Forum

On top of being the first company in South Korea to join the Community, Ntuple is also the first in the API economy to be welcomed.

“The API economy is experiencing phenomenal growth. Unbeknownst to most, every major economic shift of the last 25 years has had APIs at the heart of it — from e-commerce, to the cloud, and across social networks,” said Min Park, Founder and CEO of Ntuple.

Upon joining the Community, Ntuple seeks to partner with other companies to power the evolution to the API economy by connecting legacy systems with modern ones, thus reducing the need to reinvest in entirely new systems. 

“Ntuple will work with the World Economic Forum to broaden global understanding of API and micro-services, and their respective roles in advancing digital transformation, and work with private and public member organisations to promote the role of the API economy as a worldwide economic driver,” Mr. Park added.

SyncTree, Ntuple’s no-coding API solution platform, provides a secure solution for integrating and connecting legacy systems, orchestrating complex functions with inputs from multiple sources on a serverless basis, a B2B Marketplace for APIs, and a platform to develop and manage APIs and microservices, through a simple drag and drop interface. 

SyncTree not only significantly reduces the time and capital required for digital transformation journeys, but in the ever-expanding API Economy, it also provides a more practical execution by enabling a modular approach without having to affect overall system process and integrity. 

“To quantify the impact of SyncTree, for a top five national securities firm, 50% of costs related to increasing and maintaining high levels of security against cyberthreats have been reduced as they transform towards a 100% digital firm with a circular economy framework built-in. We have witnessed the same levels of efficiencies with projects carried out by the MXA Group and GOLS in Hong Kong,” commented Joe Wong, the CSO of Ntuple. 

Ntuple and SyncTree aspires to achieve high levels of diversity and inclusion to encourage greater innovation.

“For innovation and inclusion to work hand in hand, one must imagine it as an intersectionality of identities, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, class, marital status and age, and how they overlap and intersect in dynamic ways that can collectively shape and further social change on a global level. My personal principle is that we must ensure everyone who has a voice receives the fundamental right to be heard,” said Kenneth Kwok, the CIO of Ntuple.

With its membership into the Global Innovators Community, Ntuple aims to propel its growth through a triangular intersectional approach of impact in the circular economy, innovation through futureproofing cybersecurity and social inclusion.

CIC and ZALL uses enhanced digital connectivity to launch Digital Silk Road initiative

Commodities Intelligence Centre (CIC), ZALL Smart Commerce and Singapore’s Blockchain for Trade & Connectivity Network have jointly launched a Digital Silk Road initiative.

The initiative will combine Singapore’s first blockchain-powered global physical commodities B2B e-trade platform with ZALL’s latest global digital trading platform Zallgo to help businesses in Singapore uncover new digital trade opportunities through enhanced digital connectivity.

“As digital trade becomes the new engine of global economic growth, digital connectivity becomes increasingly important for companies to expand their market footprint quickly in a safe and secure manner,” said Peter Yu, the CEO of CIC.

The new partnerships forged with the Digital Silk Road initiative and BTC Network is expected to strengthen CIC’s existing networks in the region, enabling SMEs to optimise their supply chains in cross-border trade through their ecosystem in Asia.

“CIC is well-placed to provide the necessary tools and guidance in promoting greater efficiency and transparency across global supply chains to help SMEs embrace the power of digitalisation to explore opportunities, casting their net wider, reaching out to a larger pool of reliable partners and suppliers beyond their usual reach,” added Mr. Yu.

The new initiative also aims to boost trade across the Asia Pacific region on the back of the world’s largest trade pact, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The newly established partnerships underscore the increasingly important strategic role of CIC in facilitating the expansion of regional trade and investment, as it aims to develop more than 10 winning commodities that will be popular worldwide over the next three to five years.

Earlier this month, CIC, along with five other commercial partners, launched BTC Network to drive innovation and test-bedding of blockchain solutions with multimodal global supply chain companies, digital trading platforms and technologies.

BTC Network is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to develop a risk assessment framework for small and medium-sized enterprises to assess how blockchain can boost their business.

Since the start of the year, CIC’s platform has reported an increase of more than 20% in customers joining their platform compared to the same period last year. The company also saw a surge in online transactions with over 4,000 customers searching for trading opportunities on the platform daily.

“We have withstood the test of the pandemic and have witnessed the impact of the industrial internet economy on global trade and investment,” said Mr. Yu.

CIC has since achieved a gross merchandise volume of US$13.2 billion (S$17.6 billion), with over 5,200 registered users covering markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and China, among other countries in Asia.

With the new initiative, CIC will look to further boost China-ASEAN trading opportunities and facilitate commodities trading via enhanced digital connectivity. 

CIC is a joint venture between Singapore Exchange and Global eTrade Services.

Keppel’s second data center fund closes more than $500 million

Singapore-based Keppel Capital Holdings has launched its second data center fund for investments in Asia and Europe.

With a target investment size of $1 billion, the Keppel Data Center (KDC) Fund II has already raised initial capital investments of more than $500 million.

KDC Fund II will be managed by its subsidiary Alpha Investment Partners who will leverage the expertise of Keppel Data Centres to capture investment opportunities in greenfield and brownfield data centre assets.

Sustainability at the core of everything

Alvin Mah, CEO of Alpha Investment Partners, says that the fund will leverage Keppel’s expertise on sustainable technology, and energy efficiency to develop greener data centers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of digitalisation for many businesses and governments alike and further spurred the growth of the data center sector,” said Mr. Mah. 

This will be in line with Keppel’s Vision 2030, a corporate goal that puts sustainability at the core of the company’s strategy.

Wong Wai Meng, CEO of Keppel Data Centers, said that the company is collaborating with industry leaders to explore ways to build and maintain more eco-friendly data centers.

This includes the development of floating data centre parks, tapping cold energy released from LNG re-gasification for cooling, hydrogen infrastructure for power generation, and accelerating the adoption of renewable energy as well as the development of carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration (CCUS) systems.

Keppel’s first data center fund, the Alpha Data Center Fund, was launched in 2016, and has since has a portfolio of investments in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Australia, and Germany, which spans 1.38 million square feet of floor area.

Indosat Ooredoo partners with Ericsson to continue its digital transformation

Indosat Ooredoo, Indonesia’s largest telecommunications provider, has selected Ericsson to digitally transform its business support systems for a fully digitised customer experience.

Indosat Ooredoo will leverage Ericsson’s Digital Monetisation Platform (DMP) to boost its 5G, IoT, and digital services offerings to individual customers and enterprises.

Medhat Elhusseiny, Chief Technology and Information Officer at Indosat Ooredoo, said that with Ericsson’s DMP, Indosat Ooredoo will enable the simplification of business processes, and flexible integration of third-party services for a more enjoyable user experience.

The platform includes open APIs and micro services architecture that supports speedy integration of new channels and services. Through DevOps, business activities such as new services design, orchestration and monetisation are expected to be carried out more efficiently.

“This partnership will drive agility and innovation to continue enhancing our customer experience for both consumers and enterprises,” said Mr. Elhusseiny.

With the platform, Indosat Ooredoo will be able to reduce cost for streamlined operations, thereby increasing their competitiveness in Indonesia’s telecommunications market.

“Ericsson’s Digital Monetisation Platform will empower Indosat Ooredoo to monetise assets while meeting customer demands with new offers and enable flexibility to meet market demands,” said Jerry Soper, Country Head of Ericsson Indonesia.

Indosat Ooredoo and Ericsson have a longstanding partnership that dates back to collaborations in 2G, 3G, and 4G technology.

NTT appoints Abhijit Dubey as new Global CEO

NTT Ltd. has announced the appointment of a new Global CEO after Jason Goodall announced his retirement from the position.

Abhijit Dubey will take on the role from April 1 2021. Mr. Dubey will join NTT after serving 20 years as a Senior Partner at international management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

Mr. Goodall expressed his confidence over the decision and will work with Mr. Dubey in the first half of 2021 to ensure a smooth handover.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Abhijit to the NTT family in 2021 to lead the next generation of our business. He shares our passion for the technology industry and the role that technology can play in helping make the world a better place,” he said.

With many organisations all around the world gearing up for a post-pandemic digital transformation, Mr. Dubey vows to assist employees and clients to leverage technology for good.

“NTT is privileged to be a critical technology services partner for many of the world’s leading companies and public sector organisations, with employees in over 73 countries around the world. I’m excited about the opportunity to lead this next chapter for NTT,” said Mr. Dubey.

Mr. Dubey will join NTT in February, and will be based in NTT’s headquarters in London.

“With many NTT clients accelerating their digital transformation because of the global pandemic, there has never been a more important time for the technology industry to deliver for the world. I am passionate about NTT’s purpose, strategy, and part it will play to help clients, employees and communities leverage technology for good,” he added.

After a three-month handover period, Mr. Goodall will formally retire from his role on June 30, 2021. He will remain as Board Director for NTT, as well as strategic advisor for NTT’s Venture Capital business. 

Tsunehisa Okuno, the Chairman of NTT. Ltd. thanked Mr. Goodall for his 23 years of service and looked forward to welcoming Mr. Dubey.

Delta POD solution enables Vietnam’s first Uptime Tier III data center for Hanoi Telecom’s HTC-ITC

Delta Electronics has successfully implemented their energy saving Point of Delivery solution to enable Vietnam’s first Uptime TCCF Tier III-certified data center.

The data center is owned and operated by HTC-ITC, a subsidiary of Hanoi Telecom. It is located at the Hoa Lac High-Tech Zone, in Hanoi’s capital region, occupying 750 square meters of space.

The data center has an annual uptime of 99.98% and is expected to achieve a power use effectiveness value of 1.4.

“Being able to construct the country’s first Uptime TIER III-certified data center for HTC-ITC is truly an honor for Delta. Together with our partners and customers in the region, we are building the foundations of the 5G networks that will support substantial economic growth for years to come,” said Victor Cheng, Delta’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of its Information Communication Technology Infrastructure Business Group.

The new data center is located in the Hoa Lac High-Tech Zone, occupying 750 square meters with a total power capacity of 750kW plus 750kW redundant power protection, which is in line with Uptime’s TIER III 2N architecture specifications. In total, the facility can expand to 900 racks.

HTC-ITC passed 52 tests to obtain the TCCF certification, the first time ever for a data center in Vietnam.

Trinh Minh Chau, the Chairwoman of HTC-ITC, expressed delight at the collaboration with Delta.

Seagate launches two new gaming storage products

In collaboration with PlayStation, Marvel, and Crystal Dynamics, Seagate has announced the launch of two new storage products, which will upgrade the capacity and performance of gamers’ experience. 


The hard drives are compatible with the PS4 and PS4 Pro systems, offering 2TB of capacity, USB 3.0 connectivity, plug-and-play functionality, and instant add-on storage.


Seagate has also released the only external storage device that enables users to achieve the same performance as Xbox Velocity Architecture, enabling backward compatibility across all previous versions of Xbox.

The custom storage card delivers an additional 1 TB of external storage for a streamlined gaming experience, replicating the speed and performance of the consoles’ internal SSDs and Xbox Velocity Architecture.

Avast identifies new cybersecurity threat targeting Mongolian Government data center

Avast, a global leader in cybersecurity and privacy software, has identified a new advanced persistent threats (APT) campaign targeting government agencies and a government data center in Mongolia. 


Avast researchers consider a Chinese-speaking APT group to be the attacker, however, the actual objective of the group remains unknown


The likely culprit, LuckyMouse, otherwise known as EmissaryPanda and APT27, is infamous for attacking national resources and political information in China’s neighbouring countries. 


Avast found out that the techniques used by the group are different from previous attacks. This time, they use both keyloggers and backdoors to gain long-term access and upload a variety of tools that they used to scan the Mongolian Government networks and dump credentials.


“The APT group Lucky Mouse has been active since Autumn 2017 and has been able to avoid Avast attention in the last two years due to their evolving techniques and marked change of tactics,” said Luigino Camastra, a Malware Researcher at Avast.


The APT group compromised the Mongolian government in two ways. First, by accessing a vulnerable service provider of the Government to gain entry into government institutions, and secondly, by sending malicious emails with weaponised documents via an unpatched CVE-2017-11882 vulnerability.


We were able to detect their new tactics to discover this campaign targeting the Mongolian government, showing how they’ve scaled their operations to be more advanced to gain longer term access to sensitive data,” added Mr. Camastra.


The finding is corroborated by Slovak security firm ESET, who found that the hackers targeted an add-on that provides instant messaging capability to a human resource management (HRM) platform by Able Software. According to the company’s website, this HRM platform is used by more than 430 Mongolian Government agencies, including the Office of President and the Ministry of Justice, among others.   


Earlier this year, some Chinese-speaking APT threat actors were found to be actively targeting regional inter-governmental organisations in Asia and Africa, found Kaspersky, a Russian multinational security provider. 


In Kaspersky’s report, compromised IT or managed security service providers also appear to be a potential vector of targeted delivery. The majority of the visible activity in the second quarter of 2020 appeared to be in Mongolia, Vietnam and Myanmar. The number of affected systems is estimated to be over thousands. 


It appears that the scope and sophistication of government-targeted cyberattacks are increasing.

Microsoft partners with Singapore Government to boost employment and upskilling

Microsoft and non-profit organisation Generation are partnering with Government agencies in Singapore to upskill and open up tech jobs for Singaporeans.

Named #GetReadySG, this latest job upskilling initiative is launched as part of the Government’s SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.

Mainly aimed at fresh graduates and mid-career Singaporeans, it will train and provide up to 1,000 in-demand tech jobs to support the local tech industry.

Microsoft and Generation will work with Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), its sister organisation Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) on this initiative.

Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive of IMDA, highlighted that #GetReadySG will impart hard skills such as cloud architecture and data analytics engineering, as well as important soft skills like cross-cultural teamwork and communication.

“This will enable Singaporeans to better seize the exciting opportunities across our growing digital economy,” he said.

Generation will be in charge of devising the course structure for the programs, whereas Microsoft will make use of its wide network of partners and help candidates to secure employment after training.

Mr. Prateek Hegde, CEO of Generation Singapore and COO of Generation APAC, pointed out that while his organisation’s main commitment is to serve jobseekers in need, Generation recognises that by having access to a highly skilled talent pool, the tech industry as a whole benefits.

“We continue to hear from companies that it is difficult to find the right tech talent, while jobseekers continue to report on barriers to employment – such as lack of specific domain skills and relevant certifications. This programme is designed to effectively bridge this gap and help more Singaporeans who require such support to launch their careers in tech-enabled roles,” added Mr. Hegde.

Singapore’s future-ready preparations

Singapore has been at the forefront of introducing new tech programs on the policy level to supercharge its status as Asia’s post pandemic digital hub. In November, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the launch of Tech.Pass, a new visa that allows professionals from all around the world to come to Singapore and grow their tech business.

#GetReadySG will have two streams for eligible candidates. The first stream, a hire and train program offered by SSG, will see up to 300 Singaporeans being selected and offered paid training for nine months. They will receive training for in-demand tech skills, including full stack development, data engineering and analysis, cloud support, and DevOps practitioning.

The second stream, the mid-career pathways program, will allow mid-career job seekers to work under a structured, full-time apprenticeship with a Microsoft partner to learn the necessary tech skills. Up to 700 professionals will be selected, and a monthly allowance of $1,500 will be given. This stream is offered by Microsoft, Generation, SSG, and Temasek Polytechnic.

“What makes #GetReadySG different from other skilling programmes is that it brings together the best of what Microsoft, IMDA, SSG, DISG and Generation have to offer in terms of resources, expertise and technical knowledge,” said Mr. Kevin Wo, Managing Director of Microsoft Singapore.

“COVID-19 has accelerated the need for these upskilling efforts – hence it is more important than ever that we embark on this national skills initiative,” he continued.

On top of that, Microsoft will also be partnering with SSG for the latter’s Queen Bee program, an initiative that matches industry leaders with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore to grow the local business ecosystem.

Mr Ong Tze Ch’in, Chief Executive of SSG, expressed delight at Microsoft’s active involvement in Singapore’s SME transformation scene.

“This [partnership] will help SMEs strengthen their capabilities and to help drive up employer participation in the development of their workforce,” he noted.

Standard Chartered Bank will also be a part of the #GetReadySG initiative to nurture a pipeline of homegrown ‘techno-bankers’ for the future.

“This is very much aligned to our commitment as a Significantly Rooted Foreign Bank in Singapore to invest for growth, continuously reskill our workforce and build a strong Singapore Core to ensure future competitiveness,” said Charlotte Thng, the Head of HR for Singapore, Australia and ASA Cluster Markets at Standard Chartered Bank.

Registration for the first stream opens in January 2021, and registration for the second stream opens in mid-December 2020.

Amazon and bp continue cloud partnership for renewable energy

Global oil and gas company bp have signed an agreement to continue its longstanding partnership with e-commerce giant Amazon and its cloud computing arm, AWS. 

As part of the agreement, bp will triple the renewable energy supplied to Amazon’s data centers in Europe, and AWS will continue to support bp’s digital transformation journey by modernisation via data migration to the cloud.

With bp, Amazon’s new wind projects in Sweden and Scotland will be supplied with 275 MW and 129 MW of wind power respectively.

“Amazon is helping bp with innovative digital technologies and, using our trading capabilities and scale, we will give Amazon the reliable and flexible renewable energy supplies they need to meet their ambition to decarbonise,” said William Lin, Executive Vice President for Regions, Cities & Solutions at bp.

Nat Sahlstrom, Director of Amazon Energy, commented that this extended partnership with bp will help Amazon towards their goal of reaching net-zero carbon emission by 2040, in line with the company’s commitment to The Climate Pledge.

“These new agreements with bp help us toward our goal of powering our operations with 100 percent renewable energy,” Mr. Sahlstom added.

AWS to help bp with digital transformation

On AWS’ end, the company will continue to help bp with its increasing digital transformation, including data migration to the cloud and the application of more cloud-native technologies.

Both companies will also be teaming up to deploy AI and machine learning technologies.

This will include using Talk2Me, an AI-based language processing system powered by Amazon’s Alexa; using Amazon’s business intelligence tool Amazon QuickSight; and migrating to the Amazon Aurora cloud database for bp trading, operational resiliency, and performance improvements.

bp and Amazon’s partnership is an extension of the success that both companies found from their collaboration in 2019, where bp supplied AWS with 170MW of renewable energy, and Amazon agreed to help bp migrate over 900 key applications.

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Zoom to double Singapore data center capacity, announces new R&D center

Zoom has announced they will double their Singapore data center capacity, along with a new research and development center and a rapid mass hiring of hundreds of new engineering professionals in the country.

All of the above are set to lend further support to Zoom’s existing R&D centers in the US, India, and China, as well as its engineering headquarters in San Jose, California.

Velchamy Sankarlingam, President of Product and Engineering for Zoom, points out that Singapore’s talent pool and advanced technology infrastructure makes the Lion City ‘a perfect gateway’ to engage with the wider Asia Pacific region.

“We plan to immediately hire employees, leveraging Singapore’s highly-educated engineering talent pool. Our new R&D center and data center will play a critical role in Zoom’s continued international growth,” he said.

More good news for Singapore’s tech scene

Zoom’s announcement means more positives for Singapore. Since the pandemic, the lion city has been gearing up to attract foreign tech companies and talent to grow its tech scene.

The government has introduced a slew of job upskilling initiatives for in-demand tech jobs, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has recently announced a new visa specially for foreign tech professionals.

Zoom rise to a million-dollar IPO

Zoom was one of few firms that became a million-dollar company almost overnight due to the pandemic.

Eric Yuan’s brainchild has been around since 2011, and Zoom went public on Nasdaq in April 2019 with an IPO of $356.8 million raised.

However, with remote work becoming the norm worldwide, Zoom’s market value skyrocketed. According to Bloomberg, Zoom’s revenue almost quadrupled in one year to $777.2 million in October, a whopping 367% year-on-year increase.

“Zoom has changed the realm of what we thought was possible. We can work from anywhere rather than a fixed location. In some ways, we are more productive and fulfilled. I am thrilled that Zoom will be partnering with Singapore to set up an R&D center to explore possibilities,” he continued,” said Mr. Chng Kai Fong, Managing Director of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

The launch of a R&D center in Singapore represents Zoom’s strategy of developing its leading communications technology in multiple locations globally. The center will play a vital role as a source of innovation for Zoom, leveraging some of Singapore’s most talented professionals.

Preparing Indonesia’s digital infrastructure for Southeast Asia’s booming digital economy

Southeast Asia has overtaken China as the leading mobile economy hotspot, with most of the growth happening in Indonesia, according to DCI Indonesia.

The region accounts for around 10% of the world’s total Internet users, with Indonesia reaching 175.4 million users, which is 64% of the country’s population, representing a growth of 20% or 29 million new users over the past two years.

As a result, Indonesia is expected to be one of the major three fastest-growing e-commerce countries globally along with India and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the archipelago’s digital economy is expected to be the largest in Southeast Asia. According to the annual e-Conomy Southeast Asia study by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, Indonesia’s market value is expected to triple to US$309 billion by 2025, driven by the rise of e-commerce, ride-hailing and online gaming.

Nevertheless, DCI Indonesia believes the country needs to upgrade the underdeveloped digital infrastructure that limits the public and private sector from reaping the full benefits of this billion dollar opportunity.

To do so, investing in ICT is key, especially data center and network capabilities, as these are backbones to the successful implementation of innovative technologies.

And with the growing volumes of data, in-house or multi-tenant data center operators in Indonesia need to prepare to meet increasing expectations  for seamless digital experiences.

“There are tremendous opportunities ahead, the cloud is growing exponentially along with the booming digital economy, and they need to provide infrastructure to cater for the cloud. The advantages are undoubtedly driving demand and fueling recent growth of new hyperscale facilities in Indonesia,” said Philbert Shih, the Managing Director of Structure Research.

As internet users in the mass market and enterprises begin to use various infrastructure outsourcing models, hyperscale cloud and data centers are set to take full advantage in growing cities like Jakarta where capacity in 2025 is projected to reach 198.5 MW, with a maximum build out of 236.3 MW. 

Hyperscale will also create demand for wholesale colocation to house the supporting infrastructure and drive uptake of interconnection services to integrate and scale with cloud services.

The wholesale data center colocation portion of the market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 43.5% between now and 2025, reaching approximately 131.2 MW of capacity in five years.

DCI Indonesia built a 200MW facility spanning 85,000 square meters in Greater Jakarta last year, the first largest hyperscale campus in Indonesia, to meet future capacity needs. 

“As of today, we continue to witness strong market demand from our current customers as well as global business players looking to enter the market,” said Toto Sugiri, the CEO of DCI Indonesia.

To keep up with demand, DCI Indonesia has also completed the final stages of their newest data center, JK5, which has a current capacity of 15 MW, adding an additional 20% from current capacity built out in Indonesia.

This research and trends show Indonesia as a “hotspot” for hyperscale data center investment within the next five years, driven by the rise in cloud adoption. The entry of Google, Alibaba Cloud, and AWS into Indonesia also demonstrates a developing interest in the country as a substitute for Singapore.

As a result, Indonesia is set to be the fastest growing market for data centers in Southeast Asia, with a growth rate of 22% per annum over the next five years.

New Zealand to get its ‘first hyperscale data center’

Software outsourcing company Datagrid and energy provider Meridian have announced that New Zealand is set to get its ‘first hyperscale data center’ located in Invercargill, the southernmost city in the country.

The $700 million data center project will span 25,000 square meters and have a capacity of 60 MW. In several years, it is anticipated to grow to 40,000 square meters with a capacity of 100 MW.

New Zealand is in the right place at the right time

Situated in the island of Southland, Invercargill’s cool climate, ample land, and availability of renewable energy sources makes the region an ideal location for a data center.

Rémi Galasso, founder and chairman of Datagrid, revealed that as of now, the only hyperscale data center servicing New Zealand is located in Australia. However, Southland’s climate is believed to make powering a data center in the region 15% more cost effective compared to Australia.

“These savings, along with New Zealand’s well-educated workforce and long term political stability make Southland highly attractive as a location for global companies to safely store their data,” added Mr. Galasso.

Thanks to its climate and abundance of clean energy sources, the country as a whole offers strong potential for a booming data center economy. The data center project is forecast to demonstrate how New Zealand’s strong advantage in renewable energy can deliver economic benefits over the coming years.

“A low-emissions data center is a huge opportunity for Southland and all of New Zealand to leverage our abundant clean energy to create high-value jobs and diversify our economy even more into the digital space,” said Guy Waipara, Meridian Energy’s General Manager Generation and Natural Resources.

The data center is expected to complement the power available from the Manapōuri station.

Malcolm Dick, also one of the heads of Datagrid, said that the lack of international connectivity in New Zealand has been a limiting factor for developing the data center industry in the country. But with the arrival of the Hawaiki Cable in 2018, the circumstances are expected to change rapidly.

A significant part of the $700 million project involves laying a new submarine cable to connect Invercargill directly to the east coast of Australia, as well as laying a domestic festoon cable to connect Invercargill with cities on New Zealand’s east coast.

The latency between Invercargill and Australia is believed to be approximately 24 milliseconds, which is within the upper limit of 35 milliseconds accepted as standard by the data center industry. New Zealand’s remote location is expected to provide a competitive advantage, as many companies are looking to locate their data away from larger centers which are at greater risk of disruptive events.

When completed, the data center could provide connectivity to over 20 million people across New Zealand and Australia’s states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.

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Atos to transform its data center with Hitachi Vantara’s new solutions

Hong Kong IT services company and data center owner Atos has selected Hitachi Vantara to transform its data center by reducing its data silos and digitalising its enterprise infrastructure.

Hitachi Vantara will improve the efficiency of Atos’ services through increased automation and optimisation.

Atos has a diverse mix of storage devices and architectures, including standard block-based storage area network, network-attached storage and hyperconverged infrastructure models, which led to a build-up of multiple data solos over time. 

Additionally, its network and storage administration team has to manage a diverse collection of devices while assigning capacity for the client environment, which proved to be increasingly time-consuming. 

“It was essential to simplify our data infrastructure and remove unnecessary silos to better support our clients’ business priorities,” said Herbie Leung, Atos CEO for Asia Pacific. 

The recently announced Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 Series will be part of the solution, which provides powerful NVMe flash storage as the foundation for enterprise infrastructure. 

Hitachi Ops Center will also monitor and automate storage provisioning to ensure that Atos’ clients can access additional capacity whenever required.

Meanwhile, Lumada DataOps Suite will enable the collection and integration of information from event and performance logs from its storage and network hardware into a data lake before running analytics to monitor current infrastructure performance.

“We have experienced increased benefits in speed, flexibility and simplicity, which are key to driving innovation for our clients,” added Mr. Leung.

Atos saw a reduction in data center footprint by 75% and power consumption by 69%, as well as a reduced total cost of ownership by 20%.

“We are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with Atos. Atos has modern data infrastructure powering data management and adapting to future business requirements ,” said Andrew Sampson, Vice President and General Manager of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan for Hitachi Vantara.

Through this strategic partnership, Atos hopes to remain competitive with other public cloud providers. Its Hong Kong and Macau clients expected to benefit from improved efficiency in Atos’ enterprise content management, application hosting, infrastructure and data management services across three data centers.

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Seagate releases two new RSIC-V Cores for edge-to-cloud trustworthiness

US data storage company Seagate Technologies has announced two new processors for silicon chips that are based on open RSIC-V instruction set architecture (ISA).

One new processor is a high-performance core, and the other is an area-optimised core. The high-performance core processor offers real-time, critical HDD workload solutions that are able to process up to triple the power of original processors.

The area-optimised core processor is optimised for both footprint and power savings, and is able to execute security-extensive edge computational operations.

Both processors offer robust edge-to-cloud data mobility, trustworthiness, and security.

We live in a time of unprecedented growth of enterprise data—and much of this data is in motion. These cores will allow devices to share a common RISC-V ISA. Using open security architectures, they will enable more secure movement of data,” said Cecil Macgregor, the Vice President of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) Development.

As a member of the OpenTitan Project, a Google-backed open-source secure chip design organisation, Dominic Rizzo of Google Cloud, says that he sees “significant potential” for architectures such as RSIC-V.

“Because Seagate understands the promise of RISC-V for security, we are excited to collaborate with Seagate on the open-source silicon root of trust we are currently developing,” Mr. Rizzo added.

The Seagate processing cores are expected to accelerate real-time analysis at data centers, which is crucial to scientific work where mass amounts of data are processed on a daily basis.

“Using computational storage to move processing near data has begun to significantly alter the way we analyze data and perform scientific discovery. By having compute integrated closely with storage we are able to create persistent data transformations that speed up data analysis by 1000-fold,” said Brad Settlemyer, Senior Research Scientist at the Los Alamos National Library.

John Morris, Chief Technology Officer of Seagate, points out that introducing RISC-V to storage devices creates an opportunity to implement application-specific computational capabilities that enable massive parallel computational storage solutions. This could enable use cases like scientific simulations, including weather prediction, and enabling the learning part of machine learning.

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HCL Technologies enters Vietnam with plan to hire 3,000 locals

India’s HCL Technologies has announced its entry into Vietnam with its first delivery center in Hanoi.

With their local entity HCL Vietnam, the company will deliver advanced technology solutions to clients across different industries all around the world, including financial services, healthcare, infrastructure, engineering, and cybersecurity.

“We are fully prepared and committed in bringing new opportunities for both young and experienced talent, to work for a leading global technology company without having to move out of their home country,” said Sanjay Gupta, the Corporate Vice President of HCL Technologies.

HCL hopes to collaborate with local ICT and engineering institutions to foster and train local tech talent. HCL aims to hire 3,000 local university graduates and professionals over the next three years to empower the country’s tech talent pool.

“Vietnam and its skilled youth have the true potential to develop a robust IT industry, which is spearheading economic growth in the country,” added Mr. Gupta.

Vice Minister Phan Tam of Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications expressed delight at HCL’s decision to build and grow its business in the country.

“I am very confident that the kind of world-class platform and exposure this company will be providing to our talented resources through its global delivery center will help in nurturing and building skills that are very much needed in today’s digital age,” said Vice Minister Phan.

As part of kickstarting its operations in Vietnam, HCL will organise a Virtual Job Fair for fresh graduates on December 19, 2020.

“Vietnam offers a friendly business environment and its rapidly growing IT and physical infrastructure is making it a favorable destination for global multinational companies to set up their global delivery centers here,” commented Sanh Chau Pham, Ambassador of Vietnam to India.

HCL began its business operations in Vietnam in July 2020, and there is hope that more companies will be welcomed to help Vietnam emerge as an IT destination.

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‘First cybersecurity insurance’ for SMEs released in Thailand by Dhipaya and Cisco

Thai insurance company Dhipaya has partnered with Cisco to offer the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) insurance coverage for cyber-related financial attacks.

Named “TIP cyber guard plus powered by Cisco”, the insurance will cover SMEs with annual revenues of US$30 million (900 million Thai baht).

The Managing Director for TIP, Somporn Suebthawilkul, said the coverage is the first of its kind in Thailand.

“Cybersecurity incidents have intensified and attacks have spread from large companies to enterprises of all sizes, even small ones,” said Mr. Suebthawilkul.

According to Pacific Prime Thailand, cybercrime increased a striking 37% in March 2020 when compared to the month before, as a result of increased work-from-home arrangements and digital transformation of work.

As such, the insurance policy will also cover business interruption losses caused by security breaches, data recovery costs due to cyberattacks, and costs related to incident report and investigation.

A 24/7 helpline will be available for enterprises seeking assistance. Security professionals from Cisco will also assist clients in checking systems, assessing risks, and providing advice on choosing the right cyber-insurance policy.

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Preparing for an edge data center future

Our never-ending desire for faster connectivity and growing hunger for more data consumption anywhere and everywhere is increasing the demand for edge data centers.

That’s why the edge data center market is expected to exponentially increase in value by up to 23% and between US$13.5 billion and US$20 billion.

“Edge data centers are truly evolving and growing. Edge computing today is almost like what we saw with cloud eight to ten years ago,” said Steven Cheng, the Director for East Asia E-commerce and Edge Computing for International Operations at Schneider Electric.

This impressive uptake is driven by the advent and rising adoption of 5G, industrial automation, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, cloud gaming and high-quality video streaming.

These technologies are vastly increasing the number of connected devices and applications requiring low latency, speedy connectivity, more data and reliable storage. To meet the demand for automation, edge data centers are deployed to enable the use of these technologies by bringing digital infrastructures and faster processing power closer to us.

“Asia is one of the regions that has been hit hardest by this year’s events, which is fueling the acceleration of lights out operations and automation where a company may now need to lay off their workforce,” said Mr. Cheng.

The Asia Pacific region is forecast to contribute a growth rate of 25% to the edge data center market by 2026.

For countries like Indonesia and the Philippines where there are a lot of islands split across the geographical regions, having local compute to monitor and process data in real-time and provide advanced technological services locally for improved customer experiences is very important for the region.

“Companies now need to start thinking about how to reallocate their investments on automation and local compute to not only save costs, but to also be well prepared for unforeseen circumstances like those we have experienced this year,” Mr. Cheng added.

Challenges at the edge

Implementing edge compute begins with installing small racks in different environments like industrial complexes, commercial buildings, or even hospitals and normal IT closets.

Bringing digital services to the edge can empower more convenience, better customer experience and smarter cities. For example, with edge computing coupled with 5G connectivity, a billboard could display emergency room waiting times of different hospitals in real-time to prevent overcrowding, which we have seen during the pandemic.

But to successfully drive edge data center deployments, businesses must consider the environments where they are building these facilities and the IT staff they have to manage them.

“To have a successful edge compute, you need to make sure that the deployments in these environments can withstand an unmanned service because you’re not going to have anybody there looking at your edge servers all the time,” advised Mr. Cheng.

However, the successful future of edge computing could be slowed down by legacy systems that are not connected to any networks or devices.

“To have those legacy systems upgraded to have connectable abilities, I think that would be the key to drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution forward,” said Mr. Cheng.

With newer, distributed infrastructure, the cost of deployment, management and maintenance can be a concern for those considering edge data centers. 

To overcome these challenges, Schneider Electric has efficient edge data center solution lines to fit any environment or climate, whether it’s on the ground or in the air on a wall for smaller deployments where space might be limited in a place like Singapore. 

“At Schneider Electric, we have product lines like a 6U Micro Data Center. You can mount it on the wall with uninterruptible power supply and security monitoring all in one enclosure, so you don’t have to worry about powering or cooling the data center because it just rolls into your site,” said Mr. Cheng.

And once your deployment is completed, Schneider Electric has solutions to eliminate the challenge of maintenance, with cloud-based remote monitoring applications to lower service costs and ensure your systems keep running.

“You need to have sensors and monitoring devices. We have 3D heat maps and simulations to monitor your hotspots in the facility. If your edge data center does not have enough cooling or the power is struggling, alarms will sound on your remote monitoring system to alert you,” added Mr. Cheng.

Take for example, Leading Edge Data Centres in Australia who shared their experience of partnering with Schneider Electric at W.Media’s Edge Data Center Strategy and Solutions in Asia Pacific digital event

Leading Edge Data Centres leveraged Schneider Electric’s extensive experience to deploy Tier-3-designed, standardised, pre-assembled and fully integrated data center modules, including 75 racks featuring 5 kW per rack power density, in six sites across New South Wales.

With the help of Schneider Electric, Leading Edge Data Centres’ intention is to build a network of highly connected edge data centers to create communication hubs, bridging the gap between urban and regional areas in Australia where connectivity and low latency is lacking.

To get involved in the inevitable edge data center future, Mr. Cheng recommended a hybrid model, combining cloud computing with regional edge solutions to enable easy management close to your headquarters, and local edge solutions to ensure better and faster customer experiences for your users.

> Prepare for the edge data center future with Schneider Electric

By Stuart Crowley, Editor

Nutanix appoints former COO of VMware as new CEO

Nutanix has announced the appointment of Rajiv Ramaswami as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Mr. Ramaswami joins from VMware where he held the position of Chief Operating Officer for Products and Cloud Services.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Nutanix at this transformative time for the company and the industry. I have long admired Nutanix as a formidable competitor, a pioneer in hyperconverged infrastructure solutions and a leader in cloud software,” said Mr. Ramaswami.

Mr. Ramaswami will work closely with the Nutanix Board, management team and more than 6,000 employees around the world to ‘capitalise on the significant opportunities ahead and deliver on the company’s next phase of growth and value creation’.

With over 30 years of experience, Mr. Ramaswami started his career at IBM, and has since held many senior executive roles at Cisco, Broadcom, and Nortel.

He will take over from Dheeraj Pandey, who is also the Co-Founder of Nutanix. Mr. Pandey will also be stepping down from the Board on December 14, 2020. He described Mr. Ramaswami as ‘the right leader at the right time’.

Sohaib Abbasi, Lead Independent Director of Nutanix, pointed out that as an accomplished leader, Mr. Ramaswami has a track record of delivering a high-growth portfolio of products and services.

His combination of operational discipline, business acumen, and technology vision made Mr. Ramaswami stand out among the CEO candidates.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Exclusive Networks Malaysia signs service agreements with HPE and Nutanix

Cybersecurity and cloud solutions company Exclusive Networks Malaysia (ENMY) has signed agreements with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Nutanix to improve the efficiency of enterprise operations in Malaysia.

Under the agreement, ENMY will officially be given the rights to distribute the complete suite of HP’s and Nutanix’s products to the public and private sectors. They include a line of hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, including Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud platform, HPE ProLiant DX Servers and HPE GreenLake with Nutanix, 

“As a one-stop shop for a complete range of innovative solutions, including security and hybrid cloud solutions, as well as professional and maintenance services, we often see first-hand the issues that aging IT infrastructures create for Malaysian enterprises,” said Yuri Zaharin, Country Manager at Exclusive Networks Malaysia.

Industries that are set to benefit from ENMY’s product offerings include the financial services industry, telecommunications, and manufacturing.

“By partnering with HPE and Nutanix, ENMY will enable enterprises to deploy their IT applications faster and reduce their overall IT costs, enabling them to thrive in Malaysia’s increasingly digital economy,” he continued.

Hyperconverged infrastructure can reduce unplanned downtime by 85% and the time spent on backups by 60%, increasing data recovery speed by 41%. The study adds that revenue could increase by 1-2% as a result of the reduction in unplanned downtime. To top it off, Hyperconverged Infrastructure can also help enterprises to reduce IT operational costs by 62%

Avinash Gowda, Country Manager for Nutanix Malaysia, said: “As more Malaysian enterprises scale for transformation in the cloud, capabilities that deliver on increased agility, flexibility and visibility will be top-of-mind.”

Chaw Kit San, Country Channel Manager for HPE Malaysia, pointed out that in 2020, distributed enterprises need secure, flexible, edge-to-cloud architectures, which can be offered by consumption-based IT and hyperconverged infrastructures.

Exclusive Networks Malaysia, HPE and Nutanix recognised the need to seal the deal after finding that organisations with legacy data centers and IT operations are facing a big challenge today, as their aging IT infrastructure is not equipped for agile and secure processing of exponentially increasing data volumes, particularly during the rising work-from-home trend.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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APAC most at risk of cyber-espionage attacks

Asia Pacific is more at risk of cyber-espionage attacks than any other region, according to the new Verizon Cyber-Espionage Report (CER).

The report revealed that of all regions, cyber-espionage breaches occurred the most frequently in Asia Pacific at 42%, in front of EMEA at 34% and North America at 23%.

In those breaches, an overwhelming 85% are state-affiliated, followed by 8% of nation-state actors, and 4% of organised crime groups.

As for their motives, these actors seek out data impacting national secrets, political positioning, the need to search for economic competitive advantage, and intellectual property.

Cyber-espionage attacks have been characterised by the CER as low risk, low cost, and high payoff, making them difficult to detect and track down. These breaches typically involve advanced threats targeting specific data and operating in ways to avoid detection and deny cyber-defenders effective response.

For more than half of all cyber-defenders surveyed, it took months and years to discover a breach, and 64% of cyber-defenders said that containment time ranged from hours to weeks.

Industries that are most affected by cyber-espionage breaches are the public sector (31%), manufacturing sector (22%), and professional services sector (11%).

“Cybercrime comes in all shapes and sizes, but fighting and preventing it is of equal importance. Defences and detection and response plans should be tested regularly and optimised to confront cyber threats head-on,” said John Grim, lead author of the Verizon Cyber-Espionage Report.

In view of this, Verizon recommends enterprises to adopt cybersecurity best practices, including regular security awareness training, strengthening boundary defences like network segmentation and access, and managed detection and response.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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The Top 5 Benefits of Gas Generators for Data Centers

There is no secret that data centers are one of the biggest consumers of electricity and water with a growing target of carbon neutral advocates.

Presently, data center operators are highly reliant on diesel generators to power their facilities due to the infrastructure availability and low fuel prices. However, this is becoming increasingly exorbitant and exceedingly unsustainable.

“If you ask a data center operator, the big end users will want to become carbon neutral by 2030. Whilst natural gas gensets are not carbon neutral, they are a step towards the right direction,” said C. B. Lim, the Director of Product Development and Management at AWI-Genz Global Private Limited.

The data center industry has been growing to accommodate hyperscale cloud firms, cultivate ecosystems and fulfill new demand arising from technologies such as AI and IoT. Many tech giants and data center providers are committed to renewable energy goals, turning to greener alternatives like natural gas generators for their data centers, as they offer a number of benefits.

“I predict that green hydrogen power will be the future fuel for data center power, but you cannot just stand straight there! Infrastructure needs to be available. Hence, we see the gas genset as an intermediary solution for the foreseeable future. Natural Gas distribution networks could be used for hydrogen distribution in the future with many countries already ensuring any new expansion or replacement of natural gas networks can be used for both gas and hydrogen types,” Mr. Lim posited.

1. Reduced Carbon Footprint

Data center operators recognise that being carbon neutral plays an important role in their sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) stratagem and at the same time, enabling them to do their bit for global climate change. They also perceive that individuals and corporate customers prefer to buy products and services from environmentally conscious suppliers.

With this, more eyes are on gas generators as a practically immediate solution to reduce carbon footprints. Even with 30% reduction in carbon emission after switching to gas generators, many data centers are still using diesel generators as the primary source of power. And the demand for power and electricity is expected to rise continuously in the long run. This shows that switching to a lower carbon solution is essential as the climate clock is running out of time until the climate conditions become detrimental and irreversible.

“In a typical data center, the diesel generator set is a de-energised system. It is on standby mode, sat there doing nothing!” said Mr. Lim.

Gas generators are not meant for a one time one-for-one replacement for diesel generators. It is a commitment for operators, owners and organisations to change their mindset in order to understand the full benefits of the system and utilise them for continual operation.

“Emissions savings up to 40% as compared to a diesel genset and for utility grids dependent on region could be up to 60%,” said Mr. Lim.

“If we look at Singapore, all the electricity is created from liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plants. If we put a gas power plant in a Singapore data center, we can localise the power generation,” added Mr. Lim.

In the conventional set up with diesel generators in Singapore, the utilities companies have to provide both power and transmission losses for customers. Transmission losses can go up to 15% of the usable power generated and this will result in a negative effect on a country’s overall carbon footprint.

“If you can reduce the transmission losses by producing locally, then it’s better for everyone,” advised Mr. Lim.

Towards a localised gas power generation for data centers, AWI-Genz Global recommends using a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system.

Instead of dispersing the heat from exhaust, water jacket and oil into the atmosphere as pollutants, this integrated system takes the heat and inject it into an absorption chiller that normally uses lesser electricity as compared to a normal chiller, and convert the heat into the chilled water to keep the servers cool to prevent any damages to the servers which will result in downtime.

“You’re utilising the heat from the engine to cool the data center. It is going to save you a lot of money,” said Mr. Lim.

2. Reduced Power Utilisation Effectiveness

Data center operators are constantly seeking to reduce their power utilisation effectiveness (PUE) to the highly sought after 1.0 PUE ratio.

“For PUE, what we are looking at is to reduce the transmission losses of the data center, and the majority of the losses come from the cooling system and the electrical power train driving the IT and cooling systems,” said Mr. Lim.

By using the CHP gas gensets, data center operators can also significantly reduce their PUEs.

Another key component that affects the PUE ratios is the uninterruptible power supply (UPS). UPS is commonly used for power conditioning and bridging the gap between utility and diesel generators during utility failures. A typical efficiency range of a static UPS is approximately 92% – 96% without any energy storage losses.

Looking at the power requirements of modern IT equipment (ITIC CBEMA), a UPS is typically not required.

ITIC Curve

Maintenance and overhaul play a significant role in the operating cost for gas gensets. In order to effectively utilise your assets, running the genset at their upper limit continuously is required. These fundamentals are applicable for both gas genset and hydrogen fuel cells.

“The key driver for natural gas genset is that you’re buying an asset that is used 24/7, rather than just an asset that sits in its container and does nothing,” said Mr. Lim.

Therefore, with the reduction of components needed for a natural gas-powered data center, operators can reduce the cost of equipment and space required for the facilities.

At the same time the noise emission of gas genset is approximately 20% lower than conventional diesel genset.

Switching to gas gensets in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines will be very reasonable for Data Center as there will be a potential cost saving of up to 25% as compared to countries like Singapore.

“We see Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have been very good markets because of their great distribution networks for natural gas. As for the Philippines, apart from lack of gas distribution, the low gas prices in the Philippines will still make gas gensets very attractive.” added Mr. Lim.

But you may ask, ‘What about Singapore, one of the most matured data center markets in Southeast Asia?’

Mr. Lim believes that it may be difficult to operate a data center solely using gas genset in Singapore because there are limited natural gas pipelines available in Singapore. This means that the natural gas supply has to come in tube trailers form.

“If you are looking at a natural gas-powered data center, the amount of gas needed and the storage space for the gas supply to keep the generators running would be immense. It is not feasible for Singapore data center operators to utilise natural gas gensets” said Mr. Lim.

Therefore, it will take some time for Singapore to switch from diesel genset to natural gas genset.

3. Improved Electrical Infrastructure

“In order for the data centers to shift to a cleaner energy source such as natural gas or hydrogen, I think data certification boards will need to take a look at the topologies involved and the way they accredit data centers. New technologies for powertrain will drive new distribution topologies,” said Mr. Lim.

Take for example a 2.5MW gas genset in a distributed redundant basing on “¾ topology” powering up a data center. In normal operation, each of the four gas gensets will have a max loading of 75%. If a failure occurs on one of the gas gensets, the load will transfer to the others, each of the others potentially receiving a 25% load increase.

This will result in frequency drop on the gas genset because they do not handle step load as well as diesel genset. One way to get over this would be to utilise a frequency stabiliser instead of a static UPS. Or if you like, a hybrid UPS like ONE Power Solutions, which is offered by Power Partners.

“The beauty of this hybrid UPS is that we only need a frequency stabiliser of about 600 kilowatts because we’re only looking at this 25% load transferring, and energy storage required would, in theory, need to be just 10-15 seconds. This opens up the possibilities of ultracapacitors, which are a green solution as compared to lithium batteries. With their long life of 15 years, they require no recycling at the end-of-life cycle. In a traditional data center, the UPS for this unit would need to be 2.5 MW with a 10-minute lithium-ion battery,” said Mr. Lim.

“Distributed redundant, traditional 2N solution; these don’t really work with gas gensets or hydrogen fuel cells, because you really want to maximise the kWh. So, you do not want to have all that reserve power in the stationary engine just for failure transfer,” added Mr. Lim.

AWI-Genz Global’s Active Catcher Topology for gas-powered data centers could allow generators to run up to 95% load and still have reserve set to transfer to in the event of a failure. Mr. Lim predicts static switches will play an important role in new green data centers of the future.

4. Reliability

With emerging new distribution topologies, data centers powered by gas gensets can feel assured that their facilities are going to be reliable. In a current data center, the prime source of power (the diesel genset) is de-energised until required.

“Let’s think of it like driving a car. If you keep the car running all the time, you don’t have to worry about the engine starting. As we all know 99% of diesel gensets’ failures are ‘Failure to start’. The reality with diesel gensets is when you need it the most, it is most likely to let you down”, commented by Mr. Lim.

“In a de-energised system, it is very difficult to predict a failure. But when something is continually operational, you can see small changes in the telemetry that can help predict issues before they occur, so you can be more proactive on your maintenance”, said Mr. Lim.

As a part of Air Water Group who specialise in gases and liquids, AWI-Genz Global has developed its own in-house LNG storage solutions to complement and expand the resilience of the overall gas genset. Therefore, when a problem occurs with the natural gas supply, the data center will continue to run on natural gas from mobile tube trailers.

“We want to have some storage on-site as well, so that’s one thing that is unique to i-Genz that we can put in as a part of the package”, said Mr. Lim.

5. Grid Systems Stabilisation

In countries like Vietnam and Indonesia where the national grid systems may be less reliable and less environmentally-friendly, the implementation of gas generators in data centers could help stabilise the systems.

“I think a data center itself will become a microgrid in the future where all these little microgrids can link together and help one another,” said Mr. Lim.

With the increased resilience brought by gas gensets, these engines could run in parallel with the utility to not only provide power to the data center, but also to surrounding local communities.

“When you have all these little power plants running in parallel, it means that the grid itself doesn’t have to have such a large spinning reserve,” said Mr. Lim.

And with more data centers building their own power supplies, we may see data centers with gas power that is fully off the grid, enabling them to be built almost anywhere.

“Maybe we’ll even see innovation parks coming up where the data center is really the powerhouse, and there may be some office buildings around that utilise power generated from the data center. There’s a whole separate community that could be created off the grid,” predicted by Mr. Lim.

Despite the potential cost saving and environmental benefits, there is still not much support for co-generation of power in many grid systems, and this may be a sticking point in Asia.

“That’s one thing that may need to change and will have to change when renewable energies become more popular in certain countries,” posited Mr. Lim.

The trend towards renewable energy and environmentally-friendly initiatives seems to be unstoppable at this point.

“There has to be a natural progression. The easy way to progress would be straight to hydrogen power and there are solutions that we have for hydrogen fuel cells that are built for data centers,” said Mr. Lim.

At the moment there are limited hydrogen pipelines in the world. Storing hydrogen can be used as an alternative solution. However, disasters like the Hindenburg Zeppelin, a German passenger airship that exploded in May 1937, in New Jersey, USA is bringing hydrogen into disrepute.

“People are not quite ready to accept hydrogen, and the infrastructure is not there yet. But we see there is going to be a progression from diesel to something that is less damaging to the environment, which would be natural gas”, predicted by Mr. Lim.

Nevertheless, with the benefit of safety, lower cost and low emission brought by gas generators, the prolific future of natural gas-powered data centers will be inevitable.

> Discover i-Genz’s range of Gas Gensets

By Stuart Crowley, Editor

Airtel completes first phase of Open Hybrid Cloud Network with IBM and Red Hat

Bharti Airtel has completed the first phase of its Open Hybrid Cloud Network built with IBM and Red Hat solutions.

This will enable Airtel customers to build and deploy applications on the Network, enhancing performance, automation and scalability from the core to the edge.

“By adopting an open hybrid cloud network with the support of IBM and Red Hat we are building a scalable and future-ready network to serve our customers with best-in-class services,” said Randeep Sekhon, the CTO of Bharti Airtel.

The first phase of the Network includes a ‘single-click’ automated hybrid cloud design, allowing Airtel to improve and scale network connectivity to accelerate its continued core network transformation and speed in launching cloud innovations.

“Telco companies are at an inflection point in modernizing their networks and harnessing an open hybrid cloud architecture is fundamental to driving the scale, cost efficiencies, and innovation they need,” said Steve Canepa, Global Managing Director for the Communications Sector and Worldwide Head of Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment Industry at IBM.

With their most recent automation benchmarks, IBM has found that they can shorten Radio Access Network service deployment times from weeks to days and improve interoperability for ecosystem partners.

This is all achieved by building the Network on open source technology, including Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat OpenShift.

“With an open hybrid cloud architecture built on Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat OpenShift, Airtel can fuel faster innovation with greater flexibility, consistency, and agility,” said Darrell Jordan-Smith, the Senior Vice President of Industries and Global Accounts at Red Hat.

Once the Network is fully completed, it is expected to help millions of Airtel partners and customers in adopting 5G and edge computing technologies.

In the future, IBM and Airtel plan to embed AI capabilities as a core part of its network transformation.

This transformation is part of Airtel’s cloudification program to make its network agile, robust and scalable in a time when telecom operators worldwide are expected to spend over US$111 Billion by 2022 in upgrading their network cloud and platform to meet the increasing customer demand for seamless connectivity services and the exponential growth in data traffic.

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Two Singaporean cloud migration companies acquired by US private equity firm

US private equity firm I Squared Capital (ISC) has announced the acquisition and merger of Infofabrica Holdings Pte Ltd and Cloud Kinetics Tech Pte Ltd, two cloud migration services companies based in Singapore.

The acquisition was completed through ISC’s ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund II as part of its Asia Digital Infrastructure platform, a service with over 300 experienced deep tech professionals that offer cloud-based solutions to ISC’s clients.  

“The future of data and computing will be driven by the corporate adoption of hybrid cloud solutions through an orchestrated mix of on-premises infrastructure, co-location and cloud services. The combination of Infofabrica and cloud Kinetics will result in a powerful cloud migration solution provider for our clients,” said Gautam Bhandari, Managing Partner of ISC.

With the acquisition of both companies, I Squared Capital now has an accumulated total of US$2.6 billion dollars in digital infrastructure investment.

“The debate on the need for Cloud has ended after the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Haji Munshi, Group CEO of Infofabrica and Cloud Kinetics.

IDC predicts that Southeast Asia’s Cloud computing market will reach $40 billion by 2025.

“Whether businesses are developing and testing their new applications, scaling their online e-commerce offerings, or running their core business workloads, this is possible only because of the stable, scalable solutions offered by the public cloud,” said Mr. Munshi. 

“The demand for technical capability to migrate to Cloud has far outstripped supply in Asia Pacific thus far and the combined company will be a market leader in cloud migration services,” he added.

Mr. Munshi co-founded and will lead the new Asia Digital Infrastructure platform. He has held senior leadership positions at Google Cloud, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell.

“We are really pleased to be partnering with I Squared Capital, their expertise and breadth in Asia, along with existing large-scale investments in telecoms and data centers, will certainly accelerate and move us closer to our vision to be the top cloud migration and managed services provider in the region,” commented Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, Chairman of InfoFabrica.

InfoFabrica was founded in 2013, and has operations in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. Cloud Kinetics was founded in 2012, and has operations in Singapore, Thailand, and the US.

Both companies are certified partners of Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Nokia continues 5G, cloud partnership with Japan’s SoftBank

Nokia has announced that Japanese telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank has selected their 5G Core software to enable the launch of Softbank’s standalone 5G services.

Nokia’s 5G Core is developed around cloud-native and DevOps principles, which is expected to benefit SoftBank users by delivering higher connectivity, scalability, and bandwidth, all with lower latency.

“Nokia 5G Core’s near-zero-touch automation capabilities, high-level operational efficiencies, scale and performance will help SoftBank deliver advanced services and experience, and boost network reliability,” said John Lancaster-Lennox, Head of Market Unit Japan at Nokia.

SoftBank will also be leveraging two of Nokia’s cloud offerings, Cloud Mobility Manager and Cloud Mobile Gateway, to support the company’s 5G rollout.

“We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Nokia as we enable fast and reliable 5G service for our subscribers. This 5G core solution will catapult us into the next phase of our 5G transition,” said Keiichi Makizono, Senior Vice President and CIO of SoftBank.

The new partnership will aim to support new use cases, virtual and augmented reality, fixed wireless access, video surveillance and analytics, cloud robotics, and connected vehicles.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Image Credit: The Bruneian

Equinix rebrands Equinix Fabric, expands Network Edge capabilities

Equinix has announced the rebranding and upgrade of its two digital infrastructure services, Equinix Fabric and Network Edge, to respond to increasingly dynamic business needs.

Formerly Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric, the digital infrastructure interconnectivity platform is now rebranded as Equinix Fabric to more accurately reflect its current operations.

The platform now allows service providers to use it as a single interconnection approach to connect between all their physical and virtual devices located within Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers, which was previously not done before.

“No longer just about cloud connectivity, Equinix Fabric is now the new standard interconnection approach for digital leaders on Platform Equinix. The product name change we’ve made further signifies the pivotal shift in how the Equinix Fabric capabilities have Evolved,” said Bill Long, Senior Vice President of Core Product Management at Equinix.

This means that enterprises on Equinix Fabric can now directly connect with any other customer or to the world’s major cloud providers, including Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud available on Platform Equinix.

“With the pandemic accelerating the pace of digital transformation today, many enterprises are challenged with traditional infrastructure that was not built to meet the demands of a digital business world. Solving these challenges requires a new approach,” said Jennifer Cooke, Research Director, Cloud to Edge Data Center Trends at IDC.

“By deploying their digital infrastructure on Platform Equinix, many enterprises can quickly and easily achieve this today,” she added.

Physical devices located within Equinix data centers, as well as automated bare metal servers available with Equinix Metal, can also be connected with virtual devices like routers, firewalls and SD-WAN gateways available on Network Edge, thus bridging the distance between their distributed digital infrastructure.

Rakesh Inamdar, Senior Director of Core Infrastructure Services at Aon, pointed out that Aon was one of the many enterprises that benefited from Equinix’s upgrade.

With the pandemic creating a massive shift to remote work, Mr. Inamdar said that Equinix Fabric allowed their company to continue remotely without any reduction in services.

By harnessing the power of the Equinix platform, we were able to bring together and connect our core infrastructure globally, in a highly secure and cost-effective manner,” he continued.

Network Edge expands ecosystem services

Additionally, Network Edge, Equinix’s virtual network function (VNF) services ecosystem, has now made the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect virtual SD-WAN appliance available on their platform.

This means that Network Edge now has a full suite of vendor-neutral SD-WAN services, and companies are now able to deploy VNFs in real-time from multiple vendors, including Cisco, CloudGenix, Fortinet, Juniper Networks, Palo Alto Networks, and VMware.

“As enterprises advance digital transformation initiatives, a cloud-first WAN architecture is essential to an organization’s overall digital infrastructure and long-term success,” said Fraser Street, the Vice President of Technical Alliances at Silver Peak, which was recently acquired by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

Equinix’s Network Edge was adopted on Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect virtual SD-WAN appliances to enable enterprises to scale globally by virtually deploying a secure, digital-ready infrastructure at the edge.

With Equinix Fabric integration, Network Edge customers can also interconnect their virtual edge devices with cloud and network providers located in distributed global markets, extending their reach to up to thousands of new business partners around the world.

Equinix Fabric will enable customers to gain access to network service providers like AT&T, BT, Cloudflare, Colt Technology Services, HKBN and Verizon Business.

“This year has proven what we have long known, which is on-demand networking coupled with a technological ecosystem of like-minded providers is key to powering enterprises’ rapid transformations. By extending our collaboration with Equinix, together we’re giving enterprises greater agility and control over their most critical asset in today’s business landscape – their network,” said Peter Coppens, the Vice President Product Portfolio at Colt Technology Services.

Network Edge is currently available in Singapore and Sydney, and In 2021, Equinix expects to have Network Edge available in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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AirTrunk simultaneously opens data centers in Singapore and Hong Kong in a ‘world-first’

Australian hyperscale data center company AirTrunk has announced a ‘world-first’ dual opening of two new data centers in Singapore and Hong Kong, broadening its expansion into the Asia Pacific region.

Robin Khuda, founder and CEO of AirTrunk, said that the double data center opening marks a major milestone for the company.

“COVID-19 has accelerated already increasing demand for hyperscale data center infrastructure across the Asia-Pacific region. Our Hong Kong and Singapore data centers are connected, secure, and efficient homes for the cloud in Asia,” he noted.

AirTrunk SGP1, located in Singapore, is positioned close to the Changi North Cable Landing Station, near Singapore’s national airport for strong international connectivity. The data center was completed in just over a year and topped out in less than 30 weeks, with more than 1,000 people working over 1.6 million hours to complete the project.

The eight-storey AirTrunk HKG1 hyperscale data center in Hong Kong is located near Tsuen Wan, also an important hub for international connectivity.

Combined, both data centers have the capacity of 80 megawatts (MW) of IT load, allowing it to carry significant amounts of cloud backlog for some of the world’s largest companies.

Khuda also highlighted that SGP1 and HKG1, offering more than 80 MW combined, are energy efficient data centers that are designed to industry-low power usage effectiveness (PUE), with PUE ratings of 1.25 and 1.35 respectively.

“The shift to cloud-based solutions lowers total electricity consumption overheads and emissions, providing a more energy efficient solution for our customers and reducing the environmental impact,” he continued.

SGP1 and HKG1 have also met the stringent security requirements for data centers, including the PCI DSS, ISO27001, SOC2 Type 2. The facilities are also able to deploy advanced access control, threat monitoring and detection systems in their facilities.

Both the facilities now join AirTrunk’s three hyperscale data centers in Australia and a 300 MW data center in Japan that is currently under construction.

AirTrunk is backed by investment banking firm Macquarie, which acquired a majority 88% stake in the data center company for US$3 billion earlier this year.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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