Making Malaysia Great Through Digital Transformation

ASEAN sees massive growth in breaking technology and data centre cloud / colocation centres. A strong trend across Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea and so forth has emerged. Malaysia is no different experiencing a dramatic change in data centre development and expansion over the last 10 to 15 years with the likes of Alibaba Cloud entering the Malaysia market.

There has been a notable big trend over the past five to fifteen years, with more than 50% of enterprises building next-generation data centres in Malaysia. As such older facilities are continually being re-evaluated.

MDEC Initiative 

As with Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, Malaysia introduced its own initiatives through the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). In association with the Ministry of Education (MoE), MDEC announced the return of #mydigitalmaker Fair 2018 to be held at the end of September. Part of the #mydigitalmaker Movement, this Fair is an initiative to prepare the next generation for the future of work. It is designed to provide students, teachers and parents a hands-on digital experience by featuring activities such as robotics, drone-making and racing, 3D printing, career talks and digital-based competitions.

MDEC is the holistic, government-owned agency launched in 1996 to pioneer the transformation of Malaysia’s digital economy. Its roots stemmed from Vision 2020, the plan to develop Malaysia into a fully-developed nation by 2020. According to the MoE, Malaysia wants to see the youth become producers and makers of the digital world; the first step is to equip them with the right skills and thinking approach.

To support a digital economy, MDEC rolls out initiatives that revolve around four key pillars. There guiding principles are:

1. Attracting investors, globalising local tech champions

2. Catalysing industry-driven digital ecosystem

3. Building critical enablers of the digital economy

4. Driving inclusive adoption of technology

Recently I spoke with a couple of local business leaders in Malaysia; Thyaga Rajan of the Malaysian Data Centre Alliance (MDCA) and Weng-Yew Wong, of the Johor Bahru Internet Exchange.

We discussed where Malaysia is heading, what of the available talent pool, where do some of the barriers lie around technology, talent and connectivity and how does Malaysia move forward.

About Connectivity

To start, I posed the question to Weng-Yew Wong, of the Johor Bahru Internet Exchange that connectivity can be one of the more expensive aspects. How does JBIX make this more cost effective?
Weng noted that JBIX, aims to attract regional and global players to Malaysia to partake in the creation of an open connectivity ecosystem. Content owners can exchange traffic with eyeballs owners easily, enterprises can connect to cloud infrastructure directly without going through the intermediary. sure did in a big way.

Weng commented. “We hope to create a connectivity ecosystem where all members of the value chain can co-exist and collaborate to making Malaysia the alternative hub in the region.”

By directly connecting non-ISP businesses to the internet exchange supposedly provides a much better experience. So I posed the question to Weng – Can you detail how this works?
Weng informed me that the Internet is made up of a network of networks. These networks need to connect to each other in order to exchange traffic. Now if there are 10 networks which needs to connect to each other, you will need many links to interconnect them. It will be a rather costly proposition for each of them to have one link to each others. The Internet Exchange is one of the options these networks can connect to.

“By connecting to an IX, a network can reach out to all the networks who are connecting to the same IX, hence saving the need to setup one connection to each of the many networks.” Weng stated.

He further went on to say that the key activity behind the Internet Exchange is called peering. When you connect your network to an Internet Exchange, you will need to setup peering with networks which are connected to the same IX.

Peering allows two networks to interconnect and to exchange routing information and then subsequently exchange traffic. By having networks to peer directly in to an Internet Exchange, the networks can exchange traffic directly between them, hence cutting out the need of an intermediary network.

Around Barriers

Obviously with any country that is rapidly emerging in this area there must be some barriers around communications and technology and, the talent pool.

Thyaga Rajan (MDCA) considered that there were not too many barriers to entry, as the previous government were generous enough by providing extra benefits to FDI’s willing to invest and set up regional offices in Malaysia, without even considering the impact to the local players by not providing a ‘level playing field’.

However, there is no lack of talent, especially with knowledge workers noted Thyaga Rajan, but he did concede that the ‘brain drain’ has caused a vacuum in the talent pool and the best of these talents are exported to neighbouring countries like Singapore and Indonesia.

“These we need to attract back and provide incentives in order to fill the gaps in the country” he went on to say.

Looking at the current state of play with the Malaysian Data Centre landscape it was noted that with the consolidation of data centres, bigger players will acquire smaller ones and there will be foreign interest in these DC’s. Thyaga Rajan of the Malaysian Data Centre Alliance (MDCA) stated that drivers are more domestically focussed (DDI’s) rather than foreign interest (FDI’s). He further said that with the new Malaysian government, more local players will be willing to participate in government tenders as the new government is finding ways to cut operational costs by outsourcing theses services, including DC’s.

Compared to the neighbouring countries, Weng-Yew Wong explained, the cost of building connectivity infrastructure in Malaysia is much higher due to the local authority regulation which, for example, requires all cable to be buried underground with stringent policy on right of way and trenching technology.

With each telco laying their own infrastructure, this leads to the high cost of connectivity for each telco, which will in turn be passed on to the end users.

The ideal solution to this, of course, is to have a framework of infrastructure sharing among all the telcos. So far we have seen such infrastructure collaboration most apparent among mobile players. However between fixed line operators, infra collaboration is still rather limited.

Looking To The Future

As with Singapore, the location of Malaysia is very strategic in terms of its geographical position. Considering the technology market, a data centre hub and telecommunication hub would have clear advantages.

Firstly I asked Thyaga Rajan of the Malaysian Data Centre Alliance (MDCA) if looking to the future, where do you see Malaysia heading as a leading location for DC’s?

Thyaga Rajan stated that Malaysia is in a sweet spot now, as mentioned earlier, with the combination of the new government administration and the private sector working closely together to attract new businesses and investment to make Malaysia the leading location for data centres.

Having mentioned about broadband/bandwidth I then asked for a final comment from Weng-Yew Wong, of the Johor Bahru Internet Exchange about strategic positioning and posed this question about the strategy behind locating in Johor Bahru?

Weng replied that the main reason behind locating in Johor Bahru of course is due to its proximity to Singapore. “However there is also another reason, which is that there is a high proportion of Malaysian Internet traffic which is passing through JB destined to Singapore. Having an IX in JB will allow the service provider to offload portion of their traffic in JBIX before sending the rest to Singapore Weng went on to say that for many users this is a case of stopping by in JBIX on their way to Singapore. This is an easy manoeuvre and they stand to realise a great saving in their traffic cost.

For OTT players, instead of leasing expensive long haul bandwidth to KL, they can get a pair of dark fibre to connect to JBIX, and they can have a virtually unlimited capacity solution distributing their content to the eyeballs northbound from their data centre in Singapore.

Interested to know more about Malaysia’s digital market growth and opportunities? Join us at our upcoming Malaysia Convention: Cloud & Datacenters on 8 November 2018 at The Vertical, Connexion Conference & Event Center, Bangsar South. You will meet over 800 IT and business leaders and be part of an important growing ecosystem.

Email us at partner@w.media or call +65 3159 3210 and our concierge team will reach out to you

Pacific Rim – Indonesia Rising

As we know Indonesia is an emerging nation on the digital front. There have been a number of data centre builds with a handful on the island of Batam, directly across from Singapore over the Singapore Strait. Indonesia is also prone to frequent and sometimes violent seismic activity.

Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with Ka Vin Wong whom I have known for many years and thought I would ask him a few questions on where Indonesia is heading and some of the potential issues and also about he new DC build in Batam.

Within the ICT industry, Ka Vin has more than 30 years experience in Executive Management and Leadership roles. He is the Founder and Managing Director of DC1st Pte Ltd., a Singaporean company established in 2017. Immediately prior to establishing DC1st, Ka Vin served as the Managing Director of 1-Net where he led a major rebranding process, continued to grow its revenue by expanding the company’s customer base and built SEA’s 1st Uptime Tier III DCCF DC in Singapore.

With recent devastating earthquakes in the Lombok region, this brings home very clearly that DC mangers and operators need to take serious consideration to disaster recovery and more importantly to those designing and constructing a DC to be able to cope with regular and severe seismic activity.

August 5th 7.0 magnitude earthquake

August 18th 6.3 magnitude

August 19th 6.9 magnitude

August 26th 5.5 magnitude followed by a 4.9 magnitude in the afternoon

Ka Vin. Firstly, can you please provide your appraisal of where Indonesia is currently placed in the ICT and data center arenas? Compared to some of the more advanced countries around APAC.

Indonesia as a result of their decision to deregulate (within an Indonesian model) the Telco Industry some 10 years ago and couple with a political system that has shown maturity (because the government can be changed through an organised democratic process) has made significant progress economically not only within the ASEAN community of Nations but also compares well to developing Countries Globally. Indonesia, like all developing countries that has a huge Geographic land mass (by width and length Indonesia is comparable to the US of A) and a population with large economic disparity faces future challenges. Challenges that an increasing knowledgeable youthful population and fast changing global technology will enable it to raise to this challenge with aplomb. The only blind side that could dramatically disrupt this positive future is the propagation of derisive and destructive elements of hate politics!!

What does Indonesia need to do in order to bring themselves up to speed to compete in the APAC market?

Continuous stability of good politics and consistent government policies that are balanced both in terms of inward and outward focus; inward focus towards people development in both socio-political growth and balance income development. Plus, outward focus to encourage foreign investment towards critical infrastructure development that will support both the development of both the physical and digital economy of Indonesia.

Having mentioned seismic activity. Just what type of considerations are needed when building a cloud/colo data center in this region of Indonesia?

Fundamentally there are 2 broad types of disasters we need to look at:
1. Man-made
2. Nature-made

In the case of the former, the key approach is a preventive process through constant understanding of our actions and process together with developing isolation and avoidance plan to minimise these “man-made” disasters.

On the other hand, when it comes to Nature-made disasters, the key approach is recovery process. In other words, the philosophy is, when will it happen rather than if it will happen. Fortunately, it is actually much easier to setup plans for nature-made disasters than man-made disasters as we have many real reference models to work off. But unfortunately, human nature is such that because it has not happened we have an amazing tendency to procrastinate on putting together very simple and easily executable isolation and recovery plans.

So, in terms of DC’s, the basic infrastructure for the digital economy in Indonesia today does not have an effective isolation and recovery plan as 95% of all these digital assets (approx. 1million sq. feet of white space) are parked in Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor and Surabaya. They are all situated in Java and completely exposed to 3 types of “Nature-made” disasters – volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and Tsunamis. You can design a building to withstand seismic disturbance but protecting working ICT assets and ensuring that they can function after a seismic disturbance is more by luck than design of the building.

“As the Digital Economy grows, Indonesia needs to consider expanding its DC Infrastructure beyond the Java Island to enable companies both to deploy more robust plans that mitigate seismic disasters and get their Digital Services closer to their customers”

As to interruption due to volcanic eruption and Tsunami, the chances a DC can survive at or near the epicentre of these type of disasters is next to zero. In summary the only 100% workable plan for Nature-made disasters is avoidance. Develop similar infrastructure in areas that do NOT have these types of “Nature made” disasters.

Following on from that question, just how should they develop and implement disaster recovery plans to protect client assets and data?

Most customers in Indonesia that have a certified DRP that is based on a multi-location strategy should investigate if that multi-location strategy involves setting up infrastructure in 2 locations that are exposed to “nature-made” disasters and if the answer is yes, then technically the DRP is flawed. In Indonesia there are only 2 locations that are Geographically safe from ALL “nature-made” disasters; the Island of Batam and the selected area around the City of Pontianak in Kalimantan. Do note that the whole of Kalimantan is not a natural harbor against “nature-made” disasters.

Batam Island hosts a number of data centres featuring a new build. Can you please provide us with an overview of that build and what infrastructure measures have been put in place regarding seismic activity and disaster recovery.

Today Batam technically has 2 small DCs and 1 Telco meeting room and 1 small ISP center (10 racks). The DC belongs to Batam Government and hosts all the local Government ICT infrastructure and the other is a Moretel Landing Station that provides collocations to the communications industry. (ie licences telcos and ISP).

DC1st is planning to implement in Batam the first designed DC campus that would support the deployment of 2 DCs. Since Batam is free of natural disasters the focus of the design is protection against man-made disasters and physical security.

I hope my answers to all your questions have given you a good understanding of the challenges that the Indonesia Digital Economy faces. And the simple and actionable solutions that exist today for business organisations and government to take so it can minimise or even to continue to function seamlessly in spite of any nature-made disasters in Indonesia. The only thing stopping this action is procrastination or their current strategy is based on hope, a hope that “nature-made” disasters will not choose to hit my assets.

The next event sees W.Media head to

  • the Fairmont Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia for the Cloud and Datcentres Convention to be held on the 5th September 2018.
  • then to Connexion, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Malaysia’s first all-inclusive Cloud and Data Centre Event on 8th November 2018.
  • and for all those who loved the Singapore event, W.Media will be back there on 11th July 2019 for the Global Selection Convention and APAC Datacentres Convention. (ed. book your tickets early for this one)

Keen to know more about the agility in designing & operating of Data Centers – especially in the Asia Pacific Market? Data Center professionals like Spencer Denyer and over 300 data center and telco providers, end-users, consultants and system integrators across Asia Pacific will uncover all their knowledge at the Indonesia Convention: Cloud & Datacenters 2018, 5 September 2018 at Fairmont Hotel Jakarta, organised by W.Media.

Indonesia Convention’s Conference Page is also now live, our programs will keep you occupied & we have more coming along the way. Registration is also now opened for Indonesia Convention.

If you wish to visit any of the data centers in Asia, feel free to reach out to our event concierge team to plan an itinerary for you. Email partner@w.media or call +65 3159 3210 for more information.

Singapore Sling – DC / Cloud Convention Powers Forward

Marina Bay Sands Convention Center plays host to the inaugural Global Selection Convention and APAC Datacenters Convention. On the 3rd July, 2018 new startup company, W.Media launched into the data centre and cloud convention market powered by a team of long serving professional data center and technology conference/convention convenors. By having so much experience behind them, it was sure to be a success.

A global B2B technology marketing agency that specialises in PR, media and events. With founders having over 15 years of combined experience, help uplift brands through personalised experiences and engagement with the marketplace.

W.Media is a multi-hyphenated technology media organisation established by a team of experienced professionals who fully understand marketing, your business, and the industry that you serve. They help to re-position transforming businesses in the marketplace; to penetrate unique and new markets with a 360 marketing approach; to connect businesses through innovative platforms.

“Our mission at W.Media is to be leaders in building personalised customer experience and driving a new era of brand and product communication.”

So, it was no surprise that the day was very well received by delegates, sponsors and consultants alike.

As we are aware, the data centre space has changed significantly over the past decade. After a bit of a lull in the industry a few years back, we have seen a rapid growth and uptake in the colocation / cloud space. More businesses and organisations are now seeing the benefits of more secure and faster connectivity making this space all the more attractive.

The purpose of these conventions that W.Media convene, is to bring together likeminded people, such as yourselves, to explore, exchange, discover and interact with your peers and providers. And in so doing, provide you with information ideas and contacts to accomplish the best possible outcomes for your business or organisation whether you are a provider, consultant or an end user. The whole crux of it all is to gain knowledge. These conventions will help provide you with that.

OK, so let’s have a look at the details.

The convention was conducted over two large delegate halls and a expansive and spacious exhibition come meeting hall where literally hundreds of delegates could convene without stepping on each other’s toes. So much better than a lot of conferences I have seen in the past.

The conventions were dominated by a series of informative moderated discussion panels and guest speakers, some of whose topics were not directly related to the data centre or cloud space, but had some very pertinent messages around change, severe crisis management and turning failure in to success. We listened to —

  • William Hung with his motivational speech “Against all odds” has encouraged professionals who are facing challenges in the midst of the rapid transformation of data centers and IT. You may remember him from his failed audition in 2004 at the American Idol contest.
  • Mohd Fuad Sharuji who is the Vice President Operations Control Centre for Malaysia Airlines with his very moving keynote presentation about the crisis management of the MH370 and MH17 disasters
  • Karen Leung who is a regular feature on television, radio and print. Karen’s keynote topic, “Thriving on Change in a Disruptive World” epitomise the agenda of this year’s Global Selection Convention 2018.
  • Mr Zhong Jinghua Chairman of the China Data Center Committee (CDCC) & Vice-Chairman of Professional Information Communication Commission of China Association for Engineering Construction Standardization (CECS) who was a very rare inclusion indeed.

The line-up of top speakers across APAC throughout the conference was a credit to the organising committee and their ability to source some of the best that APAC has to offer.

Other informative speakers and panel sessions included —

  • Market Insights to Data Center Growth and Trends 2018-2023
  • Data Center Site Selection & Key Considerations across Japan, South Korea and China
  • Selecting Cloud and Data Centres
  • The future of Data Centres
  • Revival of the Ageing Data Centers in Asia Pacific
  • Hyperscale Data Center Design & Operations in China
  • Operation Pitfalls and Successes in Data Center Migration and Disaster Recovery

Some further innovation to this convention saw the introduction of a technology bench with scheduled times for delegates to speak with and view demonstrations put on by the various sponsors. There was also a media centre in the exhibition hall where a series of public interviews were held.

To round off, the convention saw in excess of 700 professional delegates in attendance and 33 well recognised sponsors supporting the event.

I had the opportunity to walk around the exhibition hall and chat with all the sponsors and a number of senior level and operational delegates and consultants. The consensus was all the same that the event was great, a huge success for an inaugural convention.

To sum it up, from the mouth of a Multinational FSI —-

“The standalone speakers were really good, really well presented and informative with good ideas and background. I think the Malaysia Airlines was a fantastic presentation… It’s these types of cross business insights that add real value to a DC conference”

– Head TS Infrastructure Services, Data Centre Services

The next event sees W.Media head to

  • the Fairmont Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia for the Cloud and Datcentres Convention to be held on the 5th September 2018.
  • then to Connexion, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Malaysia’s first all-inclusive Cloud and Data Centre Event on 8th November 2018.
  • and for all those who loved the Singapore event, W.Media will be back there on 11th July 2019 for the Global Selection Convention and APAC Datacentres Convention. (ed. book your tickets early for this one)

Keen to know more about the agility in designing & operating of Data Centers – especially in the Asia Pacific Market? Data Center professionals like Spencer Denyer and over 300 data center and telco providers, end-users, consultants and system integrators across Asia Pacific will uncover all their knowledge at the Indonesia Convention: Cloud & Datacenters 2018, 5 September 2018 at Fairmont Hotel Jakarta, organised by W.Media.

Indonesia Convention’s Conference Page is also now live, our programs will keep you occupied & we have more coming along the way. Registration is also now opened for Indonesia Convention.

If you wish to visit any of the data centers in Asia, feel free to reach out to our event concierge team to plan an itinerary for you. Email partner@w.media or call +65 3159 3210 for more information.

NTT Plans DC Campus In Mumbai – Solar-Wind energy reduces power bills

Japan’s NTT Communications is planning a Datacentre (DC) campus in Navi Mumbai and a 60-MW solar plant, citing strong US$7 billion a year demand for DC-based facilities by 2020 in India.

“Demand is at an all-time high,” said Sunil Gupta, Executive Director and President of Netmagic Solutions, NTT’s Indian unit.

The Indian DC market is projected to be about US$7 billion a year in 2020, up from this year’s US$4.5 billion and more than triple from 2016’s US$2 billion, said Gupta in a presentation at the APAC Datacentres Convention 2018 held 3 July 2018.

“The DC demand is driven by e-commerce boom and a growing economy,” he said, citing the reasons for further expanding NTT’s presence in India through Netmagic which operates nine centres in Mumbai, Bengalore and Chennai.

The DCs campus, a cluster of dedicated high-security buildings hosting data processing facilities of business houses, is a long-term investment as Netmagic’s existing nine centres are almost fully occupied.

This month, NTT is launching a data centre each in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The campus will offer DC buildings to cope with fast expanding demand from global business as well as India’s smart city programme, said Gupta.

The solar plant will be dedicated to Netmagic’s DCs in Mumbai in a way to cut power costs.

The solar electricity is cost-effective as such plants enjoy government’s incentives for green energy and would help reduce the power bill of Netmagic, which is currently consuming over 40-MW of a mixed grid-electricity with wind and solar energy at Mumbai facilities.

One of Netmagic’s Chennai DC is fully run on a 3-MW solar plant, he added.

Managing power is one of the biggest challenges for DC operators, he pointed out, adding that solar and wind energies, with incentives and lower tariff rates, make the business more competitive.

The Indian IT sector has captured 67 per cent of the US$130 billion IT market, said Gupta, citing industry-wide estimates.

“Newer technologies are leading to more centralization of compute and content,” he said.

Going forward, Gupta see insatiable demand from India’s Smart City developments where sensor-based facilities will be sending back data to dedicated DCs for safe and secure processing.

The enormous flow of data from Smart Cities will create more demand for DC campus, believes Gupta.

To date, India has 141 DCs in 22 locations, with 90 per cent of the space at Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Pune and Hyderabad.

Source: fiinews.com

Keen to know more about the agility in designing & operating of Data Centers – especially in the Asia Pacific Market? Data Center professionals like Spencer Denyer and over 300 data center and telco providers, end-users, consultants and system integrators across Asia Pacific will uncover all their knowledge at the Indonesia Convention: Cloud & Datacenters 2018, 5 September 2018 at Fairmont Hotel Jakarta, organised by W.Media.

Indonesia Convention’s Conference Page is also now live, our programs will keep you occupied & we have more coming along the way. Registration is also now opened for Indonesia Convention.

If you wish to visit any of the data centers in Asia, feel free to reach out to our event concierge team to plan an itinerary for you. Email partner@w.media or call +65 3159 3210 for more information.

The Rapid Journey of Colocation and Cloud Re-location

The transformation to colocations and cloud has been touted as being dramatic, somewhat controversial and an earth-changing direction! Sure, there is a lot to consider going down the colocation/cloud path. But, getting away from the numerous new buzzwords created being associated with this, just what are the real touch-points, the real underlying issues that accompany such a move that are oblivious to the end users.

Back in 2009 at a Data Centre conference in Hong Kong, I provided the closing address as conference Chairperson and noted to the audience ‘watch this space’ for the following emerging trends; Solid State Storage devices (SSD) and Cloud Computing.

At that time, the cost in Singapore was around 18-23 cents per kWh compared to Australia’s around 8 cents per kWh. Due to privatisation of our energy generation and supply in Australia, that cost is now up to 28 – 30 cents per kWh, plus annual rises, for instance in 2018 which ranges from 10-12%. Yet today in Singapore it has remained very much the same at around 21-22 cents. So, with rises of over 400% in Australia over the space of 9 years, we can see why technology must advance to address these issues and for strategising the way data centres are built and used these days. Hence, the move to colocation and cloud services.

The late 90’s and early 00’s saw the advancement in network bandwidth, making it possible to provide reliable and fast network speed to account for the rapid exponential grow of the size of data. Particularly with the rapid and expanding uptake of smart device technology, social media and the ‘need’ for much higher resolution images across the private and commercial sectors.

From 2012, the colocation/cloud sector has taken off in all directions adding a number of new challenges such as competition within the operators themselves, the public cloud and some providers business strategy that solely focus on winning the business of wholesale space as compared to retail space buyers.

What are the reasons for heading down the colocation/cloud path?

Whether public, commercial or private, colocation facilities are built for a purpose. These facilities provide heightened power, cooling, generators, network topology, redundancy, back-up process, access and security systems to a Tier 3 or Tier 4 standard. They will have robust management, operational and legal standards in place with guaranteed and agreed Service Level Agreements.

An organisation’s compute environment can grow considerably, thus quickly becoming quite complex and problematic to manage. Have someone else manage your physical compute requirement and those that can take advantage of a cloud’s SaaS (software as a service) offering will reduce the complexities and problems when leaving to another’s management. This leaves the organisation with the ability to focus on their core business.

The first and most crucial touch-point of a colocation/cloud environment – Network connectivity and bandwidth.

Network topology and design have become far more secure, providing a ‘peace of mind’ and confidence to the end user with dynamic bandwith and consistency. It has become much more agile and with smart scalable layout design, additions and removals as growth inside the data centre changes, occurs without disruption to the business. It must be able to meet your current and future needs.

The second touchpoint, and people may disagree with me here, but as someone who has designed and built data centres and been responsible for the management of a number of data centre facilities over many years, scalability and flexibility of the data centre infrastructure is paramount. Is the data centre going to be able to meet your physical needs in 5 years time? Ten years time?

To either host your compute environment or to host your applications and data, the physical infrastructure needs to have components of scalability, flexibility or modularity.

Do you combine with others to build your own colocation? Or do you find a commercial provider? It is critical, like in most things, to perform a thorough due diligence.

From 2005 to the end of 2008, I was brought in and employed by the University of Melbourne to sort out their data centre needs. Cutting a long story short, I designed a Type 1/Tier 3 facility that was constructed. In 2007/2008, we embarked on the prospects of further expanding down the colocation path with other universities. As such, I was one of the principals of the Victorian Universities collaborative data centre steering committee. The three Universities involved were the University of Melbourne, Monash University and RMIT (The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology).

The purpose was to: –

  1. Rationalise and combine into a single facility
  2. Reduce the carbon footprint through further improved DC design and the shared use of the most up-to-date energy efficient technology
  3. The ability to cut escalating energy useage and costs, thus indirectly providing a greener environment was able to be achieved
  4. Construction cost would be greatly reduced by millions of dollars
  5. The overhead of managing and maintaining several other facilities would also be greatly reduced
  6. Reduction in staffing

Reduction of staffing is one of those controversial areas with the colocation or cloud relocation option. It is a simple fact that staff requirements from three different organisations would not be required to manage one facility since a single management group would be created. The savings in salaries alone would potentially exceed $1 million dollars annually. My initial basic considerations was for a data centre to be flexible, scalable and modular, thus enabling it to expand without rebuilds or adds on. Therefore, the data centre could grow to the needs of all stakeholders without disruption.

Some basic agreed high-level goals were established:-

  1. To save money for all parties
  2. Improve service levels by improving the data centre infrastructure
  3. To learn from each other
  4. To establish a mutually beneficial partnership, perhaps leading to further joint projects and more savings

Venturing down the private, self-managed colocation path required extensive consultation, planning, and negotiation. Some of the key areas addressed on top of infrastructure, network and power as previously mentioned, are as citied below.

Different considerations are required compared to engaging with a commercial provider:-

  1. Respect for differing stakeholder business processes
  2. Internal and combined Service Level Agreements
  3. Security and access control
  4. Geographical location
  5. Dispute resolution
  6. Operational management and escalation procedures
  7. Agreement severance
  8. Cost charging regime
  9. Change management both individual and combined
  10. Governance structure

It is important to note the governance structure is different when engaging with a commercial provider.

Late September 2009 saw the availability of the first stage of the data centre for network establishment, testing and commissioning. From January 2010, relocation of systems to the facility commenced.

This colocation/cloud arrangement is internally managed and not outsourced to a third party provider, giving internal control and management via a legally binding collaborative agreement between the three universities. There are a number of benefits to this approach, such as removing a number of unknowns from a commercial option.

Craig Brew, Managing Director of IPP Consulting noted the ‘uncertainty’ by a commercial provider might be, for instance, sold to a foreign entity, system redundancy reduced to save cost, market share is dropping and there are no plans to develop the product to meet new standards, the company is about to go into liquidation which meant you may lose your service – and potentially your data as well.

Apart from power, some other considerations are; commercial provider financials, SDLC planning, infrastructure redundancy, infrastructure lifecycle status, network communication redundancy, reliance upon third-party software, hardware and services themselves, ownership structure, market share, and viability, guaranteed Service Level Agreements.

The first important consideration to make before embarking on any project like this is to ask yourself, why? Perform a business analysis and cost analysis comparison and then undertake a comprehensive due diligence process. After that, ask yourself again, is this going to be of a strategic and financial benefit?

 

Keen to know more about what the Global IT Infrastructure professionals are concerned with? Join 500 senior executives and hear from experts like Spencer Denyer at the World’s first ever event for Data Center, Cloud and Connectivity buyers – the Global Selection Convention 2018, organised by W.Media.

See how hyperscalers, banks, government, ecommerce, etc. make their decisions differently. As well as key datacenter and cloud providers showcasing their global footprint and expertise at our unique thought leadership sessions.

If you wish to visit any of the data centers in Asia, feel free to reach out to our event concierge team to plan an itinerary for you. Email partner@w.media or call +65 3159 3210 for more information.

Opinion: Are Data Centers Heading Towards Commoditization?

Opinion: Are Data Centers Heading Towards Commoditization?

With product, quality and price deemed increasingly uniform, it is easy to assume that data centers could be on road to becoming a commodity like laptops.

Singapore boosts over 50 data centers of Tier-3 standard and a highly stable power grid in its small land area. With plots of land available in Tanjong Kling, previously better known as the Data Center Park, and with data center projects starting around the island, competition is deemed to be intensified by most.

Apart from the vast supply, the rise of Cloud adoption and virtualization have resulted in ultimate end-users being immune in looking into the base structure, and instead, to believe that they are well covered in terms of resiliency.

Not quite yet – space and power

On the surface, and to many end-users, it is easy to think that data centers in Singapore today are commodity, and that it is just a matter of price.

There is a strong segment of end-users where their IT needs surge unpredictably. Being capable of providing suitable space and power when they need it is key to the successful growth of a data center business today. As one might say – it is about who can build faster and cheaper to grow with their customers.

Not quite yet – connectivity and service levels

For end-user segments such as gaming companies, and Cloud and content providers, connectivity of the data center is a primary consideration, and there is where they tend to spend their bulk of IT budget.

Across the board, service level and professional standard of the provider is absolutely important to end-users. Although the data center market in Singapore has seen new aggressive players offering low pricing, most buyers are still cautious and savvy in evaluating the best balance of price and quality.

Many data centers have also sought to differentiate themselves by offering a range of additional services such as remote-hands and cybersecurity; varying from IaaS to SaaS. Against competition, being flexible is also key. While impossible in the past, today’s data centers could go to the extent of covering migration costs and offer flexible pricing model.

If any, it would be the Cloud services first

There is still available land in Singapore for data center builds. However, high upfront investment, time required for data center builds and strong incumbents make the barriers to entry for new supply high.

Comparatively, barriers to entry for Cloud services are low. One virtual machine is the same as next, and the ability to scale is relatively the same. Neither is their set up of infrastructure as complicated as that of a data center build. With that, maturity of Cloud adoption may make Cloud services the next commodity with their margins competed away.

Till then, plan, choose and negotiate wisely. Afterall, data centers are the base structure regardless of Cloud adoption.

Keen to know how Cloud would do in the rest of the world? Join 500 senior executives and hear from experts like our co-founder at the World’s first ever event for Data Center, Cloud and Connectivity buyers – the Global Selection Convention 2018, organised by W.Media.

See how hyperscalers, banks, government, ecommerce, etc. make their decisions differently. As well as key datacenter and cloud providers showcasing their global footprint and expertise at APAC DC 2018 and our unique thought leadership sessions.

Unless you wish to visit any of the data centers in Asia, then to feel free reach out at our event concierge team to plan an itinerary for you.

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