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Singapore Government looks to accelerate digitalisation and tackle COVID-19 with $3.5 billion ICT spend increase

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Singapore Government looks to accelerate digitalisation and tackle COVID-19 with $3.5 billion ICT spend increase

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Singapore Government looks to accelerate digitalisation and tackle COVID-19 with $3.5 billion ICT spend increase

The Singapore Government has announced it will spend $3.5 billion on information and communications technology in 2020 to accelerate digitalisation and support businesses.

This is an increase of 30% from 2019’s spend of $2.7 billion. The money will be used to help citizens and workers in Singapore resume normal activities, said the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) in a press release on Monday 8 June.

Mr Kok Ping Soon, the Chief Executive of GovTech, said: “As we take on the new normal of COVID-19, we are re-engineering our back-end digital infrastructure, which underpins the delivery of front-end government digital services to citizens, businesses and public officers.”

The movement to digitally transform Singapore has been going on for quite some time by developing plans for the Future Economy and investing heavily to upgrade workers through SkillsFuture, digitalising the public and private sectors and building innovation capabilities. 

Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, addressed the nation on Sunday 7 June: “All this has enabled us to stand out in Asia and the world. Nobody can predict what exactly the world will look like after COVID-19 but however things turn out, these Future Economy strategies will stand us in good stead.”

Singapore’s modernised digital infrastructure helps to fight COVID-19

The Singapore Government’s investment in digitalisation, focusing on leveraging cloud and modernising ICT infrastructure, has been instrumental in the country’s technological response to the pandemic.

By using cloud infrastructure, GovTech engineers were able to build the TraceTogether contact tracing application and wearable technology. 

The wearable technology known as the TraceTogether token has been met with controversy, as some online have labelled this a “GPS tracking device”.

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is in charge of Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative, reassured users in a press conference: “It is not a tracking device. There is no GPS chip on the device. There isn’t even any Internet or mobile telephone connectivity.”

The data on the device is ‘only bluetooth proximity data’, which is encrypted and stays on the device. The data is only uploaded to the Ministry of Health if a user tests positive for COVID-19.

Along with TraceTogether, the Government has also used digital infrastructures and artificial intelligence to roll out services, including SafeEntry for a National Digital Check-in System, MaskGoWhere to help Singaporeans find mask collection points and SPOTON to support safe social distancing operations using an AI-powered robot.

GovTech said: “By modernising its ICT infrastructure, the Government enabled the large number of public officers to continue to serve the public by working from home seamlessly, aided by digital tools.”

The pandemic accelerated digitalisation plans in Singapore

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought forward ICT projects by agencies, including tech solutions to the pandemic as well as Sport Singapore’s ActiveSG Circle, which was launched in April 2020.

The Active SG Circle initiative looks to elevate the sporting industry in Singapore by offering a ‘virtual super sport club’ with a ‘rich repository to inspire and enable citizens to live better and maintain their active lifestyles’ beyond the pandemic.

On top of this, the Singapore Government will carry forward digitalisation for the whole nation by investing heavily in projects like the National Digital Identity and Moments of Life, which will integrate public services onto a single digital platform.

Migration of eligible ICT systems onto commercial cloud will continue as part of the five-year Government on Commercial Cloud initiative that began in 2018. The Digital Workplace Programme will also encourage modernisation of ICT infrastructures, which hopes to empower public officers.

Supporting the digital transformation of Singapore’s SMEs

As part of the Government’s increase in ICT spending, small and medium-sized enterprises will be eligible to participate in 80% of these potential procurement opportunities.

The Government will put up bulk tenders with a projected value of $1.2 billion with the hopes of broadening the chance for SMEs to participate in and win ICT contracts with government agencies.

GovTech has sought to streamline and improve SMEs access to these opportunities by working with the Ministry of Finance to incorporate dynamic contracting and shortening the ICT procurement process.

Bulk tenders will include services such as User Experience Design, Agile Development, Application Development, Data Science, AI and more.

In the last financial year, SMEs were awarded nearly 70% of the total ICT contracts.

SimplifyNext was awarded the robotics process automation bulk tender for the whole of the Singapore Government. Their work looked to help customers deploy software that automated business processes.

“Unlike larger companies, SMEs like us have limited resources and we used to spend more time trying to win contracts than to deliver them,” said Mayank Gupta, the Managing Director of SimplifyNext.

The bulk tender has since helped SimplifyNext open many doors for the company to do business with Government agencies.

Strengthening the future tech community and digital economy

GovTech has set up a number of initiatives to strengthen the technology community.

The Singapore Government Developer Portal has been soft-launched in order to help developers learn more about GovTech’s products and how they can work to co-create digital solutions with the agency.

GovTech said: “The portal will be a platform for the tech community to engage and share ideas on technology and their possible applications for public good.”

The technology community will also be given the chance to strengthen their engagement through more STACK-X meet-ups, which focus on topics like Cybersecurity, Cloud Strategy, Data Science, User Experience Design and Software Engineering.

To further develop the community and accelerate the pace of digitalisation in Singapore, GovTech is actively recruiting fresh graduates and experienced technology professionals as part of the SGUnited Jobs initiative.

There are currently more than 400 vacancies available in roles such as software engineers, digital business analysts, cybersecurity specialists, data scientists, AI engineers and infrastructure specialists.

This search for talent will be enhanced by GovTech’s five-week recruitment drive known as TechHunt to find ‘applicants who believe in tech for public good’.

Overall, the Government’s ICT expenditure will focus on five key areas to accelerate digitalisation in Singapore:

  • Development of new tech tools to respond to COVID-19
  • Development of citizen- and business-centric digital services
  • Development of ICT systems on cloud
  • Modernisation of government ICT infrastructure
  • Use of data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors within the public sector.

More details on the Government’s digitalisation efforts and areas for spending will be provided from Wednesday 10 June onwards.

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With the vast digitalisation and empowerment of cloud migration taking place in Singapore, businesses will need to choose the best place to store and process their data for optimum operational efficiency and innovation.

Whether you’re migrating to a different system or choosing one for the first time, you will need to ask yourself a number of questions. Should you choose one that’s closer or further away? Will it allow me to scale? Is it reliably powered?

We will answer all these questions and more at our ‘Data Center Selection & Migration in Asia Pacific’ digital event on Thursday 23 July.

Register for free today to find out which data center is best for you.

Get involved in conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn and Facebook using #WMediaEvent!

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New security system using AI and cloud technology looks to reduce car theft and greenhouse gas emissions in Thailand

New security system using AI and cloud technology looks to reduce car theft and greenhouse gas emissions in Thailand

By | Cloud, Cybersecurity, News
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New security system using AI and cloud technology looks to reduce car theft and greenhouse gas emissions in Thailand

Frasers Property Thailand has launched a new innovative security system that uses artificial intelligence and cloud databases in the hopes of reducing car theft and greenhouse gas emissions.

The project known as Dashway equips CCTV cameras with the ability to recognise license plates, predict traffic density and calculate exhaust emissions in real-time.

These enhanced security abilities to keep Thailand safe from premise intrusions and parking violations are powered by machine learning embedded in cloud databases.

Dashway’s data visualisation displays information on traffic density and exhaust emissions.

Display license plate recognition information and classification of cars enter-exit

Yan Khek Wee, the EVP of Investment Property for Frasers Property Thailand, said: “Dashway helps to reduce our operation costs and also provides a seamless experience to our customers.”

The project will be deployed for the first time at Frasers Property Logistics Park to solve the problem of manually handling site security of the facility that accommodates more than 2,000 vehicles per day.

Dashway will provide a non-intrusive experience for customers by deploying Automatic License Plate Recognition technology connected to barrier gates, allowing authorised personnel into the park and reducing traffic congestion.

The project’s Automatic Intruder Detection technology captures 360-degree movement

Geo-fencing technology (GFA)

The cloud database will store information on the types of vehicles to enable predictive analysis and even a future use for targeted advertising.

The project provides real-time notifications to security teams and visualisations of the data to help keep Thailand safe from car theft and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This article is produced in partnership with TCC Tech.

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National University of Singapore looks to make data centers the coolest, but not the coldest with sustainable hybrid solution

National University of Singapore looks to make data centers the coolest, but not the coldest with sustainable hybrid solution

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National University of Singapore looks to make data centers the coolest, but not the coldest with sustainable hybrid solution

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has successfully completed test-bedding for their high-efficiency hybrid cooling solution for green data centers.

The solution achieved a partial power usage effectiveness (pPUE) score of approximately 1.2 with the scope of dropping below an impressive 1.1, close to the ideal score of 1.

Google, for example, has an average PUE score of 1.11, but boasts a score as low as 1.06 using narrower boundaries.

“The power densities of servers are getting higher and higher with every new generation, so much so that air cooling will one day no longer be effective in dealing with the amount of heat generated by the chips,” said Professor PS Lee, the Programme Director of Cooling Energy Science and Technology at NUS.

The University is in discussion with data center operators to quantify the actual energy and cost saving potential of the solution by conducting comparative studies against air-cooled servers in real-world environments.

Prof. Lee added: “The system as it is, is ready for commercial deployment.  We are open to various commercialisation possibilities, such as licensing of our technology and providing consultation services on heat sink or cold plate designs.”

Professor Lee has incorporated a company known as CoolestDC Pte Ltd to enable the commercial deployment of the hybrid cooling solution.

In the testing phase, the pPUE measured was for just one rack of 20 servers with a simple control, so there is scope to drop below an impressive 1.1 after scaling up, correctly sizing equipment and using smart controls like AI.

Prof. Lee said: “With implementation of machine learning and artificial intelligence using big data, the system would be able to predict and automatically adjust to meet cooling requirements and the system capacity, based on the trend of compute load and weather conditions. This can minimize the power consumption of the cooling equipment.”

How does the National University of Singapore’s hybrid cooling solution work?

The hybrid cooling solution involves separating the cooling process based on heat dissipation of the components on the server. The high heat dissipation components such as the CPUs and GPUs are liquid-cooled using a high-performance oblique-fin heat sink, while those that dissipate low heat are air-cooled.

By operating at warmer temperatures above the ambient air temperature, the solution eliminates the need for ‘two of the most energy consuming pieces of equipment in the data center’, as a cooled water supply created via a chiller or air conditioning using a computer room air conditioning (CRAC) unit is not required.

“For air-cooled DC, given that air is inherently a lousy heat transfer medium, there is a limit on how high the inlet air temperature can go before the reliability of electronics gets affected,” said Dr Lee.

With the removal of a CRAC, raised floors and overhead plenums can be eliminated, resulting in less mechanical and electrical maintenance, the potential for lower costs and a quicker construction of a data center.

Prof. Lee added: “Our high performance liquid or two-phase cooled DC allows the inlet fluid temperature to be pushed much higher, making it viable for waste heat recovery and reuse.”

The oblique-fin heat sinks are also said to be able to provide better cooling to servers, making them more efficient, contributing to additional savings of ITE power.

The system is designed to be highly flexible to make use of existing infrastructures like hot-aisles and cooling towers and be deployed in new and brownfield data centers with minimal additional capital expenditure.

As a result of lower energy consumption PUE scores, the hybrid cooling solution could help data centers meet the Singapore Green Data Centre Standards.

Prof. Lee strongly believes the time is now for data center operators and server manufacturers to start using or getting prepared to use liquid-cooled services.

The three big wins from Professor Lee’s testing include:

  • The ‘world’s highest performance liquid cooling technology
  • A Power Usage Effectiveness score of <1.1
  • 40% server power savings and substantial performance improvement.

What’s next for NUS?

Works are underway at NUS for the next generation leakage-free, server-level cooling solution, which employs on-demand two-phase cooling based on the compute load of the servers.

Prof. Lee said: “This revolutionary solution is highly reconfigurable and can be deployed in both new and brownfield DCs.”

NUS is also looking to adopt deep reinforcement learning algorithms to provide smart control to their hybrid cooling systems. Prof. Lee hopes this will lead to optimum data center operations that balance reliability, energy consumption, carbon footprint and cost.

In another project unrelated to Prof. Lee’s projects, Keppel Data Centres is working with NUS to develop new prototypes that cool data centers and reduce their carbon footprint by harnessing cold energy released from the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) regasification process after entering into a partnership in 2019.

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Is Asia Pacific at risk of losing out on post-pandemic economic recovery by not leveraging on next-generation cloud computing?

Is Asia Pacific at risk of losing out on post-pandemic economic recovery by not leveraging on next-generation cloud computing?

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Is Asia Pacific at risk of losing out on post-pandemic economic recovery by not leveraging on next-generation cloud computing?

The Asia Cloud Computing Association revealed markets in Asia Pacific risk losing out on post-pandemic economic recovery by not taking advantage of next-generation cloud computing technologies.

In the current economic climate affected by the pandemic, some markets seem to have paused on technology and digital infrastructure investments, despite cloud readiness advancing in APAC.

The Executive Director of the Asia Cloud Computing Association, May-Ann Lim, said: “These observations are of concern to us at the ACCA.”

The findings were detailed in the ACCA’s 2020 Cloud Readiness Index. The CRI 2020 discovered that some of the hardest-hit economies with high infection rates were also some of the top scorers, including Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Ms Lim added: “Cloud readiness and adoption is very intimately linked with economic recovery from COVID-19, mainly because cloud readiness is a measure of digital resilience.”

Cloud computing technologies in Asia have seen an increase in usage as a result of work from home orders caused by the pandemic.

While cloud readiness scores advanced for all 14 economies in APAC, the lowest scores were found in Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and China.

“Every economy has been impacted, and everyone would have had some slowdown of the economy, but I would say that cloud readiness is one of the measures which would contribute to a faster economic recovery,” said Ms Lim.

The low scores were found due to many economies’ fragile core capabilities in managing natural risks, privacy and cybersecurity.

Ms Lim added: “[Markets] have decided to put in regulatory restrictions around data flows at a time when the freedom to use cloud productivity tools is needed the most to recover from the economic fallout from COVID-19.”

These data localisation regulations enforced by governing bodies obstruct cross-border data flows and international connectivity required to empower the use of global cloud applications and growth of digital businesses.

The ACCA’s Cloud Readiness Index ranked 14 countries in Asia Pacific against parameters, including international connectivity, power sustainability, data center risk and cybersecurity.

Here are some highlights and recommendations to increase cloud readiness across the region.

South Korea rises through the ranks

South Korea moved up to fifth place in 2020 from seventh in 2018. The Land of the Morning Calm saw notable improvements in privacy, cybersecurity and regulatory environment, but a significant fall in data center risk and a low score in international connectivity.

Data center risk consists of natural hazards, terrorism, the quality of electricity supplies, airport connectivity and more defined by TRPC Data Center Security Risk Index.

Digital Realty, a leading global provider of data center, colocation and interconnection solutions, is set to enter into South Korea with their first carrier-neutral facility in Seoul. Following its completion in 2021, the data center will aim to boost the country’s digital economy.

Digital Realty CEO, A. William Stein, said: “South Korea is incredibly well positioned as a digital hub and center for innovation within the region, given the growing global demand for big data, mobile services and connected devices.”

> Register now for Digital Realty’s historic virtual Seoul Data Center Launch

The Asia Cloud Computing Association believes the strict data localisation rules of the Korea Internet & Security Agency has slowed the availability of cloud services, despite their Cloud Computing Act in 2015 and investments to empower digital transformation through AI and 5G. As a result, only five cloud service providers have received cloud security certifications required to provide services to the public sector, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and LG CNS.

Indonesia sees a drop, despite a promising digital economy

Indonesia was described as a highly promising and dynamic digital economy. 

But the ‘Emerald of the Equator’ dropped one position to 12th due to its fall in broadband quality and little improvements in parameters apart from connectivity and cybersecurity.

Upcoming updated cybersecurity and data protection laws in Indonesia may help the country rise in the rankings by harmonising the fragmented regulation environment that exists, empowering businesses to adopt and develop new technology.

Despite relaxed data regulations, the country is also expected to experience investments worth over US1$ billion and an annual growth rate of 11% in the data center market, driven by the rise in cloud adoption.

Malaysia stays solid, but regulations slow progress

The good and possibly not so good news for Malaysia is that it was the only APAC economy not to move in the rankings since 2014, retaining its 8th place position.

The country saw sharp improvements in many parameters this year, including connectivity, energy sustainability, data center risk and connectivity. 

The Government has been active in encouraging cloud adoption by creating a data exchange hub for ministries, plans for smart cities and a digital identity platform known as MyIdentity.

But Malaysia was left in the same position due to restrictions caused by the regulatory environment, privacy laws and intellectual property protection.

The country’s position may begin to improve once it begins to tackle cybersecurity issues and educates younger generations on cloud computing.

The Philippines’ Cloud First policy couldn’t break its fall

The Philippines fell from 9th in 2018 to 11th in 2020. 

Weaker international connectivity, sustainable energy, data center risk and cloud security were amongst the reasons for this drop. 

The fall could not be saved by the country’s ‘Cloud First’ policy and regulations launched in 2017, which is still in the implementation stages today.

There may be hope for the Philippines with more connectivity coming from DITO’s new data center and an e-store to help agencies compare cloud services expected to be released this year and renewed optimism for improving broadband connectivity with initiatives like the Philippine Digital Transformation Strategy.

Singapore loses first place to Hong Kong

The Little Red Dot lost the top spot to Hong Kong in the CRI rankings, falling to second place.

Singapore missed out on first place after seeing falls in international connectivity and freedom of information beyond second place in these parameters.

The country’s proposals for floating data centers could boost its position once again by overcoming the struggles in connectivity, land sparsity and property prices

On the other hand, broadband quality and regulatory environment in cybersecurity and data protection remained strong for the country, with a progressive approach to technology.

The ACCA predicts that Singapore’s top-down approach and weaknesses in cloud governance might hinder digital competitiveness in the future, as it may struggle with adopting new technology like 5G and Internet of Things in a nimble, fast paced manner.

Could Singapore lose its top spots to emerging markets that can take advantage of these technologies and leapfrog the competition?

Thailand could be on the verge of greatness

Thailand has improved its position to ninth place after bettering its international connectivity, data center risk and privacy policies. But with improvements in connectivity and getting more of the population online comes falls in broadband quality and energy sustainability.

The ACCA predicts that Thailand is ‘on the verge of “leapfrogging” ahead of more mature economies’, but creating a flexible regulatory landscape and market dominance from tech giants over smaller, local startups might slow down the country’s digital economy.

Support for cloud readiness may come from the Thai Government after its announcement to approve funding for a $146m state cloud and data center. This will include cloud computing courses for 2,500 government officials.

Vietnam remains in last place

For the third consecutive Index, Vietnam has placed last out of 14 countries in APAC.

While the country does not rank in last place for all parameters, it has fallen behind on international connectivity, data center risk and its difficult to coordinate regulatory environment. Yet, these parameters could be improved following the completion of the country’s biggest data center by FPT Telecom.

However, Vietnam is making strides to improve its sustainable energy and cybersecurity, which is a good sign, as the country looks to power its own Silicon Valley with billion dollar investments.

How can we strengthen cloud computing readiness across Asia Pacific?

Cloud readiness enables industries and markets to get ahead of mature economies by taking advantage of ‘leapfrog’ technologies like 5G, Internet of Things, AI, automated devices, and more.

Since 2018, there has also been no new ‘Cloud First’ policies launched in any country in Asia Pacific even though these measures are recognised as the key driver for digital economies looking to harness the technological advancements empowered by cloud computing.

The ACCA recommended that those economies with ‘Cloud First’ policies focus on making them a reality, while those without these initiatives should consider doing so by supporting cloud vendor accreditation schemes and guidelines for security standards.

The cybersecurity shortcomings of one economy also jeopardise the economic dynamism of another, therefore, countries in APAC should consider aligning cybersecurity regulations with a harmonised approach.

We have seen many countries begin to adopt 5G and make investments in AI, but data localisation measures are restrictive of cloud technology and the free, inexpensive, uncomplicated flow of data across borders.

Ms Lim suggested that we need a cross-disciplinary team to provide review and advice to cross-border trade discussions. This would include both trade negotiators and cybersecurity experts, as well as the borders and customs department.

“A starting point would be to establish a structured cross-border data flow framework for data, such as the APEC CBPR. However, the discussion of cross-border data flows needs to be expanded beyond just APEC economies, and move into some other forums which include all digital economies,” said Ms Lim.

Bridging the gap between mature and emerging markets requires APAC economies to work together to enable innovation and investment in a competitive and sustainable manner.

To effectively recover from the pandemic, APAC economies should implement policies that allow data-driven businesses to thrive without having to choose between innovation and disruption.

Ms Lim advised: “One thing which governments should also focus heavily on is that cloud infrastructure and internet capacity is not evenly distributed.”

When cities went into lockdown mode, with remote working becoming commonplace, a true digital divide in Asia Pacific became apparent, Ms Lim believed, as not everyone has internet connectivity or access to cloud computing in their homes.

Ms Lim said: “Governments in SEA should look closely into the digital gaps … and look beyond the urban-rural divide, but also within cities where there may be a difference between bandwidth available for business connections, and home connections.”

To strengthen cloud readiness, Ms Lim recommended investment in data centers, any technology allowing better computing power to be managed like edge computing, as well as cybersecurity since this is the ‘the key to the castle of personal data’.

Ms Lim had an optimistic view of the future: “There is a funny meme going around at the moment, with the question ‘Who led the digital transformation of your company?’ On the list, the CEO and CTO are not selected, COVID-19 is the circled answer. I think that COVID-19 and the need to implement more remote-access to data, and more work-from-home arrangements, is going to push cloud computing usage, not just in Asia, but all over the world.”

What do you think APAC economies should do to leverage on cloud technologies while remaining compliant with government regulations?

Find out how data centers and cloud can boost digital economies

The demand for data centers is continuing to grow with the adoption of more cloud services.

In South Korea, businesses are predicted to spend a huge US$3 billion on cloud services in 2021, making the country a perfect place to expand data center operations.

Digital Realty is one such data center provider that looks to boost South Korea’s digital economy by meeting connectivity demands and empowering digital transformation through a new Seoul data center.

Be part of history, as Digital Realty virtually launch their first South Korean data center on Wednesday 17 June.

Register now to be part of South Korea’s digital future!

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NTU Singapore and Facebook join forces to develop data center talent

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NTU Singapore and Facebook join forces to develop data center talent

By | Data Center, News
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NTU Singapore and Facebook join forces to develop data center talent

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Facebook are set to join forces to develop local data center talent with new certificate programmes and a major data investment hub.

Five courses are on offer to train and upskill local engineering talent to meet increasing demand for specialists in the data center industry.

Professor Ling San, NTU Deputy President and Provost, said: “We are very proud to contribute towards growing local talent in the data center sector through our collaboration with Facebook.”

The nine-month pilot programme will offer four specialist certificates in design engineering, network engineering, site operations and facility operations as well as one graduate certificate in international construction management.

Professor Ling San added: “With NTU’s deep expertise in emerging technologies and Facebook’s data center expertise, participants of our new certificate programmes will be able to benefit from a world-class education and stand in good stead in the future job market.”

The programme will be open to the public with funding and mid-career subsidy options provided by SkillsFuture Singapore.

NTU graduates could be part of Facebook’s data center future in Singapore

Facebook is expected to complete the construction of their huge 11 storey, 170,000 square-meter Singapore data center worth more than US$1 billion in 2022.

One of Singapore’s leading data center facilities management providers and collaborator with Facebook, CBRE Data Centre Solutions, will offer data center training and career advice for students on NTU’s new programme.

Gavin Chua, Facebook’s Head of Infrastructure Engagement in Asia, said: “When we decided to build a data center in Singapore, local talent was an important consideration for us.”

Students will learn how to build and operate efficient data centers in Singapore.

“Singapore is a global hub for data centers services, and we are pleased to help develop local talent in this increasingly critical industry,” celebrated Andy Hobbs, CBRE APAC’s Executive Director of Data Centre Solutions.

NTU engineering graduates will have the opportunity to take up these programmes to help them pivot their career into a growing industry.

NTU Vice President of Alumni and International Affairs, Professor Jimmy Hsia, said: “NTU has an alumni population of more than 247,000 graduates employed in various fields. Through the new certificate programmes … we are confident in helping equip our alumni with the industry-relevant skills necessary for their continued success in this evolving economy.”

Future courses could involve more data center players

Following the nine-month programme starting this August, the pilot by the Centre for Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE@NTU) will look to introduce more courses that could involve other data center players.

Associate Professor Shirley Lim, Executive Director of PaCE@NTU, said: “This will support the country’s drive towards becoming a smart nation as it strengthens its role in data storage and related fields like data protection, intellectual property and data security.”

NTU will consult with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and industry stakeholders to make sure the programmes meet the specific needs of business owners and working professionals in the sector.

“IMDA would like to thank NTU Singapore and Facebook for this partnership to train and groom more local talent for the data center segment of our ICT sector,” said Kiren Kumar, Assistant Chief Executive of Digital Industry and Talent Group at the IMDA.

Under the TechSkills Accelerator initiative by the IMDA, Singaporeans are able to build their industry-relevant skills with confidence and contribute to the digital economy through strong partnerships between industry leaders and academic institutions like Facebook and NTU.

Photo credit: Facebook

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Point of Delivery data center solution by Delta receives Uptime Institute’s TIER III-Ready Award

Point of Delivery data center solution by Delta receives Uptime Institute’s TIER III-Ready Award

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Point of Delivery data center solution by Delta receives Uptime Institute’s TIER III-Ready Award

The highly flexible, fast-deployment Point of Delivery data center solution by Delta Electronics has received Uptime Institute’s TIER III-Ready Award.

The certification recognises the POD solution’s ability to deliver resilience and reliability for their data center.

Victor Cheng, Delta’s Senior Vice President, said: “We see a growing demand for POD solutions. Since data centers provide the backbone of IT operations, the task of building a reliable and efficient data center is a major focus for most enterprises.”

The TIER III-Ready award is an industry standard for design, construction and ongoing operations, which entail rigorous uptime requirements and long-term viability for IT equipment.

Luca Beltramino, Senior Vice President Global Programs for Uptime Institute, said: “Pre-fabricated and POD solutions that display the TIER-Ready logo assure an enterprise that the design they are considering has been reviewed by Uptime Institute.”

Internet of Things puts demand on enterprise data centers

Digital transformation brought on by the Internet of Things has brought with it huge volumes of data and traffic that can be overwhelming for enterprise data centers. 

Delta’s Point of Delivery solutions feature a fully modular design, flexibility and a pay-as-you-grow system with short installation time to meet rapidly growing needs of data storage and processing.

The POD solution leverages pre-engineered designs of in-house IT racks, aisle air containment, a monitoring system and redundant distribution to support IT loads. 

Delta, a global leader in power and thermal management solutions, powers the Point of Delivery solution with their DPH series modular UPS systems, backed up by lithium battery systems and cooled through a precision system with a variable fan speed control.

Delta also recently helped HTC-ITC, a subsidiary of Hanoi Telecom, to build a TIER III Uptime certified data center in Vietnam.

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W.Media Tech Talk: Revolutionising industries with OCP open networking

W.Media Tech Talk: Revolutionising industries with OCP open networking

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W.Media Tech Talk: Revolutionising industries with OCP open networking

For years, large companies have been disaggregating their data center networks through solutions like open networking, but now this is rapidly moving into the enterprise space as well as telco and public sectors.

More than 100 delegates joined W.Media’s and Open Compute Project’s most recent digital event to shed light on open networking, one of OCP’s fastest growing projects.

Steve Helvie, the VP of Channel at OCP, described three main reasons for the growth of disaggregation in the data center, which allow for greater flexibility at the enterprise level:

  1. Reduction in data center capital expenditure opportunity
  2. The increase in Software-Defined Networking (SDN) offerings
  3. The rise in merchant-based silicon

Steve said: “When people are moving toward this disaggregation model, they are moving towards an OCP-based switch, which has been open sourced at the specification level and design level.”

OCP’s 0pen networking disaggregates the hardware from the software allowing for freedom of choice to prevent vendor lock-in, creating a flexible combination of software based on workloads. This creates a highly efficient network resulting in significant savings of up to 50% in CAPEX compared to traditional OEM networking.

Open networking for vendors

The number one contributor of open networking in the OCP Community, Edgecore Networks, is a leader in regional vendor communities and has a seat on OCP’s technical steering committee which oversees the various OCP projects like open networking.

Bui Banh, the Business Development Vice President of Edgecore Networks, described OCP open networking solutions as providing greater control for customers by empowering them to choose the right hardware or software and develop an innovative solution for their needs.

While working with OCP, Edgecore Networks has contributed to more than 17 designs accepted by OCP’s Community, including Photonics Switching for data centers, Aggregations and Core switches for telecoms and Open Wi-Fi for enterprises.

Bui said: “A few telcos including Telefonica have decided to use our Cell Site Router for their 5G deployment.”

Bui also mentioned there are many more telco customers working on the Cell Site solution, but he was unable to publicly announce the names of these companies at present.

OPC successfully helps customers transform to open networking

DCConnect Global, a software-defined networking vendor and carrier that has the ability to reach more than 1,500 different data centers worldwide, found success transforming to an OCP open networking solution.

Michael Rascoe, the Head of Solutions at DCConnect Global, said: “We tried to take those same principles and thoughts [of disaggregation] and move them into the telco space where there is not traditionally good penetration of the open source hardware and software.”

Originally, DC Connect Global had more than 120 pops using H3C switches to help hyperscale their network and meet their immediate goals. But they began to suffer from vendor lock-in, as the H3C SDN Controller only worked with H3C switches.

Jonathan Leung, the Head of R&D at DCConnect Global, said: “That leads to a limited feature set, which means that if we wanted to have some features that H3C currently doesn’t support, we will have to wait for H3C’s pipeline.”

He added: “For us, as a very agile company, the speed of development is not acceptable.”

DCConnect Global eventually moved to Edgecore Networks and Linux, allowing them to treat the network more like a piece of software by changing up the source code to add the features they needed.

Michael said: “What we actually found ourselves doing is, instead of adopting another traditional carrier solution and their controller, we wrote our own controller that could talk to our legacy H3C devices as well as the newer Linux NOSes.”

Both Edgecore and Cumulus Linux flew out engineers to DCConnect’s new Hong Kong office to support them and build out their proof of concept in a weekend.

Michael added: “We were really excited and really energised by the amount of attention and focus that we got from both Cumulus and Edgecore.”

DCConnect began to switch around a year ago, and it took just a few months to begin using the Cumulus-Edgecore combo on the new pops. They are now going through to replace hardware on legacy pops, though this has been slowed down slightly due to the current economic state caused by the pandemic.

In total, DCConnect had less than a dozen people work on this project.

Overcoming the challenges of moving to an open networking solution

Michael said the hardest part of the transition was thinking how to get a network engineer to think like a software engineer and vice versa. This challenge eventually became a net positive, as they found their network engineers learnt more about the software world and the same for software engineers learning more about the network.

Another challenge could be the lack of experience on platforms like Linux, but Michael suggested you talk to younger and newer developers on your team.

He added: “They’re straight out of university and they’re still in that learning mode and they know a lot more about the modern architecture.”

Michael has also noticed that the uptake of open networking in Asia Pacific has been somewhat slow due to the fear of the unknown and fear of Linux as well as pushback from those that have traditionally lived in a CCIE hierarchy.

To get started, you could go on to the Cumulus website and spin up a virtual lab, or if you have a hypervisor or a good server that you can do some virtualisation in, you can pull down all the Cumulus Linux demo labs.

Michael added: “There are plenty of people that are happy to talk to you about this because a lot of us are just nerds that really love Linux.”

What’s next after implementing open networking?

Jonathan believes that now that separation of hardware and software is made possible, the data center will become more disaggregated and the cloud will become more important as the place to build virtual network functions or virtual data centers.

Jonathan predicted: “I think OCP technologies are going to open up many markets in developing economies with the idea that the network resources can be bought and sold from anywhere without any physical restrictions, which is going to revolutionize the networking industry.”

OCP was started by Facebook in 2011 with the intention of creating a collaborative community focused on redesigning hardware technology and providing efficient data center designs for scalable computing. 

Since then, OCP has been joined by over 150 companies to work on common problems, developed more than 190 contributions and 6,000 engineers working across 15 to 20 different projects.

Steve was very pleased to announce during the Tech Talk that Google joined the board of the Open Compute Project on May 12 2020.

The Open Compute Project expects to become its own US$5.3 billion business in 2020 and reach US$11.8 billion by 2023.

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Alibaba Cloud and Xiamen University Malaysia look to enhance cloud skills

Alibaba Cloud and Xiamen University Malaysia look to enhance cloud skills

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Alibaba Cloud and Xiamen University Malaysia look to enhance cloud skills

Students and staff of Xiamen University Malaysia will have their cloud computing skills enhanced after signing a partnership with Alibaba Cloud.

The data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group announced on May 20 that the University’s cloud computing curriculum will be delivered through the Alibaba Cloud Academic Empowerment Program.

Jordy Cao, the General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Malaysia, said: “As more businesses embark on digital transformation, the demand for IT and cloud professionals is expected to rise exponentially.”

The memorandum of understanding signed by both parties aims to empower more students to stay ahead so they can boost their career prospects in the digital economy. Students will be able to receive a certification from Alibaba Cloud after the completion of the education program.

The President of Xiamen University Malaysia, Professor Wang Ruifang, said: “We aim to nurture high-quality IT talent capable of contributing to the digital transformation of Malaysia, China and the broader region.”

The University currently has 11 ICT labs with industry-leading software and 1,011 are enrolled in three ICT-related bachelor’s degree programs, including Computer Science and Technology, Software Engineering, and Digital Media Technology.

The university will soon kick start a Bachelor of Engineering in Artificial Intelligence and a new Data Science program.

A dozen universities have also joined Alibaba Cloud Academy’s virtual learning community on DingTalk to benefit from certified online training.

The cloud provider launched a US$30 million Anti-COVID-19 SME Enablement Program to accelerate cloud adoption and provide much-needed relief during the pandemic. Alibaba Cloud also opened their first local data center in Malaysia in 2017 and is the largest public cloud service provider in Asia Pacific.

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Automated partners with Equinix to inaugurate their first Unified Operation Center in Asia Pacific to drive digital transformation

Automated partners with Equinix to inaugurate their first Unified Operation Center in Asia Pacific to drive digital transformation

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Automated partners with Equinix to inaugurate their first Unified Operation Center in Asia Pacific to drive digital transformation

Automated Systems Holdings Limited, a global IT partner based in Hong Kong, has partnered with Equinix, an international data center provider, to inaugurate their first Unified Operation Center in Asia Pacific.

The UOC will look to drive digital transformation for ASL’s global customers in cybersecurity, data centers and Internet of Things related services.

Leon Wang, the CEO and Executive Director of ASL, said: “The global digital transformation continues despite the impact of the pandemic on the economy. ASL’s tenet is to optimize DevSecOps … to help customers manage costs more effectively and boost business.”

ASL expects to invest more than HK$10 million on the UOC in the next five years to meet the growing demand for IT managed services and digital transformation.

The service unifies applications, cybersecurity and omni-channel managed services to help IT operators solve challenges like launching agile software, analysing an avalanche of enterprise data and ensuring data security.

Larry Tam, the Managing Director of Equinix in Hong Kong, said: “It allows ASL’s varied customers to flexibly, promptly and directly connect to any network and cloud providers, while shortening the project implementation time and reducing the Total Ownership Cost.”

The UOC services will support both infrastructure and multiple cloud platforms like private, public and hybrid cloud by implementing the Group’s new “as-a-service” business model and DevSecOps.

Mr Tam added: “Equinix IBX data centers bring multiple cloud service providers together.”

Equinix partners with global cloud players to provide enterprises with services like Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

ASL hopes the new UOC will allow enterprises to achieve digital transformation with more agility, efficiency and security.

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Huawei to digitize your power with reliable data center solutions

Huawei to digitize your power with reliable data center solutions

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Huawei to digitize your power with reliable data center solutions

The pressure is rising for data centers to be reliably powered, as any outages could cost providers hundreds of thousands per hour.

And data centers are only becoming larger and more complex in a world where technology is advancing at a rapid rate with AI, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

This requires power solutions that are reliable and can deal with high consumption. Huawei has produced two game-changing innovations that facilitate greater data center utilization and increased revenues.

Experts and customers of Huawei will welcome industry peers at their next webinar to share a deep dive teardown of these game-changers on Thursday 21 May at 10am SGT.

Digitizing data center power to ensure always-on reliability and efficiency

As an innovator in the power supply and distribution sector, Huawei integrated electronic and intelligent digital technologies to launch the SmartLi uninterruptible power supply (UPS) solution.

The device slashes power costs and saves energy for customers by using the industry’s most secure battery cells that balance power consumption between the peak and non-peak times.

SmartLi’s unique built-in smart voltage balance technology supports hybrid use of old and new battery strings as well as ensuring systems can run properly even if one battery module is faulty, guaranteeing reliability.

Compared to traditional lead-acid battery UPS solutions, the SmartLi UPS also has a service life of up to 15 years. 

Achieving ultra-high density and halving physical footprints with new UPS power modules

The second of Huawei’s newest power innovations is their 100 kW high power density UPS module, which enables a single module to reach twice the amount of power density of industry standards.

The module helps to achieve the principle of one rack supporting one MW of power set forth by Huawei’s FusionPower 2.0 data center power supply and distribution solution, halving the physical footprint and improving data center utilization.

A data center could raise up to around US$570,000 of additional annual revenue and save 40 rack spaces by deploying 10 sets of Huawei’s FusionPower2.0 1200 kVA system.

Aaron Wang, the Managing Director of Huawei Enterprise Business Group Singapore, said: “We keep pursuing higher power density and more advanced li-ion battery energy storage technologies in data centers, to meet the new requirements of simplified architecture, high reliability, and simplified O&M for power supply system of cloud data centers, and helps customers accelerate digital transformation.”

Huawei’s SmartLi intelligent li-ion batteries can be combined with their ultra-high density FusionPower2.0 to reduce customers’ physical footprints by 70% and enable digital transformation by giving more space for other IT devices

How does Huawei reduce the size of their UPS modules? 

The technical ability of Huawei to reduce the size of their UPS modules is impressive. 

The size is reduced through two patents. Their topology pooling patent reduces the size of the module by 40%, compared to traditional topologies. Huawei achieves this with a multiplex, combining the DC/DC charger and the rectifier topology.

A magnetic integration patent is then used to reduce the size of the inductors in the rectifier and inverter by 20%.

You can dive deeper into the technical details of Huawei’s innovations and hear success stories for a power hour full of energising talks on Thursday 21 May.

Register now for Huawei’s ‘Digitizing Your Power’ webinar

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