Digital Realty has seen a revenue of US$1 billion for the third quarter of 2020, representing a 27% increase from the same quarter last year.

This revenue is also a 3% increase compared to the previous quarter, and as of the end of October, Digital Realty has achieved a total revenue of US$3.850 – US$3.875 billion.

“We delivered solid third quarter results, driven by consistent execution and growth across the business,” said Digital Realty CEO A. William Stein.

This revenue did not include service lease agreements signed with partners in September, which is expected to generate US$89 million in GAAP rental revenue.

“Our new logo growth and heightened deal velocity reflect the power of our global platform and the resiliency of our business,” said Mr. Stein.

In addition to new lease agreements, Digital Realty also signed lease renewal agreements that represented US$161 million of annualised GAAP rental revenue during the third quarter.

“As we close out the year, we remain focused on delivering for our customers, maintaining our momentum, and investing in our global platform to support long-term growth,” added Mr. Stein.

Digital Realty has also made acquisitions in Germany, Croatia, the Netherlands and Austria to expand further into Europe.

However, the company also reported a net loss of $1 million, and a net loss of US$37 million to common shareholders.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Digital Realty’s data centers remained fully operational after being deemed essential operations, though construction activity has stalled in some markets, impacting scheduled delivery dates.

Yet, Digital Realty believes they have acquired the vast majority of the equipment needed to complete their 2020 development activities and have ample liquidity to fund their business needs, given the US$971 million of cash on their balance sheet and US$2.5 billion of availability under their global revolving credit facilities.

“While we have not experienced any significant business disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic to date, we cannot predict what impact the COVID-19 pandemic may have on our future financial condition, results of operations or cash flows due to numerous uncertainties,” Digital Realty warned.

Tech giants and data center players are releasing financial results for the third quarter of 2020. Check out the latest figures from Microsoft and Equinix.

Goldman Sachs is betting on data centers with a US$500 million investment in Global Compute Infrastructure.

The Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division announced a partnership with former chief investment officer at Digital Realty, Scott Peterson, to form the newly established global data center infrastructure platform.

“Goldman Sachs is the perfect partner for us as we pursue global investment opportunities in the data infrastructure space,” according to Scott Peterson, the CEO of Global Compute.

Goldman Sachs’ investment primarily comes from its infrastructure fund, West Street Infrastructure Partners III, to enable up to US$1.5 billion in near-term investments in data centers deployed across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

“Our combined global pedigrees and networks, together with GS MBD’s access to ample growth capital, will allow the Global Compute platform to not only serve the critical needs of our customers around the world, but also create and unlock value for our partners,” said Mr. Peterson.

Global Compute intends to grow through a combination of acquisitions and organic development to serve customers in geographies with strong secular tailwinds and potential for significant data infrastructure growth.

Leveraging the experience and track record of the management team, Global Compute will focus on acquiring and developing facilities which can meet the growing compute, storage, connectivity and colocation deployment needs of the world’s largest technology companies.

Aligned with this strategy, Global Compute signed an agreement to acquire ATM S.A., a leading data center and communications infrastructure business in Poland.

“Our initial investment in ATM S.A. is an ideal illustration of this collaboration. We are extremely enthusiastic about our partnership with Goldman Sachs enabling us to provide creative solutions for our global customers,” said Mr. Peterson.

Headquartered in Warsaw, ATM’s world class data center assets, communication infrastructure footprint, customer base and strong reputation in the market provide Global Compute with an attractive entry point into the rapidly growing Central and Eastern European data center market.

“There’s so much capital chasing deals, but based on the breadth of our track record, we believe we can find, evaluate and underwrite transactions as well as serve the critical needs of our customers,” Peterson said in an interview.

Global Compute intends to build on ATM’s success and market leadership by positioning the company to service the growing deployment needs of both new and existing customers in Poland and the broader CEE region.

“We see a tremendous opportunity in the data center space driven by increasing computing and storage demand and we believe the Global Compute team, backed by the global resources of Goldman Sachs, is uniquely positioned to deliver world class solutions to meet that demand,” said Leonard Seevers, the Managing Director at Goldman Sachs.

The founding Global Compute management team is led by Scott Peterson, the former CIO and co-founder of Digital Realty, with over 18 years of data center industry experience and more than 30 years in the real estate investment arena.

During his tenure at Digital Realty from 2004 to 2018, Mr. Peterson led all investment activity and was responsible for US$17 billion in total deal volume across both M&A and organic development.

Mr. Peterson is joined by a number of established executives in the data center space, including:

  • Fellow Digital Realty co-founder, Christopher Kenney as COO
  • Former Senior Digital Realty Executive in EMEA, Stephen Taylor as Head of Europe

“We think the industry has tremendous tailwinds amid continued penetration of cloud service providers,” Scott Lebovitz, Global co-Head and co-CIO of Goldman’s infrastructure investment group, said in an interview.

Following the Global Compute investment, Goldman Sachs’ third infrastructure fund valued at $2.5 billion is now more than 70% deployed. 

The firm is preparing to raise a fourth fund, likely dubbed West Street Global Infrastructure Partners IV, early next year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

This isn’t the first time Goldman Sachs has invested in data centers, as its special situations arm previously had a stake in AirTrunk, which it sold earlier this year to Macquarie Group for US$3 billion.

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Global cybersecurity service provider Acronis announced plans for a global expansion of its network of cloud data centers, adding 100 micro data centers to regions including Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, France, Germany, the UK, and the US.

New state-of-the-art facilities will also be set up in Canada, New Zealand, and Bhutan.

“The rise of edge computing around the world means more data is now created and used away from company networks. Micro data centers enable the efficient deployment of edge computing, particularly in emerging markets,” said Serguei ‘SB’ Beloussov, Founder and CEO of Acronis.

The new data centers will provide users with access to Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, the company’s flagship cybersecurity solution that integrates backup, disaster recovery, next-generation anti-malware, and endpoint management tools all under one service package.

“As part of Acronis’ Global-Local Strategy, this expansion allows us to provide the local, cost-efficient, bandwidth efficient, and low latency cloud services our global partners demand,” Mr. Beloussov added.

All of Acronis solutions are designed to address the Five Vectors of Cyber Protection, ensuring the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security of an organisation’s data, applications, and systems.

“Organisations across the globe rely on data in a way they never have before, which means they need IT providers to be ready with effective, affordable solutions,” said Martin Robson, President and CEO of Robson Communications.

In early October, Acronis also announced the establishment of a new data center in Vancouver, Canada.

“The expansion of [Acronis’] data center network will help a lot more service providers around the world keep their clients productive and protected,” added Mr. Robson.

All Acronis data centers are said to meet the highest standards of digital and physical security, and feature redundant power and environmental controls to ensure constant 99.9% monthly availability.

“While reliance on cloud-based access to production data and controls has been increasing during the past several years, the pandemic accelerated its adoption worldwide among organizations,” said Phil Goodwin, Research Director at market research firm IDC.

Gartner has forecast the worldwide market for cloud management and security services will grow by more than 25% in the next two years.

“Developing a larger network of cloud data centers, especially in emerging markets, enables Acronis to cultivate new partners and customers who are actively seeking cloud-based data protection and security platforms and solutions,” added Mr. Goodwin.

Technavio also projected the global edge data center market will progress at a CAGR of almost 14% by 2024.

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IBM has successfully beat Wall Street revenue estimates, driven by high demands for its cloud services.

The tech heavyweight has staked its future on its cloud arm, as it prepares to spin off one of its legacy units to support the venture.

“The strong performance of our cloud business, led by Red Hat, underscores the growing client adoption of our open hybrid cloud platform,” said Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM.

IBM’s total cloud revenue for their third quarter of 2020 was up 19% to US$6 billion, while their total cloud revenue was up 22% to US$24.4 billion over the last 12 months.

Mr. Krishna believes that separating the managed infrastructure services business into the spin off ‘creates a market-leading standalone company’ that further sharpens their focus on IBM’s open hybrid cloud platform and AI capabilities. IBM believes this will accelerate their growth strategy and better position them to seize the $1 trillion hybrid cloud opportunity.

“In the third quarter we continued to deliver strong gross profit margin expansion, generated solid free cash flow and maintained a sound capital structure with ample liquidity,” said James Kavanaugh, IBM Senior Vice President and CFO.

In Q3 2020, the company generated net cash from operating activities of US$4.3 billion, or US$1.9 billion excluding Global Financing receivables. IBM’s free cash flow was $1.1 billion and $15.8 billion of cash on hand, which is up $6.7 billion from year-end 2019.

“We have the necessary financial flexibility to increase our investments in hybrid cloud and AI technology innovation and skills, while remaining committed to our long-standing dividend policy,” said Mr. Kavanaugh.

Despite this success, IBM shares fell by 3% after the company did not issue a forecast for the current quarter, citing uncertainty around a global economic recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Clients’ near-term priorities continue to include operational stability, flexibility and cash preservation, which tends to favor [operating expenses] over [capital expenses]. This is resulting in some project delays and purchase deferrals,” said Mr. Kavanaugh.

IBM’s total revenue fell 2.6% to US$17.56 billion in Q3 220, but was slightly above analysts’ estimates of US$17.54 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Excluding the impact from currency and business divestitures, sales declined 3.1%, while the global technology services segment, IBM’s biggest unit that caters to some of the world’s largest data centers, reported a 4% drop in revenue to $6.5 billion.

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Princeton Digital Group (PDG) has agreed to a new US$360 million equity investment led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’).

The Singapore-based investor, operator, and developer of data centers is one of Asia’s leading data center companies, with a presence in key digital economies like China, Singapore and Indonesia.

“We are delighted to have Ontario Teachers’ as an investor in PDG. Their track record of long-term investments combined with deep data center experience makes them a great partner as we continue to scale our business,” said Rangu Salgame, the Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of PDG.

Ontario Teachers’ has also invested in data center players, including US-based Compass Datacenters and Canada’s Q9 Networks.

“We see data centers as a compelling investment opportunity given their essential role in the rapid digitalisation and growth of data occurring in Asia and around the world,” said Ben Chan, the Regional Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Ontario Teachers’.

“We have been impressed by PDG’s high-quality management team, unique strategy, and track record of success and look forward to leveraging our experience to help the company continue to scale across Asia,” he added. 

Joining Ontario Teachers’ in the new round of fundraising was Warburg Pincus, which has been the largest institutional investor of PDG, with a US$300 million investment in 2017.

“Since backing the founders in PDG’s formative days, we have been impressed with their ability to build a leading pan-Asian presence within a short period of time,” said Ellen Ng, Managing Director, Head of China Real Estate, Warburg Pincus.

Since its founding three years ago, PDG has built a portfolio of 18 data centers across four countries: China, Singapore, Indonesia, and India. The company serves hyperscalers, Internet and cloud companies as they expand across the region. 

We see a tremendous opportunity for PDG to continue to grow across the largest and fastest growing markets in Asia. We are excited to welcome Ontario Teachers’ as a like-minded and value-adding partner to this venture as PDG embarks on its next phase of growth,” added Ms. Ng.

PDG has grown through a combination of acquisitions, carve-outs, and development, and will continue to execute on this strategy in its existing and new markets.

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Keppel DC REIT will be included in the benchmark Straits Times Index with effect from Monday 19 October.

The Straits Times Index is a highly diversified benchmark for the Singapore stock market, consisting of 30 of its largest capitalised and most actively traded stocks.

Mr. Chua Hsien Yang, CEO of Keppel DC REIT Management, said: “The inclusion of Keppel DC REIT in the STI marks an important milestone for Keppel DC REIT since its listing on the Singapore Exchange. This is testament to Keppel DC REIT’s growth and will further increase our visibility among global investors, as well as enhance our trading liquidity.”

Keppel DC REIT, the largest stock on the Straits Times Index reserve list was listed in December 2014 as Asia’s first pure-play data center REIT, with eight assets across six countries and assets under management of approximately $1 billion.

Today, the REIT’s AUM has grown significantly to approximately $2.8 billion, with 18 assets in eight countries across Asia Pacific and Europe.

Unitholders who invested in Keppel DC REIT since its initial public offering would have seen a total unitholder return of approximately 338% as of 15 October 2020, and approximately 47% year-to-date.

Keppel DC REIT is a constituent of the FTSE EPRA Nareit Global Developed Index, MSCI Singapore Small Cap Index and the GPR 250 Index Series.

The Straits Times Index took a hit and extended its losses from Wednesday 14 October, with a fall of 1.25% as a result of ‘grim news surrounding Brexit, a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in Europe and the lack of progress on United States stimulus measures. But it rebounded slightly on Saturday 17 October, climbing 0.37%.

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NVIDIA has agreed to buy chip designer Arm from SoftBank in a record US$40 billion deal. The purchase could reshape the highly competitive semiconductor and data center landscape.

By combining the American multinational technology company and the British chip designer together, NVIDIA will target the age of artificial intelligence by accelerating innovation and expanding into high-growth markets.

“Arm and NVIDIA share a vision and passion that ubiquitous, energy-efficient computing will help address the world’s most pressing issues from climate change to healthcare, from agriculture to education,” said Simon Segars, the CEO of Arm.

NVIDIA will utilise Arm’s CPU ecosystem to advance computing in cloud, smartphones, PCs, self-driving cars, robotics and edge computing. Arm’s designs have also started to play a larger role in the data center chip market through Amazon’s cloud industry and a number of startups, posing as competition to Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices.

NVIDIA will reportedly pay SoftBank US$21.5 billion in shares and US$12 billion in cash as well as a possible US$5 billion in cash or shares depending on Arm’s business performance. 

SoftBank, a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company, will remain committed to Arm’s long-term success through its stake in NVIDIA, which is expected to be between 6.7% and 8.1%.

“This is a compelling combination that projects Arm, Cambridge and the U.K. to the forefront of some of the most exciting technological innovations of our time,” said Masayoshi Son, the Chairman and CEO of SoftBank.

After acquiring Arm for US$32 billion four years ago, the sale marks an early exit for SoftBank. A source told Reuters that SoftBank have held early stage talks about taking the Japanese technology group private, which could gain momentum after the sale of Arm.

While Arm has long been a neutral technology vendor of its chip architecture to Apple, Samsung, Amazon and other portable device providers, the sale will put these licenses under the control of a single player in the semiconductor market.

With the deal’s potential to cause unfair advantages over other licensees and conflicts of interest, NVIDIA’s Founder and CEO, Jensen Huang, assured that the neutral licensing model by Arm will be retained, and NVIDIA’s GPU and AI intellectual property will be licensed out for the very first time.

“Arm’s business model is brilliant. We will maintain its open-licensing model and customer neutrality, serving customers in any industry, across the world,” said Mr. Huang.

On top of this, NVIDIA will establish a new global center of excellence in AI research at Arm’s Cambridge campus in the United Kingdom by investing in an Arm-powered AI supercomputer, training facilities for developers and a startup incubator.

“AI is the most powerful technology force of our time … trillions of computers running AI will create a new internet-of-things that is thousands of times larger than today’s internet-of-people,” said Mr. Huang.

Powered by computing chips, AI supercomputers can write software, scale up workloads and reduce the time required to complete a task.

“While AI began in the data center, it is moving quickly to the edge … where smart sensors connected to AI computers can speed checkouts, direct forklifts, orchestrate traffic, and save power,” said NVIDIA in a statement, comparing the new research facility to a a Hadron collider or Hubble telescope for artificial intelligence.

NVIDIA predicted ‘there will be trillions of these small autonomous computers powered by AI, connected by massively powerful cloud data centers in every corner of the world’.

This signifies NVIDIA’s move to push beyond the data center and into the edge, which could continue their success in data center sales, which surpassed NVIDIA’s gaming revenue for the first time in August 2020.

“The computing unit is an entire data center now. We believe that the future computer company is a data center-scale company,” said Mr. Huang.

In April, NVIDIA completed its purchase of Israel-based Mellanox, which makes high-speed networking technology used in data centers and supercomputers.

The deal between NVIDIA, SoftBank and Arm is expected to close in approximately 18 months following regulatory approvals in Britain, the European Union, United States and China.

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NVIDIA buys chip designer Arm from SoftBank for record $40 billion

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ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, is reportedly planning to invest billions of dollars and recruit hundreds in Singapore as part of its global expansion, according to people familiar with the matter.

However, contrary to reports by Bloomberg, plans by ByteDance to set up a new data center in Singapore is untrue, a source said to Reuters.

The source also said that the Beijing-based firm has ‘stepped up the purchase of cloud computing servers in Singapore to backup data based in the US for contingency in the event of an incident.

The investment by ByteDance is expected to span over the next three years, coming at a time when the Chinese multinational internet technology company is being forced to sell their US operations of the hugely popular social networking service, TikTok. 

But it is unlikely they will meet the deadline of September 20 to sell their assets imposed by President Donald Trump, as new Chinese regulations have complicated negotiations with bidders Microsoft and Oracle.

Southeast Asia is a primary target for Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, as the region has 650 million smartphone-savvy population where competitors Alibaba and Tencent are making significant inroads.

“Singapore is highly attractive to tech firms looking for a hub to address the Southeast Asian markets due to geographic proximity. The workforce is highly educated, tech savvy and multilingual,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Vey-Sern Ling.

ByteDance, the world’s most richly valued startup, currently has more than 200 job openings and 400 current employees in Singapore. And a company source reported to Reuters that TikTok had started to move some of its engineers from China to Singapore this year.

In other news, Chindata Group, a carrier-neutral hyperscale data center solution provider in Asia Pacific, confirmed on 9 September 2020 it will publicly file an initial public offering in the United States of America. 

In the filing, ByteDance accounted for 68.2% and 81.6% of Chindata’s total revenues in 2019 and for the first six months of June respectively. In 2019, the revenue from ByteDance was at US$82.3 million, and in the first six months of 2020 along, ByteDance accounted for US$93.6 million of Chindata’s revenue.

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Equinix is investigating a security incident involving ransomware, the world’s largest data center and colocation provider said in a statement on Wednesday 9 September.

Their teams took immediate action to address the cyberattack by contacting law enforcement.

“Our data centers and service offerings, including managed services, remain fully operational, and the incident has not affected our ability to support our customers,” said Equinix.

As most of their customers operate their own equipment within Equinix data centers, this attack is said to have had no impact on equipment or data.

“The security of the data in our systems is always a top priority and we intend to take all necessary actions, as appropriate, based on the results of our investigation,” the statement reported.

Equinix has promised to provide any more updates as it becomes available.

Earlier this month, cybersecurity specialists Trend Micro revealed your on-premise and cloud servers could be compromised by criminals using cryptocurrency mining software.

And while your servers are sitting idle, criminals may be monetising your assets whilst plotting larger money-making schemes like extracting valuable data, selling server access for further abuse or preparing dangerous ransomware attacks.

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Following reports last week, Chindata Group has confirmed on 9 September 2020 it will publicly file an initial public offering in the United States of America.

The number of American Depositary Shares and price range of the offering has not been determined, but it is speculated that the carrier-neutral hyperscale data center solution provider in Asia Pacific will look to raise US$400 million.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. will act as joint bookrunners when Chindata Group goes live on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol ‘CD’.

The fifth largest Chinese IPO in the US this year

According to unnamed sources close to the Bain Capital-backed hyperscale data center operator, the firm plans to be publicly listed as early as the third quarter of 2020.

As a result, the market value of Chindata is forecast to reach US$3 to US$4 billion as long as the IPO proceeds.

The decision to list in the US as opposed to Hong Kong was made because fellow Chinese data center owners 21Vianet and GDS Holdings saw success in the NASDAQ stock exchange, with a 209% and 106% respective jump in performance in the last year. 21Vianet also raised US$353 million last week in a follow-on offering.

With a target of US$400 million, the listing in New York is expected to be the fifth largest Chinese IPO this year, suggests Refinitive data. The data also identifies Chindata as the 20th Chinese company to list in the US in 2020, despite threats of delisting and geopolitical tensions between the US and China.

So far this year, even with the economically devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the 19 current Chinese IPOs have raised US$6.96 billion, which is more than double the US$3.42 billion raised in 2019.

This Chindata public offering will be filed by submitting a registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Earlier this year, South Korea’s SK Holdings reportedly paid US$300 million for an 8.9% share in Chindata Group. And in 2019, Bain Capital acquired the Group with US$570 million in strategic financing, valuing Chindata at US$3.1 billion.

Chindata Group also merged with Bridge Data Centres to continue hyperscale expansion plans into China, Malaysia and India.

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Delta, a global leader in power and thermal management solutions, has partnered with Microsoft and Consortium for On Board Optics (COBO) to launch a proof of concept open networking switch for the next generation of data center infrastructures.

The switch is said to provide leading transmission speeds and energy efficiency as we enter the nascent 5G era, offering up to 800 gigabytes per second of transmission speed, 12.8Tbps bandwidth capacity, and up to 30% energy savings compared to similar peer technologies.

Powering the future of data centers

As cloud adoption continues to rise, increasing the need for hyperscale and cloud data centers, these facilities will need the support of networking systems that provide faster transmission speeds and lower carbon footprints.

As a result, member-driven organisations like COBO are racing to develop solutions that meet essential data center requirements.

Microsoft’s Principal Network Architect and COBO’s President, Brad Booth, said: “Being capable of integrating COBO and other form factors into a single platform has been an integral contribution to this POC project to enable end users to perform hands-on evaluation and testing.”

The open networking switch integrates five different optical module form factors into a single, compact 4U rack. The system also includes two 400G QSFP-DD, two 400G OSFP and sixty-four 100G QSFP ports as well as Intel’s 8-core 2.0 GHz D-1548 Broadwell high-performance chip, which sits at the core of Delta’s switch.

“We look forward to cooperating with Microsoft and COBO to accelerate the growth of the 5G mega trend with this inventive technology,” said Victor Cheng, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Information & Communications Technology Business Group at Delta.

On top of being a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Azure Cloud Solution Provider, Delta launched a 5G smart manufacturing solution with the tech giant in June.

Earlier this year, Delta also celebrated receiving an Uptime Institute’s TIER III-Ready certification for their Point of Delivery data center solution, which recognises its ability to deliver resilience and reliability for their data center.

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Two of Singapore’s biggest Internet service providers, StarHub and M1, have been hit with fines totaling $610,000 from the IMDA for broadband disruptions affecting Singaporeans during the circuit breaker period.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) imposed fines of $210,000 on StarHub and $400,000 on M1 for breaking the 2016 Code of Practice for Telecommunication Service Resilience.

“We take a serious view of any service disruption to public telecommunications services, particularly during the circuit breaker period when most people were working and studying from home, and will take firm and decisive action to safeguard our consumers’ interests,” said Aileen Chia, the IMDA Deputy Chief Executive.

The IMDA determined the financial penalties by considering the duration, impact, and customer service measures adopted by the operators to mitigate impact

“Operators must communicate any service difficulties with their customers and rectify incidents expeditiously, and should provide good service recovery measures to affected customers,” added Ms. Chia.

250,000 StarHub subscribers affected

On April 15, just eight days after the circuit breaker began, StarHub staff made a configuration error during a planned network migration exercise.

The mistake left up to 250,000 StarHub broadband subscribers without sufficient broadband services for close to five hours.

The IMDA concluded the incident could have been prevented if StarHub had better supervised its staff during the migration exercise.

In it’s considerations, IMDA took note of StarHub’s efforts to restore the services as soon as possible, their prompt communication and compensation to those affected with a 20% rebate of their monthly fee for April.

StarHub’s Chief Executive, Peter Kaliaropoulos, said in April they ‘regrettably fell short’ of providing a service experience customers deserve and have implemented measures to prevent future incidents with immediate effect.

Two days of outages for M1 customers

For M1, the broadband provider experienced two incidents on two consecutive days in May.

The first on May 12 affected up to 18,000 customers for 23 hours from 7am until 6am on May 13. This was caused by a corrupted profile database in M1’s Broadband Network Gateway.

A statement by M1 apologies for the inconvenience and said the connectivity issues were triggered by a network bolstering initiative to improve customer experience.

The IMDA found that the incident occured because M1’s staff and vendor had not followed prescribed procedures.

Then, on May 13, up to 20,000 subscribers were affected for six hours after a software fault in M1’s network equipment caused Internet traffic routing problems.

Unlike the first incident, the IMDA concluded that the software fault was the first of its kind for the equipment, which M1 could not have reasonably foreseen or prevented.

The IMDA found M1 to be in breach of the 2016 Code for only the first incident, and determined the $400,000 penalty due to the length of disruption and M1’s proactive compensation of a full one-week refund to affected users.

Ms. Chia said the IMDA will continue to work with operators like StarHub and M1 to strengthen network resiliency and improve customer communications.

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Ten years after its inception, Kakao has revealed it will build its first data center to cope with exponential growth in data traffic.

The South Korean Internet giant made a deal with Hanyang University and Gyeonggi provincial Government to build the facility on the University’s Erica campus in Ansan for US$337 million (400 billion won).

“This data center will give us a stable foundation for our research and development in technology like big data and artificial intelligence,” said a Kakao spokesperson.

Breaking ground next year

Ground will be broken on the 197,873 square feet plot of land by 2021, with a vision of the hyperscale data center being completed by 2023.

“Our goal is to establish the best data center in the IT industry in terms of stability, efficiency and security. It will be a great opportunity for the AI, big data, and cloud-related industries to develop,” said Yeo Min-soo, the co-CEO of Kakao.

Housing a total of 120,000 servers and a storage capacity of six exabytes (6 billion gigabytes), the data center will be designed with green solutions in mind, including monitoring systems, refrigerators, thermo-hygrostats and rainwater cooling innovations.

Kakao’s new data center comes at a time when increases in Internet traffic and data consumption are seen throughout the country, with an average consumption of more than 122 exabytes, which is expected to exceed 396 exabytes in 2022.

Located 30 kilometers from Seoul, the facility will be built next to a science research complex at the university campus to take advantage of its computing and data processing capabilities.

Kakao Data Center LocationThe Ansan municipality, another partner in the deal, expects the data center to create 2,700 jobs and approximately US$673.5 million (800 billion won) worth of production.

Previous to this announcement, Kakao outsourced its data storage facilities since 2006, while its competitor Naver has a data center in Chuncheon, Gangwon. Now, as Kakao has grown into finance, gaming and the operator of the country’s most-used mobile messenger service, the Internet giant has found a need to construct its own data center.

Last year, the Ansan Science Valley, which is centered around the Erica campus, was designated to become a “technological innovation cluster” by the government.

The campus is also planning to become a base for regional innovation growth by promoting the creation of small high-tech industrial complexes, including Kakao’s data center.

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Lenovo Data Center Group has announced the launch of a new range of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions and cloud services to help organisations transition to the new, smarter norm.

With remote work environments becoming common, businesses have seen demand for cloud services soar. It is more crucial than ever for organisations to adapt their hybrid cloud strategy and modernise existing data center infrastructures to keep pace with evolving business needs. 

“The strategy toward the new, smarter normal is around modernising the data center and breaking down the longstanding digital barriers that many organisations face today,” said Kamran Amini, the Vice President and General Manager of Server, Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure at Lenovo Data Center Group.

In partnership with industry-leading hybrid cloud software providers Nutanix, Microsoft and VMWare, Lenovo Data Center Group introduced HCI solutions to enable customers to deploy and manage the full edge-to-cloud environment. Among updated features that customers can expect include simpler updates, easy scalability and a consumption-based delivery model.

These hyperconverged infrastructure solutions support industries like education and healthcare where remote working has been forced upon organisations due to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing virtual desktop infrastructures that can be accessed from almost anywhere.

What are Lenovo’s new solutions?

Together with Nutanix and AMD, Lenovo introduced the new Lenovo ThinkAgile HX HCI solutions. With this, customers are said to be able to run virtual desktop workloads at a consistent performance with 50% fewer servers.

“We’ve simplified and enhanced IT operations while cutting energy costs, so we can invest more of time and resources in our primary purpose to provide best in-class healthcare services,” said Bernie Larralde, the Vice President of Information Technology at Miami Jewish Health.

As hybrid cloud solutions start to dominate the market, Lenovo has launched the new Lenovo ThinkAgile MX Azure Stack HCI Edge and Data Center Solutions in partnership with Microsoft.

This one-stop shop provides deployment and management of Microsoft Azure services, empowering customers to modernise and rapidly scale from on-premise infrastructures to the cloud using edge solutions.

“The Lenovo ThinkAgile MX platform has all the features we need as an MSP—high performance, high availability and easy scalability,” said Brian Townley, the General Manager for C3 Group.

In another collaboration with VMWare, Lenovo announced the new Lenovo ThinkAgile VX HCI Solutions, aimed at improving agility and reliability of mission critical applications on SAP HANA databases.

Additionally, Lenovo and VMWare are also expanding software-defined systems management capabilities with Lenovo XClarity, the management console for Lenovo ThinkAgile HCI solutions.

“Efficiency has increased so we can process and ship out more parts faster than we could before, bringing more products, and therefore socio-economic empowerment, to more people around the world,” said Sujoy Brahmachari, the Head of IT Infrastructure and Information Security at Hero MotoCorp.

According to Amini, help is provided to guide business leaders through their cloud strategy and execution. Lenovo offers customers the option to work with Lenovo Principal Consultants, to simplify and streamline options across multiple cloud platforms for ultimate business agility. 

“Efficiency has increased dramatically and we’re now able to cope with customer requirements at a speed that was previously impossible,” said Thomas Rumpf, the CTO for Private Cloud at T-Systems.

All solutions by Lenovo are set to be available by November.

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DCI Data Centers has announced the appointment of Ras Scollay as their new Senior Vice President of Business Development in Asia.

The former Head of Sales and Marketing for Colt Data Centre Services and Country Manager for Japan at CenturyLink was selected to continue DCI’s mission to become the preferred partner in the Asia Pacific region for the delivery of secure data center solutions.

“I am pleased to welcome Ras to the DCI Data Centers team,” said Udhay Mathialagan, DCI Chairman and the Managing Director for Brookfield Asset Management.

Ras Scollay, the new Senior Vice President of Business Development in Asia for DCI Data Centers

Mr. Scollay will oversee the development of customer relationships and new opportunities across Asia, aligning with DCI’s strategy to expand into hyperscale markets.

“The expertise of the leadership team coupled with the company’s expansion plans in Asia are unique and will help our customers realise their ambitions across the region,” said Mr. Scollay.

During his 24 years of experience in digital infrastructure, Mr. Scollay launched two new hyperscale data centers in Japan, and acquired land for Colt Data Centres’ expansion into Osaka and Mumbai. Prior to this, Mr. Scollay held roles at CenturyLink in both Japan and Singapore, leading sales and operations.

DCI Data Centers, a fully owned subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, aims to expand their presence in Asia, empowered by Brookfield’s $550 billion assets across infrastructure, real estate, and renewable power.

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Google has confirmed it will build its third data center in Taiwan, following speculation last month by the country’s Economic Daily News.

The tech giant made the announcement at a ‘Google for Taiwan’ event held on Thursday 3 September.

“As a country with limited natural resources and a population insufficient to produce the demographic dividend, Taiwan should ‘go smart’ to boost its international profile,” said Google Taiwan’s General Manager, Tina Lin.

Reports made by Taiwanese media outlets in late August suggested Google had purchased a 198,000 square meter plot of land in Yunlin County from local manufacturing firm China Man-made Fiber for US$681 million.

At present, Google has one data center in the Changhua County of Taiwan, and Google announced plans to build a second hyperscale data center in Tainan City last year.

At the event, Google also revealed its ambitions for its Digital Talent Exploration Program, expressing its plans to partner with Taiwanese businesses and the government to build a strong digital economy and a ‘smart Taiwan’.

Taiwan is one of Google’s largest tech bases in the Asia Pacific. And with a third data center, Google would be investing more than US$800 million in Taiwan, highlighting the company’s commitment to expand its presence in Asia, outside of Singapore and Indonesia where its other data centers preside.

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Google is building its third data center in Taiwan

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Nicole Ong

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Druva, a leading cloud data protection and management company, announced its data center workload revenue has grown more than 100% in the last twelve months.

Based in California, Druva’s impressive growth can be attributed to its providing support to over 135 enterprises in Asia Pacific and Japan. This includes helping Adani Wilmar in India, Gold Peak in Hong Kong, and NTT Data and UNIADEX in Japan navigate their digital transformation.

“As businesses in Asia Pacific and Japan adopt remote operating models, there is an urgency to adopt new technologies, maintain business continuity and secure organisational and dispersed workforce data,” said Pete Yamasaki, Druva’s Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific and Japan.

It is no surprise by now that businesses are turning to cloud computing to reimagine their operations, especially in the trying times in the pandemic-hit world. And that’s not the only trend, as governments across the world are enforcing data protection regulations with greater stringency to ensure their citizens’ most sensitive details are safe and secure, even on the cloud.

“Regardless of the industry, sector or legacy, companies are turning to the cloud for the scale and technology it has to offer,” added Mr. Yamasaki.

Druva identified more than 700 businesses in Asia Pacific looking to ‘break free from the shackles of the data center and embrace a cloud-first approach for rising data protection needs’, as they ‘move away from investment-heavy and legacy approaches to data protection’.

“Druva’s powerful platform has enabled the region’s expanding businesses to protect data where it is being created – in the cloud – from anywhere with on-demand scalability, robust compliance capabilities and industry-leading security standards,” said Mr. Yamasaki.

To further accelerate Druva’s growth in the region, the company is also expanding its partner program, Druva Compass, to continue to empower digital transformation through enhanced training.

“Customers are increasingly drawn to the public cloud infrastructure as they embark on their digital transformation journey,” said Nathan Lowe, the Managing Director ASI Solutions, a Druva Compass certified partner in Australia.

In the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, Druva’s partners will be critical for the successful deployment of their technology for reliant customers looking to take the digital transformation leap.

“With Druva’s service-oriented model, we can easily add new data sources and make decisions based on our business objectives rather than the restrictions of our legacy backup solution,” said Wai Chung, IT backup administrator for AmorePacific in Hong Kong.

As businesses in Asia Pacific and Japan are managing far more data than two years ago and are being pushed to adopt remote working models under the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud data protection is fast becoming a significant concern to prevent the rising number of threat actors from accessing their data. 

A mid-year report by market intelligence firm IDC projected revenue from cloud systems and services in Asia Pacific to outpace both the Americas and the EMEA region by 2024. Druva Inc.’s latest revenue number serves as strong evidence on the region’s growth potential.

The success of platforms such as Druva once again highlight the importance that businesses place on data protection. Compared to traditional hardware architectures, companies now want security and scalability in the same way that it is being created, on the cloud.

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Mapletree Industrial Trust (MIT), has completed their purchase of 14 data centers in the USA for US$215.3 million (S$292.8 million).

The Singapore Exchange listed real estate investment trust finished the acquisition of the remaining 60% interest in the data centers held by Mapletree Redwood Data Centre Trust, a trust formed by Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd and Mapletree Industrial Trust.

The deal, first announced in June, increased the Trust’s data center footprint to 39% of assets under management by the REIT.

To fund the deal, MIT initiated a private placement of 146.4 million new units at a price of US$2.05 (S$2.80) per unit. In the end, the Trust raised more than US$300 million (S$410 million), with demand coming from ‘a broad spectrum of investors, including new and existing institutional investors’.

Of the money raised, US$79.9 million will be used to repay MIT’s debt and fund future acquisitions, US$4.7 million will pay the fees incurred by the private placement, and the remaining US$215.9 million (S$294.5 million) will be spent on the acquisition of the 14 data centers.

The US data centers, originally acquired by Mapletree Redwood Data Centre Trust in 2017, are strategically placed around the country on freehold land with a lettable area of 2.3 million square feet in the following locations:

  • 2 Christie Heights, Leonia, New Jersey
  • 180 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 402 Franklin Road, Brentwood, Tennessee
  • 1001 Windward Concourse, Alpharetta, Georgia
  • 1221 Coit Road, Plano, Texas
  • 1805 Center Park Drive, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 2000 Kubach Road, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2775 Northwoods Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 3300 Essex Drive, Richardson, Texas
  • 5000 South Bowen Road, Arlington, Texas
  • 5150 McCrimmon Parkway, Morrisville, North Carolina
  • 7337 Trade Street, San Diego, Texas
  • 19675 W Ten Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan
  • N15W24250 Riverwood Drive, Pewaukee, Wisconsin

While MIT targets expansion into the United States, Equinix Singapore announced last month that it would buy the Trust’s Singapore data center known as SG3 for US$91.2 million (S$125 million).

Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund other Mapletree investments, reduce any existing debt or make distributions to unit holders.

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Uncover the importance of interconnectivity with W.Media

Interconnectivity in data centers has accelerated, as the need for connected devices and digital transformation is rapidly rising.

For a region like Asia Pacific that is rapidly going digital, data center providers are working hard to design connected platforms that enable global teams to collaborate with less downtime and latency.

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In the midst of another COVID-19 surge, the South Korean Government kicked off the national ‘Data Dam’ project to help the country’s digital economy adapt to a post-pandemic world.

Shared through 5G networks, the project will collect and process information from public and private sectors to create useful data and stimulate new technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Overcoming great depressions

The Data Dam, named after the Hoover Dam that helped the United States overcome the Great Depression, will target seven key business areas for support.

Elementary, middle and high school students in South Korea endured a rocky learning experience for most of 2020 due to the pandemic, switching back and forth between on-campus learning to online classes. Seeing the unfortunate effects on students’ wellbeing, the education sector will be a core focus of Data Dam.

Under the project, content materials for online courses will be expanded and digitised. The overall education infrastructure will be improved to create an offline/online integrated learning environment.

“Initially, it was expected that the latest project could create some 24,000 jobs, but companies that picked for the educational AI project alone said they need to hire at least 28,000, which will push up the overall employment figures”, the Ministry of Science and ICT said.

The educational AI initiative is considered a centerpiece of the Data Dam project, with an anticipated 1,250 projects to be developed, thousands of jobs created and US$240 million allocated to make it happen.

On top of this, the project will focus on boosting the digital economy through the creation of cloud flagships and building big data platforms and setting up advanced data centers.

A total of 4,739 companies and institutions have forwarded ideas to implement the data, with 2,100 projects being supported in the first year alone.

The Data Dam will be rolled out as part of the Government’s Digital New Deal plan announced in July.

Inside the Digital New Deal

Technology has helped South Korea effectively combat the pandemic, and now President Moon Jae-In’s government wants to further develop it to benefit the rest of the country through the Digital New Deal.

The Digital New Deal is a five-year blueprint by the South Korean government to spearhead the country’s smooth transition into the realm of 5G and artificial intelligence. 

The Deal hopes to achieve twelve goals in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors in the country, including the integration of 5G and AI into all sectors, the digitalisation of the education sector, the expansion of smart cities and improving digital access in rural and disadvantaged areas.

The Moon government will be spending an estimated US$68.6 billion by 2025 on the new deal to create almost one million jobs in the country.

To spur digital transformation and cooperation with fellow APAC countries during these unprecedented and uncertain times, Korea has also adopted a knowledge sharing initiative to emphasise the important role of data-based policies and development of digital solutions through ICT and emerging technologies.

The initiative agreed by the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group, consisting of APAC nations as well as the USA, Canada, Russia and countries in South America, will look to share best practice solutions and strengthen cooperation in the Asia Pacific region and international community to facilitate digital transition to address global challenges.

Enabled by initiatives like these, South Korea boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world as well as one of the world’s fastest internet speeds. As the government combines and refines the status of South Korea as one of the four Asian Tigers, the New Deal will look to give the country the boost it needs to remain a digital powerhouse.

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Your on-premise and cloud servers could be compromised by criminals using cryptocurrency mining software.

While your servers are sitting idle, criminals may be monetising your assets whilst plotting larger money-making schemes like extracting valuable data, selling server access for further abuse or preparing dangerous ransomware attacks.

“The cybercriminal underground boasts a sophisticated range of infrastructure offerings to support monetisation campaigns of all types,” said Bob McArdle, Director of Forward-Looking Threat Research for Trend Micro.

Criminals use several methods to gain access to servers, including the exploitation of vulnerabilities in server software, brute-force attacks, stealing logins and deploying malware through phishing attacks. 

These compromised assets are then sold on online portals, the dark web, social media marketplaces and underground forums.

“A good rule of thumb is that whatever is most exposed is most likely to be exploited,” added Mr. McArdle.

As rising adoption of cloud computing continues, businesses should be aware that cloud servers are particularly vulnerable to being attacked by criminals, as they may be lacking sophisticated protection when compared to on-premise equivalents.

A recent report by Trend Micro suggested that, while cryptomining may be innocuous in causing disruption, if you find cryptocurrency mining activity on your servers, this should place your IT security teams on red alert. These servers should then be flagged for immediate remediation and investigation.

Criminals also target websites and content management systems hosted on servers that often run outdated software. Cybercriminals can use covert and difficult-to-detect methods to exploit compromised websites by placing content on a webpage or reselling websites to be used as landing pages for phishing attacks.

Billions of threats blocked during the COVID-19 pandemic

From the start of 2020, cybercriminals shifted their attention to taking advantage of the uncertainty, public fear and unfamiliar remote working environment for many.

In just six months, Trend Micro, a leader in cloud security, blocked a total of 27.8 billion cyber threats, with 8.8 million being COVID-19 pandemic-related and 92% originating from spam and phishing campaigns via email.

“The pandemic has dominated all of our lives during the first half of 2020, but it’s not slowing down the cybercriminals,” said Goh Chee Hoh, the Managing Director for Trend Micro Malaysia and Nascent Countries.

In Malaysia alone, almost 118 million email threats and 2.5 million malware attacks were detected. Amongst these threats, ransomware was a constant factor, as Trend Micro saw a 36% increase in the number of ransomware families compared to 2019.

“IT leaders must continue to adapt their cybersecurity strategies to account for increased threats to their new normal,” suggested Mr. Goh.

To strengthen your cybersecurity strategies in a world of increased remote working, rapid adoption of cloud computing and looming new threats, IT security teams should protect remote endpoints, cloud systems, user credentials and VPN systems.

Humans are often considered the weakest link of cybersecurity chains, so Mr. Goh also recommends refreshing training courses that turn newly dispersed workforces into effective first lines of defence.

Malaysia has started to show signs of improvement in the war against cybercriminals, as startups, homegrown talent and the Government have begun implementing new initiatives and solutions to battle the threats.

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What is the weak link in your cybersecurity strategy?

Southeast Asia is becoming a prime target for cybercriminals, with rapidly growing digitalisation and interconnectivity in the region.

But who or what is the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain making your business vulnerable to cyber attacks?

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Innovative solutions are coming for hyperscale data centers after Schneider Electric and AVEVA expanded their partnership.

Announcements to develop hyperscale data centers is a frequent occurrence to meet worldwide demand for more data capacity and cloud adoption. But the complexity in operating at this scale and maintaining these facilities creates unprecedented challenges for hyperscale providers, which require different approaches to power the infrastructure.

This is where the new innovative solutions by Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, and AVEVA, the global leader in engineering and industrial software, will come into play.

Philippe Delorme, Executive Vice President of Energy Management at Schneider Electric, said: “At a time when the world’s digital infrastructure is being pushed to its limits, Schneider and AVEVA are delivering a comprehensive solution for hyperscale data centers to operate and maintain their critical environments.”

The solution will integrate Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Data Centers control and monitoring capabilities with AVEVA’s scalable industrial software to enable deep and expansive visibility of day-to-day operations.

Mr Delorme added: “The complete solution will deliver operational efficiency and a more reliable data center fleet.”

Digitally transforming legacy systems

The partnership looks to digitally transform legacy systems by connecting platforms and data sets that previously existed in disparate systems.

Craig Hayman, the CEO of AVEVA, said: “Our joint customers are empowered by the standardized systems and processes resulting in improved workforce efficiency across multiple sites and the entire enterprise.”

The solutions will achieve their aims by taking data that has long been managed at individual data centers and normalising it across multiple sites to inform and provide enterprise level IT/OT/IoT integration that delivers real-time decision making.

Ultimately, the innovations hope to empower data center staff to feel empowered in making faster and more informed decisions as well as optimising assets and operational efficiency by enabling facilities to scale regardless of number of sites or global location.

The hyperscale market is powering up, as Equinix also recently announced they would build three hyperscale data centers in Japan after the data center provider signed a US$1 billion agreement with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

Schneider Electric to deliver innovative solutions for hyperscale data centers after expanding partnership with AVEVA

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Stuart Crowley

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Chindata Group is reportedly preparing an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States of America with a target of raising US$400 million, reports Reuters.

According to unnamed sources close to the Bain Capital-backed hyperscale data center operator, the firm plans to be publicly listed as early as the third quarter of 2020.

As a result, the market value of Chindata is forecast to reach US$3 to US$4 billion as long as the IPO proceeds.

The decision to list in the US as opposed to Hong Kong was made because fellow Chinese data center owners 21Vianet and GDS Holdings saw success in the NASDAQ stock exchange, with a 209% and 106% respective jump in performance in the last year. 21Vianet also raised US$353 million last week in a follow-on offering.

The fifth largest Chinese IPO in the US this year

With a target of US$400 million, the listing in New York is expected to be the fifth largest Chinese IPO this year, suggests Refinitive data. The data also identifies Chindata as the 20th Chinese company to list in the US in 2020, despite threats of delisting and geopolitical tensions between the US and China.

So far this year, even with the economically devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the 19 current Chinese IPOs have raised US$6.96 billion, which is more than double the US$3.42 billion raised in 2019.

This Chindata IPO will be filed confidentially by submitting a registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Earlier this year, South Korea’s SK Holdings reportedly paid US$300 million for an 8.9% share in Chindata Group. And in 2019, Bain Capital acquired the Group with US$570 million in strategic financing, valuing Chindata at US$3.1 billion.

Chindata Group also merged with Bridge Data Centres to continue hyperscale expansion plans into China, Malaysia and India.

Bain Capital and Chindata declined to comment on the IPO.

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Is cloud hosting right for your business?

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Tech Data, a Fortune 500 company, is set to acquire Innovix Distribution in a move to expand their presence across Asia Pacific.

The addition of Innovix will strengthen end-to-end solution capabilities in cloud, security and endpoint offerings by Tech Data in key geographies, including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

“This reinforces our collective focus on growth and diversification, supporting Tech Data’s plans to transform into one that defines a new standard of operational and cultural excellence in our industry,” said Jaideep Malhotra, the President of Tech Data in Asia Pacific.

In June this year, Tech Data, one of the world’s largest technology distributors, was acquired by Apollo Global Management, a leading global alternative investment manager with offices in China, India, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

“Innovix’s strong team of more than 500 experienced professionals have in-depth local industry knowledge that will strengthen our ability to deliver higher value to our channel partners across the region,” added Mr. Malhotra.

Innovix is a 60-year veteran in IT distribution with an expansive range of IT services, including servers, Uninterruptible Power Supplies, racks, cloud backups, threat intelligence and business continuity.

“Our focus on helping businesses accelerate growth and capitalise on digital transformation is perfectly aligned with Tech Data’s mission to connect the world with the power of technology,” said Eric van der Hoeven, the Chief Executive Officer at Innovix.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Innovix has a network spanning 8,000 channel partners with leading brands like Cisco, Fortinet, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Lenovo, Logitech, Microsoft, Pure Storage, Samsung, Toshiba, Veeam, and Vertiv.

The acquisition of Innovix by Tech Data is expected to close in the third quarter of Tech Data’s 2021 fiscal year. It is unclear the value of the acquisition as of yet.

Watch this space for more news and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date. If you have a story or opinion to share, get in touch at editor@w.media.

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Netskope, a leading cloud security provider, announced the expansion of their NewEdge network in India with three new data centers.

The latest data centers will extend the private cloud security network into Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai to meet unprecedented demand in the country.

Cloud security providers without diverse, in-region coverage will often require users to traverse thousands of miles, incurring a significant latency tax, to reach the next closest data center, which can make services delivered outside of India unusable,” said Joe DePalo, the Senior VP of Platform Engineering at Netskope.

The new data centers will translate into improved performance for Netskope services, low single-digit millisecond latency and greater uptake from local and multinational firms in India – one of the largest markets in terms of users and traffic handled by NewEdge.

“Having multiple data centers in India is a key NewEdge differentiator,” added Mr. DePalo.

‘The public Internet is at breaking point’

As more and more organisations rapidly adopt digital transformation strategies, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, more pressure is put on the public Internet, pushing it to breaking point, according to Netskope.

The strain on public internet is intensified by user demand for high-performance and fast applications as well as enterprises’ need for enhanced security.

Legacy security tools are said to be unprepared for rising demands and produce delays in accessing critical services, impacting user experience and productivity. This is why Gartner predicts that security architectures will shift towards Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), as the enterprise data center is no longer a center of access requirements since more services are moving to the cloud.

Private cloud solutions could be the answer to this, as connectivity issues can be solved by using resilient global architecture that is peered with major providers.

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fortune 200 SYNNEX Corporation, Concentrix uses private cloud security solutions to accelerate digital transformation for their clients while securely managing the data, as their staff is spread across 40 countries in six continents.

“Netskope NewEdge expansion into Chennai, Delhi, and Mumbai strengthens its commitment to secure their customers’ data and provide integral cybersecurity solutions with global consistency driven by local intimacy,” said Rishi Rajpal, the Vice President of Global Security at Concentrix.

The securing of data in India is also becoming increasingly important, as the Government continues to enforce data localisation laws, requiring customer data to be held in the country.

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What does the future hold for India’s data center market?

The need for data centers in India is growing exponentially, as data consumption by half a billion digital users is reaching unprecedented levels.

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As the trend towards green technologies and increasing power costs continues, Supermicro celebrated their collaboration with Preferred Networks (PFN) to build the world’s most energy efficient supercomputer.

The MN-3 supercomputer achieved the first place ranking in the Green500 semi-annual industry assessment.

“The Green500 international recognition confirms that Supermicro delivers resource-saving, superior design, and high-reliability to the market,” said Charles Liang, the CEO and President of Supermicro.

The innovator in high-efficiency server technology achieved 15% higher efficiency compared to the previous Green500 record held by RIKEN in 2018. The MN-3 reached a record of 21.11 Gigaflops of performance-per-watt, delivering a total performance of 1.62 Petaflops. This was important for engineers, as performance-per-watt determines the cost of power and the cooling requirements to keep the system running.

After an exhaustive selection process, PFN partnered with Supermicro to develop the customised server, addressing a wide range of applications that require ultra-fast communications.

“Supermicro was excited to work with PFN on this exceptional system supporting machine learning and deep learning applications and energy efficiency,” added Mr. Liang.

The PFN solution is based on the Supermicro GPU server that utilises Intel Xeon CPUs as well as MN-Core boards developed by PFN for the training phase in deep learning.

“We can deliver outstanding performance while using a fraction of the power that was previously required for such a large supercomputer,” said Yusuke Doi, the VP of Computing Infrastructure at PFN.

The MN-Core boards were created after PFN determined they needed faster and more optimised solutions since the existing accelerators were not keeping up with customer demand.

PFN Supercomputer
PFN Supercomputer

The supercomputer required out-of-the-box thinking to be able to fit two CPUs, four MN-Core boards, 6TB of DDR4 memory, multiple GPUs, and interconnects enabling ultra-fast communications between the GPUs.

Following the completion of the supercomputer, PFN and Supermicro achieved a cluster of 48 servers, four interconnect nodes and five 100GbE switches, with a total of 2,080 CPU cores and housed in a 7U high rack-mounted unit.

This efficient design will enable accelerated deep learning algorithms, empowering PFN to design new applications that address customers’ pressing requirements and Service Level Agreements at reduced operating costs.

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A new advanced battery system for Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) has been launched by South Korea’s Kokam.

The battery system is designed to support mission-critical facilities like data centers where seamlessly switching to full backup power supplies during power outages is crucial.

“With data center growth and grid instability, the UPS battery market is experiencing considerable expansion,” said Ike Hong, the President of Kokam.

The advanced solution uses innovative cell technology to achieve higher energy density and an increased power output of 8 C-rate.

“The launch of our new advanced battery system for the UPS battery market is aimed to provide a cost-effective and advanced solution to address the current grid stability challenges,” added Mr. Hong.

Kokam's new UPS battery system
Kokam’s new UPS battery system

With up to a 46% smaller footprint and 20% lighter design compared to traditional lead-acid systems, the new UPS battery is said to decrease total cost of ownership, which is already up to 40% less than conventional systems.

The South Korea-based lithium-ion battery and integrated energy solution provider was acquired by SolarEdge, a global leader in smart energy technology, in 2018. Since then, Kokam was awarded contracts to supply 40 MWh of energy storage systems in South Korea.

The country’s Government is giving incentives for the wide-spread installation of energy storage systems, as they plan to generate 35% of its power from renewable sources by 2040.

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NTT Ltd. has announced an expanded partnership with Megaport to strengthen their hybrid and multi-cloud strategies for enterprises.

The global technology services provider will deploy Megaport’s Point of Presence at its Tai Po Data Center in Hong Kong as part of the agreement.

“Our deepened partnership with Megaport is a result of rising demand for more secure, reliable and agile hybrid cloud solutions within our data center networks in Hong Kong,” said Steven So, the EVP of Group ICTI for Data Center Services at NTT Ltd in APAC.

Hybrid and multi-cloud solutions are predicted to dominate, as cloud computing is expected to be the platform of choice for emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain and the Internet of Things.

“The deployment of an additional PoP is an important milestone for us to deliver unparalleled end-to-end solutions that help enterprises navigate digital transformation through unprecedented uncertainty,” added Mr. So.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for remote working and dependence on cloud-based technology for enterprises.

The new Megaport PoP is an expansion from NTT’s existing PoP at their Financial Data Center in Hong Kong. The partnership will enable direct, scalable, and secure connections to cloud service providers, including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, Nutanix Xi Cloud, Salesforce and SAP.

The PoP provides a single port, supporting multiple virtual connections to allow businesses to connect to their chosen cloud provider, or build a hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructure.

The dual PoPs at the NTT Financial Data Center and Tai Po Data Center are said to enhance resiliency and reduce the risk of downtime through dual PoP solutions.

The extended partnership between NTT and Megaport adds to the cloud connect services offered by the two organisations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

This month, NTT also announced expansion plans for India, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as a new Private Cloud for Enterprise service in Hong Kong and Singapore to help clients meet growing demands in their digital transformation journeys.

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The multi-access edge computing market is set to grow at an incredible annual rate of 157.4%, generating US$7.23 billion by 2024, which dwarfs the 2019 revenue of US$64.1 million.

The edge computing solution from operators in wireless networks is expected to be utilised by 90% of industrial enterprises in the next three years, predicts Frost & Sullivan.

“The recent launch of the 5G technology coupled with MEC brings computing power close to customers and also allows the emergence of new applications and experiences for them,” said Renato Pasquini, the Research Director for Information & Communication Technologies at Frost & Sullivan.

While only being in its nascent stage, edge computing offers shorter latencies by being close to where the data originates, which also provides robust security, responsive data collection and lower operating costs.

This is particularly important in a world where industrial industries are becoming increasingly hyper-connected with growing adoption of the Internet of Things, smart factories, remote monitoring solutions, autonomous robotics and vehicles.

The demand for edge computing is also growing, as data-driven organisations and governments increasingly require significant streams of data for real-time analytics.

“Going forward, 5G and multi-access edge computing are an opportunity for telecom operators to launch innovative offerings and enable an ecosystem to flourish in the business-to-business segment of telecom service providers using the platform,” added Mr. Pasquini.

Within the multi-access edge computing ecosystem, software edge applications promises the highest annual growth, followed by telecom operators, infrastructure-as-a-service providers, and edge data center colocation services.

However, Frost & Sullivan identified a number of challenges restricting the growth of the market, including an underdeveloped ecosystem in different verticals, limiting the number of solutions and applications available.

The implementation of multi-access edge computing also requires heavy initial capital investment and lacks standardisation, which currently limits the number of cities that can adopt this technology.

How can you tap into the edge computing market?

The multi-access edge computing market is expected to drive new revenue-generating use cases, particularly for telcos in the application of 5G wireless technology, despite delays in the rollout of networks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To tap into this lucrative market, Frost & Sullivan made a number of suggestions. Telecom operators, for example, should work on solutions and services to meet requirements for connected and autonomous cars, which could include advancements in 5G technology.

In order to make this a reality, telecom operators are advised to partner with cloud providers and organisations like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud that work with artificial intelligence and machine learning to design autonomous cars and drone delivery. 

System integrators could also tap into 5G by providing end-to-end solutions, which the research firm noted would be a significant value addition for enterprises, as 5G requires specialised skill sets.

By combining 5G with new specialised hardware-based mobile edge computing technologies like edge routers and data centers, these solutions can meet the market’s streaming media needs, as telecom operators must address the rising consumption of high-definition video streaming on mobiles.

Frost & Sullivan urged companies in the space to capitalise on the innovation opportunities utilising 5G and multi-access edge computing, including augmented reality, virtual reality, ultra-high-definition streaming and cloud gaming.

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Legrand India has announced the launch of Legrand Data Center Solutions in the country to address a market size of US$403.8 million (3000 crores).

The data center solutions provider will bring together a portfolio of global brands, including Legrand, Cablofil, Numeric, Raritan and Server Technology under a single specialist team.

“Data centers in India are growing at a very fast pace. We are witnessing a growth of about 8.5%,” said Tony Berland, the Managing Director and CEO of Legrand India.

Companies across India are accelerating their digital adoption, with unprecedented levels of data consumption and surging cloud uptake. 

Data centers are crucial in meeting these rising digital demands by hosting critical applications and performing crucial tasks, which consume a huge amount of energy.

“We felt it is time to demonstrate our focus and support the data center market in India and make it future-ready,” said Mr. Berland.

Legrand Data Center Solutions provide modular, scalable and customisable solutions that are designed for agility in hyperscale and micro data centers. They have provided solutions to global players, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Colt and Equinix. 

“We are not diversifying. We are bringing multiple brands under one umbrella in India,” said Sanjay Motwani, the Business Head at Legrand Data Center Solutions.

Legrand Data Center Solutions aims to become a preferred vendor of choice in three to five years’ time, as data localisation laws in India continue to increase the needs for data centers.

“With the government sharing the cause for data center infrastructure development, there is more and more reason to believe that Legrand Data Center Solutions will have a compelling growth story unfolding for itself,” said Mr. Motwani.

Headquartered in Mumbai, Legrand currently has an employee base of 6,000 in India with an ambition to expand to new frontiers and establish leadership. Today, data centers account for 10% of the Legrand Group turnover.

Earlier this month, property consultancy firm JLL revealed data center capacity will grow from 375 MW to 1,078 MW over the next five years due to increasing adoption of new technologies and impacting data localisation laws.

India’s data center market is poised for a bright future with more hyperscale and colocation data centers as long as the country commits to data localisation laws and harnesses the true power of cloud computing and Industry 4.0 technology like 5G, edge computing and the Internet of Things.

> Register now for our next digital event ‘Data Center Power & Cooling – Sustainable Design & Innovations’ sponsored by Legrand Data Center Solutions

What does the future hold for India’s data center market?

The need for data centers in India is growing exponentially, as data consumption by half a billion digital users is reaching unprecedented levels.

But how can you tap into this exciting market? And what is the best practice for data center operators and cloud service providers in the country?

Stay tuned for more fascinating webinars taking a deep dive into the data center and cloud markets in India!

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

Digital Edge and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners have committed US$1 billion to form a new diversified, independent data center platform.

Digital Edge is a group of seasoned senior executives formerly with Equinix, Facebook, Tata Communications and Macquarie who will focus on acquiring and developing carrier-neutral data centers across Asia Pacific.

“We are very excited to partner with Stonepeak and to have completed the initial capacity acquisitions to fulfill our vision of bridging the digital divide in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Samuel Lee, the CEO of Digital Edge who previously served as President of Equinix’s Asia Pacific business from 2005 to 2019.

Headquartered in Singapore, Digital Edge announced the closing of two initial investments in Japan-based data centers, a key market for the new data center company.

“The transactions in Tokyo and Osaka give the platform a dual footprint offering to customers in Japan’s two primary data center markets,” added Mr. Lee.

The potentially disruptive data center company aims to deliver innovative data center and interconnect solutions in order to make customer deployments easy in complex, evolving environments.

Digital Edge will develop a 12 MW facility in central Osaka in partnership with Keihanshin Building Co. and Kanden Energy Solution Co., Inc. The data center in Tokyo is a strategic partnership with ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, which will begin with their Mejirozaka Data Center.

“The Asia Pacific digital infrastructure market is among the fastest growing in the world, with demand continuing to outpace supply,” said Brian McMullen, the Senior Managing Director at Stonepeak, an infrastructure-focused private equity firm.

Stonepeak is the majority owner of Cologix, a leading carrier-neutral data center platform in North America, which recently announced the acquisition of vXchnge’s 16,000 square foot data center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Stonepeak has also established a presence in Asia Pacific over the past three years with investments across multiple sectors, including this one with Digital Edge.

“We are delighted to partner with Samuel and his team, who bring unparalleled experience and an exceptional track record of development, and are investing in Digital Edge to help us achieve our shared vision for the region,” added Mr. McMullen.

Samuel Lee is also joined at Digital Edge by a long list of senior executives and key data center players, including his prior senior team at Equinix:

  • Kei Furuta, former Managing Director for North Asia at Equinix
  • Andrew Rigoli, former VP of Corporate Development and Strategy and Interim General Manager for Singapore and Southeast Asia at Equinix
  • Jonathan Chou, former VP of Corporate Development for Asia Pacific at Equinix
  • Jay Park, former vice president of data center design engineering at Facebook 
  • John Freeman, former Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Tata Communications
  • Jonathan Walbridge, former Managing Director of Macquarie

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Image credit: Digital Edge

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