How interconnectivity gives emerging markets space to grow
Published 24 November 2020
For a region like Asia Pacific that is rapidly going digital, the need for interconnectivity is growing to support emerging digital economies. That’s why data center providers are working hard to design connected platforms that enable global teams to collaborate with less downtime and latency.
And with a global pandemic catching the world off guard, the need for data centers has grown exponentially along with accelerated movements to digitalisation of businesses and consumption of data through digital channels.
“Data center operators gauge the future demand based on the inquiries of current customers, then a global pandemic comes along and customers take up and require much more than you actually have,” said Carolyn Harrington, the Chief Operating Officer of SpaceDC.
For a successful data center, low latency and strong connections to multiple telecommunication companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is key, especially for the growing number of hyperscalers who are looking for numerous ISPs to build in redundancy.
To enable greater choice of telecoms and ISPs, a high number of sea cables feeding into a country and high connectivity in the country’s data centers is needed to take advantage of these cabling networks.
Ask and you shall receive
For emerging markets like Indonesia where the Internet economy is growing faster than any other country in Southeast Asia, the number of sea cables is increasing at a rapid pace to meet the huge demand for infrastructure and IT connectivity.
“There is a huge growth for sea cables when it comes to the number of points of presence going into places like Jakarta. We’re starting to see countries like the Philippines and Vietnam increase their number of subsea cable landings,” said Ms. Harrington.
There are currently around 16 subsea cables providing international connectivity into Indonesia. Last year, Google went live with their Indigo cable network, connecting Sydney and Perth with Jakarta and Singapore, strengthening connectivity between Australia and Southeast Asia.
“This shows the huge demand for infrastructure and IT connectivity into an emerging market like Jakarta, which is great for data center providers, telecoms and businesses like AWS and Google,” added Ms. Harrington.
There are also plenty more domestic cable systems in the country, as cities like Jakarta begin to take advantage of the international cabling networks and invest in becoming a smart city to attract more investment from tech giants and influential data center providers.
In late 2019, Indonesia completed its Palapa Ring project at a cost of US$1.5 billion to bring 4G Internet access to 500 regencies across the archipelago through more than 21,747 miles of land and sea cables. The Palapa Ring offers a network capacity of up to 100 Gbps, even in more remote areas of the country.
“We’re also seeing growth from the local market and system integrators becoming more involved,” observed Ms. Harrington.
Whilst on the surface it may seem that large cloud providers are direct competitors of data center providers when they build their own facilities, SpaceDC sees them as customers because these cloud providers work with organisations like SpaceDC to do a proof of concept and determine a viable market and opportunity to invest.
These cloud organisations will also likely have deployments in other data centers like SpaceDC.
“We see it as a positive sign when cloud organisations start to enter the market because it actually means the market is going to move, not just for them, but for data center providers like ourselves,” said Ms. Harrington.
These crucial digitalisation initiatives in Indonesia came at the right time before the global pandemic, as Indonesians, like the rest of the world, have been forced to spend more time at home and use digital platforms to work, shop and play. And even before COVID-19 hit, the country’s e-commerce sector was valued at US$23 billion, becoming one of the most dynamic in the world.
“There is a growing customer demand, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, as we are consuming so much more Internet and data. People are transacting from home because they can’t do what they used to do pre-pandemic as easily now,” said Ms. Harrington.
But digital organisations can’t just put their racks in and be serviced in mature data center hubs like Singapore, because these companies will be more likely to struggle in providing a fast and smooth online experience for their customers.
“It has to be done within the country itself because of latency issues, and hub cities like Singapore have run out of space, so Jakarta and data centers in the country are playing a huge part in the growth of Indonesia’s digitalisation,” suggested Ms. Harrington.
How are data centers enabling Indonesia’s digital future?
With all these robust subsea cabling systems and appetite for digitalisation in Indonesia, organisations looking to go digital need to have international and local ISP players in their data centers.
“It’s great to have all of this connectivity, but you really need to have a robust campus network. Data centers are all about redundancy and resiliency, if one connection goes down, you need to have another backup connection,” advised Ms. Harrington.
For SpaceDC’s new JAK1 and JAK2 data centers, connectivity is front of mind because it is the first thing a customer asks about. That’s why SpaceDC has four different unique pathways feeding into the campus network, ensuring resiliency and redundancy if one line fails.
“They need to make sure that the data center is carrier-neutral and has a rich selection of providers that they can choose on a local front, but also connecting back internationally to other data centers within the region,” said Ms. Harrington.
SpaceDC works with multiple ISPs like Telkom Indonesia, Indosat and Interlink, as well as Internet exchanges and cloud providers to enable choice and flexibility for businesses to grow and support customers working from home.
SpaceDC’s ID01 campus is connected to CyberOne, which has a direct link to the subsea cable landing station in Jakarta.
“Data centers are all about choice, you’ve got choice of connectivity, choice of location, you’ve got the choice of where you put your rack deployment, what types of racks you want, and what type of cages you want to suit your business so that you can grow.”
“We bring all of that together to create a perfect connectivity ecosystem for our customers,” said Ms. Harrington.
Space to grow
For international companies looking to enter the Indonesian market without supporting entities, data centers like JAK1 and JAK2 can support them with a space to grow their business with continuous power, cooling and robust security for their critical data.
And for companies on the start of their data center journey, SpaceDC provides expert advice and experienced direction to help them choose the right ISP for their deployment.
Take for example a growing e-commerce business that has their own website and works from a single server. This setup could create difficulties for the business to grow. If the organisation places its rack in a data center like JAK1 or JAK2, it is a cost-effective platform to scale up with security and speed by working with cloud partners to build an e-commerce site that suits the increasing demands in Indonesia.
“By using cloud technology, they can also benefit from the knowledge acquired from building multiple e-commerce sites for other customers. You’ve then got a quick and easy ramp into the data center to reduce latency. Everyone wants to connect very quickly to the cloud because they are using it to run, generate and communicate with customers,” said Ms. Harrington.
With a team that has built over 70 data centers around the world, SpaceDC has designed JAK1 and JAK2 to cater to businesses of all sizes and needs, from in-market customers, to hyperscalers and international organisations.
The return on investment for customers is the ability to work with a team that has strong local knowledge to help them reduce their total cost of ownership with a data center campus that offers international design standards, a low PUE for a reduced cost of power and efficient power consumption for a true TCO and even more return.
“Without our customers, we don’t exist. In terms of our services, build and design, we always keep a customer focus,” said Ms. Harrington.
SpaceDC’s vision is to build an Asian data center platform that connects both hub cities with new, emerging digital markets like Indonesia and the Philippines. With JAK2 already launched and JAK1 following shortly behind, SpaceDC is well on track to achieve this mission, with more results of their work expected in the exciting months ahead.
By Stuart Crowley, Editor, W.Media