Pacific Rim – Indonesia Rising

By August 2018Uncategorized

Pacific Rim – Indonesia Rising

Pacific Rim – Indonesia Rising

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

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

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

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

August 5th 7.0 magnitude earthquake

August 18th 6.3 magnitude

August 19th 6.9 magnitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next event sees W.Media head to

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

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

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

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


Spencer Denyer

Chief Editor, W.Media

Power Partners

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