Princeton Digital Group sets aggressive data center expansion plans to complement “New Infrastructure” strategy in China

China has a large and fast-growing data center market, driven by data center operators like Princeton Digital Group complementing the needs of the Government’s “New Infrastructure” strategy to develop more facilities.

The “New Infrastructure” initiative was introduced in early 2020, promoting data center developments, like Princeton Digital Group’s three current and three upcoming facilities, to enable China’s digital future where 710 million citizens are online.

“Online businesses have changed the lives of over one billion people, introducing new ways of life such as digital payment, online education, streaming media, e-sports,” said Zhang Yonghai, Princeton Digital Group’s Managing Director for China.

With China’s “Internet Plus” strategy encouraging businesses to digitally transform, 70% of the population now use e-commerce services, increasing demand for more data centers to keep the world’s second largest economy online.

Mr. Yonghai Zhang, Princeton Digital Group’s Managing Director for China
Mr. Yonghai Zhang, Princeton Digital Group’s Managing Director for China

“With the continued development of new generation AI, 5G, industrial internet, the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles, there will only be greater demand for higher standard data center resources,” added Mr. Zhang, who has more than 28 years of experience in the IDC industry.

Cloud computing giants and large internet companies like Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance, Pinduoduo and more are also bringing large demand for data center developments and hyperscale facilities, stimulating another wave of fast growth for the Chinese data center market.

As a result, China has more than 360 data centers, almost 200 providers, and is expected to grow by 3% annually until 2024.

The scale of these data centers is also growing exponentially to meet the growing data capacity demands, from 8MW being the mainstream a few years ago, to 40MW in 2020. The smallest approved Shanghai project in 2020 being a capacity of 24MW, while the largest facilities can be bigger than 100MW, as local customers often choose large-scale customised procurement projects.

This relatively mature infrastructure, scale and rapid growth in the Chinese data center market is key to the stable development of Princeton Digital Group’s business. PDG already has mature data center assets in large hotspots, including Beijing, Xi’an and Guangzhou as well as a 42MW flagship data center in Shanghai.

“Guided by the Yangtze River Delta integration policies and trends, we are strategically building data centers in Shanghai and its surrounding areas with the goal of creating a new highland of cloud computing and big data analytics,” said Mr. Zhang.

Princeton Digital Group is also developing two new campus projects in Nanjing and Nantong located in Jiangsu province. Their Nanjing facility will be a 41KW data center spanning more than 35,000 square metres, with construction expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year. The Nantong project is also expected to begin construction later this year, and will have a first phase capacity of 26MW upon completion in late 2022.

Princeton Digital Group’s Nanjing data center
Princeton Digital Group’s Nanjing data center

Princeton Digital Group strategically selected these two cities, as they are emerging new metros that have been influenced by the “New Infrastructure” policies. Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province and an important transportation and communications hub, while Nantong is closely connected to Shanghai where tech giants like Tencent are located and a new generation of IT is expected to exceed a GDP of US$143 billion in 2020.

Facing the challenges of China’s rapid data center expansion

While China’s rapidly developing data center market brings lucrative opportunities, changes and challenges also arise, including higher customer requirements and standards in design and construction, changes in supply chain, strict PUE regulations and facing fierce competition.

With its manufacturing advantages and highly reliable water and electricity supply, China has a complete industrial chain of manufacturing, installation, and after-sale services to supply data center construction and hardware equipment. 

But the country’s data center market has its own unique supply chain ecosystem and high entry barrier where water and electricity are provided by state-controlled enterprises, for which data center operators must apply for the capacity with these designated companies.

Princeton Digital Group's Nantong Data Center
Princeton Digital Group’s Nantong Data Center

“Each of our projects is managed by a full team of business development professionals specialized in policies and regulations of the local governments, including energy experts with excellent resources and understanding on how to obtain the relevant permits and approvals,” said Mr. Zhang, who previously worked for HP China as their General Manager for their data center business in China.

Recently, these supply chains have also started to change to offer custom-manufacture for cloud computing customers, offering more manageable lead time and pricing. To constantly adapt to these changes, Princeton Digital Group partners with both global and local suppliers.

“Backed by deep-pocketed Warburg-Pincus, all current projects by Princeton Digital Group in China are developed on their own land and have acquired all the necessary permits for energy, environmental assessment and power resources to ensure a smooth development process,” added Mr. Zhang.

Unlike other countries in Asia where electricity supplies are less reliable, the challenge in China is meeting strict PUE requirements where data centers must meet a 1.3-1.4 PUE.

Yanfei Zhao
Mr. Zhao Yanfei, Princeton Digital Group’s VP of Engineering

“This is particularly challenging to achieve in some economically developed cities in the south of China where the climate is warmer. And as data center scales become larger in China, bigger challenges are imposed on design processes, project and operation management,” said Zhao Yanfei, Princeton Digital Group’s VP of Engineering, who has 15 years of experience in the real estate and IDC sectors in China.

To overcome this challenge, Princeton Digital Group’s facilities are controlled at a PUE of 1.3-1.4 using leading energy and cooling technologies like high voltage direct currents, indirect evaporative cooling and natural cooling technologies.

Princeton Digital Group also leverages the vast experience and cultural knowledge of their in-country team. Princeton Digital Group is able to build fast and aggressively throughout Asia with strong data center industry names like Mr. Zhang, who was responsible for Pioneer Universe Group’s entire data center business in China, and Mr. Zhao, who oversaw the build of all Baidu’s hyperscale data centers across China.

As a pan-Asian operator, Princeton Digital Group is also able to consolidate their industry knowledge, strategic alliances and resources from multiple countries within the Group to support foreign customers interested in entering the Chinese market as well as customers in China looking to explore other markets in Asia Pacific.

“China-based hyperscalers and emerging internet companies are expanding beyond the border and especially into the APAC region at an unprecedented speed. But their growth plans are nonetheless bottlenecked in various markets due to differences in culture, regulation and practises,” added Mr. Zhang.

Princeton Digital Group actively looks for opportunities to serve hyperscalers and collaborate with customers and partners to create multiple channels of communications and resource sharing throughout Asia, including China, Singapore and Indonesia.

Discover how Princeton Digital Group’s in-depth experience, insight and success in multiple markets make them an optimal choice of partner in and out of China.

By Stuart Crowley, Editor, W.Media

Sustainable hyperscaling create unique opportunities for Princeton Digital Group to stand out in Singapore

Singapore is the most mature data center market in Southeast Asia, so it is imperative for new players like Princeton Digital Group to stand out in the country.

The ‘Little Red Dot’ is an ideal location to set up a data center, with the largest concentration of subsea cables in Asia, a stable political ecosystem and relatively safe from natural disasters.

Asher Ling, the Managing Director for Singapore at Princeton Digital Group, said: “There is a deep pool of talent with specific data center expertise and that the local ecosystem of partners is well established.”

Princeton Digital Group entered the market last year following their acquisition of the DCSG (previously called “IO Data Center”) facility in Central Singapore.

Acquiring the well-known data center in Singapore came with the challenge of tackling the preconceived notions and changing industry perceptions on what the facility had to offer.

Mr. Ling said: “Our strategy was to pivot such challenges into our advantage by leveraging on the market’s familiarity with our facility.”

Princeton Digital Group began by introducing services they believed were best suited and designed for their key target clients.

“We have been able to leverage our location, scale and the existing fiber infrastructure to help position our site to the hyperscaler community,” said Mr. Ling.

Hyperscaling Singapore

Hyperscalers have driven a lot of data center market growth in Singapore over the past several years, differentiating the country from others in Southeast Asia.

Overall, the hyperscale data center market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 24% until 2022 to keep up with rapid increase of data being generated by advancing technologies like AI and mobile devices as well as digitally transforming industries like banking, healthcare and public services.

Over the past year, Princeton Digital Group has worked with existing customers in Singapore to ensure their operational integrity, while concurrently investing to expand their SG1 facility to meet the requirements of both enterprise customers and hyperscale cloud service providers.

“Given our deep relationships across Asia Pacific, we have been able to establish client confidence in our Singapore business which has allowed us to move quickly and garner success in the marketplace,” said Mr. Ling.

And while other data center providers may consider cloud service providers as their competitors, Princeton Digital Group’s outlook is that they are an important customer base.

With a wide customer base, it is important to build a unique understanding of customers’ needs to stand out in the Singapore market, that’s why Princeton Digital Group has been focused on helping them address their infrastructure challenges.

Since acquiring DCSG in 2019, Princeton Digital Group ensured there would be no impact to existing operations as well as putting a growth strategy in place to provide a roadmap for additional capacity, serving both enterprise and hyperscale customers.

“We see very strong demand in the Singapore market, across all customer segments.  We will continue to deliver services for our existing customers and build out new capacity to address our customer’s growth requirements,” assured Mr. Ling.

Princeton Digital Group recently completed a newly built out raised floor capacity at their SG1 facility and will continue their expansion projects to support new customer demand.

“We actively invested and built out our solutions to give confidence to prospective clients, which eventually led to our success in the Singapore market,” said Mr. Ling

Elsewhere, Princeton Digital Group is developing two new hyperscale greenfield builds in Indonesia that look to be ready by 2022.

Sustainably evolving Singapore

Singapore’s data center market continues to evolve in many aspects, with a prominent focus on how data center design and operations can support the sustainability goals of customers.

The ‘Little Red Dot’ consumes more electricity per person than any other country in Southeast Asia. Data centers contribute a substantial 7% of this energy consumption in Singapore every year. 

In 2019, the Government started to impose a carbon tax at a rate of $5 for every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the country’s environmental impact.

A Green Data Centre Standard has also been established with the aim of encouraging organisations to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities.

To remain financially competitive, environmentally responsible and provide unique selling points in the Singapore market, data centers operators are exploring many solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and ensure sustainability.

“We are working on both operational improvement and new design review programs in the areas of energy efficiency and technology platforms so that we can provide a consistent experience to all of our customers,” said Mr. Ling.

To achieve their sustainability goals, Princeton Digital Group is building up their team and putting operational programs in place to target increased energy efficiencies.

Singapore’s government is also proactively engaging with enterprise and colocation data center operators to address how the industry can develop and operate business in a sustainable manner.

Princeton Digital Group operates data centers across Asia Pacific and aligns their operations and construction processes to meet or exceed local regulations and building codes.

> Find out more about Princeton Digital Group

By Stuart Crowley, Editor, W.Media

Google Cloud partners with XL Axiata to drive cloud migration in Indonesia

Google Cloud has entered into two strategic partnerships with XL Axiata to drive cloud migration and further digital transformation strategies in Indonesia.

As a leading telecommunications provider, XL Axiata aims to migrate 70% of workloads to the cloud within the next three years.

“XL Axiata is committed to the modernization of our infrastructure to get more business agility and increase application deployment velocity,” said Yessie D Yosetya, the Chief Information and Digital Officer at XL Axiata.

The Indonesian cellular provider will adopt Google Cloud’s Anthos to securely and consistently automate, manage and scale workloads across its hybrid- and multi-cloud environments.

Ms Yosetya added: “Anthos was a natural fit as it lets us adopt containers while letting Google, a leader in Kubernetes, manage our container infrastructure for us.”

The app modernisation platform known as Anthos will enable XL Axiata to extend its cloud capabilities across on-premise data centers and various cloud-based resources by using Google’s Kubernetes Engine.

“With Anthos, we’re providing a consistent platform for XL Axiata to deploy workloads both on-premises and in the cloud so they can accelerate their own digital transformation,” said Megawaty Khie, the Country Director of Google Cloud in Indonesia.

Transferring data between XL Axiata’s five data centers and Google’s global network

As part of the second partnership, XL Axiata has become a Google Cloud Interconnect Partner, which will bring high-speed connectivity, cloud services and digital growth opportunities.

Customers in Indonesia will be empowered to reliably transfer data between XL Axiata’s five data centers and Google’s global network.

Ms Khie said: “Our collaboration around Partner Interconnect will enable companies of all sizes in Indonesia to gain access to high-speed connectivity to create a whole new world of experiences for their customers.”

As part of the Interconnect partnership, Google’s Dedicated Interconnect service provides physical connections between XL Axiata’s data center network and the Google Cloud network through a private network rather than public Internet.

“This is indeed a win-win collaboration with XL Axiata,” celebrated Ms Khie.

A private network typically delivers ‘fewer points of failure where traffic might usually get dropped or disrupted and offers the added benefit of increased security and management functionality’.

XL Axiata also has plans to implement Google Cloud’s scalable data analytics platform to enhance customer experiences through data- and AI-driven technologies.

Leveraging on Indonesia’s cloud boom

Indonesia’s cloud market is booming, with a number of new hyperscale data centers announced by organisations, including Princeton Digital Group, Google, Alibaba Cloud, AWS and Microsoft.

“Service providers worldwide are embarking on transformation journeys centered on the cloud in order to drive new services, revenue opportunities and experiences,” said Ms Khie in a press release on Tuesday 9 June.

Indonesia is expected to experience investments worth over US1$ billion and an annual growth rate of 11% between 2019 and 2025.

Google’s Managing Director in Indonesia, Randy Jusuf, said the country’s ‘digital economy has become the largest in Southeast Asia’ and is projected to reach US$124.1 billion by 2025, triple the Rp 548.2 trillion it recorded in 2020.

XL Axiata’s partnership with Google Cloud looks to ‘serve the evolving needs of millions of companies across Indonesia’s rapidly digitizing economy’ by empowering cloud migration and digital transformation.

Last year, Princeton Digital Group, a leading investor, developer and operator of Internet infrastructure, acquired a 70% stake in XL Axiata’s data centers to give them a strong foundation to grow their business in Indonesia.

Following this acquisition, PDG looks to develop two new hyperscale greenfield builds that are slated to be ready by 2022.

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Princeton Digital Group targets untapped potential for hybrid cloud data centers amid rapid cloud computing growth in Indonesia

The data center landscape in Indonesia is growing exponentially, as industry players like Princeton Digital Group look to tap into a market full of large domestic enterprise customers, SMEs and a broad swath of global  multinational corporations.

To keep up with demand, Princeton Digital Group, a leading investor, developer and operator of Internet infrastructure, is developing two new hyperscale greenfield builds that are slated to be ready by 2022. One will be adjacent to their Cibitung facility in Jakarta and the other new build will be interconnected to their existing site in Surabaya.

Stephanus Tumbelaka, Princeton Digital Group’s Managing Director of Indonesia, said: “This market is quite dynamic and it has a significant amount of upside growth potential.”

Due to rising digitisation and Internet traffic, Indonesia’s data center market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 11%, with more than US$1 billion in investments.

Mr Tumbelaka said: “As you look across the entire country, Indonesia has many metro markets outside of Jakarta that have limited data center facilities and overall capacity.”

Along with the new facilities, Princeton Digital Group plans to upgrade their five existing facilities.

PDG has the most carrier neutral facilities in Indonesia, covering both Java and Sumatra islands and servicing customers across four different markets: Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and Pekenbaru. 

Mr Tumbelaka added: “Indonesia is the world’s 14th largest country by land mass, therefore operators who only operate in a single metro or perhaps a single facility have a limited view of customers throughout Indonesia.”

Cloud computing boom creates untapped potential for hybrid solutions

Indonesia is projected to witness the fastest growth for cloud computing among the ASEAN countries, with tech giants like Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure entering the scene.

Mr Tumbelaka said: “The growth of the cloud computing market should help facilitate the growth of the data center infrastructure sector. This has been seen in other markets throughout Asia Pacific that PDG operates in.”

The Government’s proposed data protection law and recent data localization regulations may also positively impact both the local data center and cloud services market, as companies will be required to store their data locally in Indonesia.

This uptake in cloud computing reveals untapped potential for hybrid cloud solutions that require third party data center facilities like Princeton Digital Group’s to provide enterprise customers with global leading operational support and flexible commercial structures.

“We don’t feel that PDG competes with cloud service providers, rather they are our customers,” said Mr Tumbelaka.

Princeton Digital Group noticed more enterprise and public sector customers are active in all metros they operate in, indicating that customers are considering migrating infrastructure into third party colocation facilities.

Princeton Digital Group takes a proactive stance to overcome the challenges of rapid growth 

A rapidly developing market like Indonesia’s requires Government support to help investment climates. 

Data center operators should deploy to multiple metro markets to capture a significant amount of the domestic business.

Mr Tumbelaka said: “As the largest carrier neutral data center operator in Indonesia with facilities across four different metro markets, we have a unique perspective.”

PDG takes a proactive stance in the industry by reaching out across many different government agencies and industry groups to ensure their perspective is heard and that they are engaged in various discussions.

He added: “In addition to the hyperscaler cloud providers, we feel that we are well positioned to also be able to assist local enterprise customers and MNCs with their data center infrastructure requirements.”

Operators should look to enable the entire ecosystem of the data center community to achieve long term success since Indonesia’s market is less established compared to other countries.

PDG removed a lot of uncertainty away from entering new markets by having a strong local partner, XL Axiata, which gave them a strong foundation to grow their business.

The challenge of having sustainable sources of electricity to cope with the scale of the market may also impact Indonesia’s market

To overcome this, Princeton Digital Group focuses on building data centers towards global standards of energy efficient building codes such as BREEAM and LEED.

“Princeton Digital Group operates data centers across Asia Pacific and we align our operations and construction processes to meet or exceed local regulations and building codes,” said Mr Tumbelaka.  

PDG has conducted operations optimisation programs focusing on energy efficiency within the core mechanical and electrical systems in their five existing facilities since taking over operations in December.

Their new developments in Jakarta and Surabaya will look to meet or exceed local regulations and building codes by working with technology and construction partners to ensure compliance with PDG’s practices during the entire life cycle of the project.

Princeton Digital Group aims to continue their strategy to deliver high-quality data centers to both the Indonesian enterprise market and the global hyperscale community with their new and existing facilities.

> Find out more about Princeton Digital Group

By Stuart Crowley, Editor, W.Media