How does Singapore’s Data Center Market impact the larger economy?

It is no secret that Singapore is the leading data center market in Southeast Asia, and one of the primary markets in the wider Asia Pacific region — decades of easy access and business-friendly policies have propelled the tiny city state into a meeting point for multinational tech corporations, and that includes some of the industry’s largest data center operators and investors.

So, what is the one largest impact of the data center industry on Singapore’s already bustling economy?

Ajay Sunder, Deputy Director of Strategy at SC-Nex, believes that it is the continued exemplary governance that Singapore takes around data protection and privacy that will make the country a leader in the region. As the volume of data grows, so does the need for stronger policies that guarantee data security. In this, therefore, Singapore can serve as a model for its neighbouring economies, thereby solidifying its position as the data hub of Southeast Asia.

On the other hand, Patrick McCreery, Head of Commercial at Keppel Data Centers, points out that the biggest impact of the data center industry on Singapore’s economy is added capability to develop next-generation technologies.

Data centers are directly tied to the digital ecosystem and infrastructure of a region, and Singapore already has the best conditions for a thriving tech hub. As such, it produces a synergic effect: 5G, AI, and Internet of Things (IoT) can thus be accelerated at greater speed.

Smart City initiatives and data centers

The capability of a data center is closely tied to the success of a smart city, and here is where the presence of data centers has the potential to influence the development of other sectors around it.

Mr. Sundar highlights how the data center industry cuts across the world’s six core sectors — metals, minerals, infrastructure, logistics, digital media, and real estate — making it one that is unique and thus charged with potential. Building a smart city requires a high level of skill in the core sectors, and a talented labour force. If a market has a large pool of talent in the above sectors, we will be able to see considerable growth.

Long story short, a data center enables the economy around it, and in this case, Singapore serves as a shining example.

Singapore’s short and long term challenges

However, this does not mean that Singapore’s data center market is without its challenges. Daryl Dunbar, a Singapore-based tech strategy leader and independent consultant, says that so far, much of next-generation tech skills are still constrained to the US and Western European market. This means that migration of such skills is one challenge that lays ahead if an economy such as Singapore wants to grow bigger.

“There needs to be a localisation of tech skills to allow for further growth,” he said.

Another challenge is sustainability. It is reported that data centers in Singapore consume about 20 percent more energy compared to the global average. Therefore, operators inevitably have to evaluate and improve on energy efficiency for data centers.

According to Mr. Sundar, questions that data center companies should address when going green, include: who their energy partner is, and how energy efficiency can be guaranteed.

“These will determine how operators will be perceived in the industry in the long run,” he added.

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The past year has seen incredible leaps forward in our embrace of digital solutions, and we think it’s time to come together and talk about it. We’re bringing together thousands of IT leaders from across Southeast Asia, covering everything from datacenter deployment to digital banking. Digital Week lets you expand your network and engage with new markets from wherever you are.

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DCs overlooking CO2-eq emissions saving of over 3 mn tonnes: EkkoSense

  • EkkoSense analysis indicates that organizations are missing an opportunity to cut their data center cooling energy consumption by 30 percent
  • Research also reveals that up to 60 percent of expensive cooling equipment installed in data centers is not actually delivering any active cooling benefits

The world’s leading data centers are missing out on proven ways of cutting cooling energy consumption by up to 30 percent, new research shows.

The analysis, conducted by EkkoSense – a provider of software-driven data center thermal optimization solutions – assessed cooling performance across a sample of some 133 data center halls with analysis of over 33,000 IT racks.

The results showed that the current average data center cooling utilization level is only 40 percent. EkkoSense’s research also identified that implementing an effective thermal optimisation programme has collectively secured a cumulative 10MW+ cooling power saving – equivalent to a minimum $10 million cooling energy cost saving since deployment. In carbon terms, this equates to a cumulative saving of around 20,000 tonnes CO2eq emissions reduction[i].

This level of performance optimization applied to the broader global estate of 22,474 midsize, enterprise and larger hyperscale data centers[ii] suggests that potential worldwide cooling energy savings of over $1.7 billion are realizable. Additionally, an overall carbon emissions reduction of some 3.38 million tonnes CO2 -eq worldwide can be secured simply by applying the systematic and synchronized application of data center cooling optimisation best practices on a global basis.

“With data centers already established as one of the world’s highest collective consumers of energy, it’s imperative that IT operations teams do everything they can to deliver the quick carbon reduction wins that will help organisations to deliver on their net zero commitments,” commented Mark Acton, a leading data center technical and standards consultant and an EkkoSense Non-Executive Director. “The good news is that with the latest generation of software-driven data centre optimization solutions there’s a real opportunity for organisations to achieve significant carbon reductions. Indeed, EkkoSense’s in-depth analysis of data center thermal performance shows that it’s now possible to secure cooling energy consumption reductions of around a third simply by following current thermal optimization best practices”.

“Data center operators also need to recognise that optimizing thermal performance positively impacts data center risk management – however it’s difficult to ask the right questions if you don’t actually have any granular visibility into how your individual racks and cooling equipment are performing,” added Anuraag Saxena, Data Center Optimisation Manager at EkkoSense. “From our research we know that only 5 percent of data center M&E teams currently monitor and report equipment temperature actively on an individual rack-by-rack basis – and even less collect real-time cooling duty information or conduct any formal cooling resilience tests. So, it’s perhaps hardly surprising that our initial analysis showed that – at any given time – around 10-15 percent of data center racks were actually well out of ASHRAE thermal compliance.”

Given that the typical response of many organisations facing IT cooling challenges is to further invest in more expensive cooling equipment, EkkoSense’s findings show that the underlying cause of poor data center thermal compliance is clearly not a lack of cooling capacity. Instead, facility teams and other technical stakeholders should be focused on optimizing their data centers’ thermal performance and using their investment in existing cooling systems more efficiently. This not only results in reduced cooling costs year-on-year but also eliminates, or defers, the need for capital investment.

JOIN W.MEDIA AT DIGITAL WEEK

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The past year has seen incredible leaps forward in our embrace of digital solutions, and we think it’s time to come together and talk about it. We’re bringing together thousands of IT leaders from across Southeast Asia, covering everything from datacenter deployment to digital banking. Digital Week lets you expand your network and engage with new markets from wherever you are.

Want to learn more about ASEAN’s Cloud & IT ecosystem? Start your year off right and Register Today for Free!

Chindata Group releases 2030 carbon-neutral roadmap

Asia’s leading hyperscale data center solution provider Chindata Group published its roadmap to be carbon neutral for all its next-generation hyper-scale data centers in China with its 100% renewable energy solution by 2030, 30 years sooner than China’s 2060 carbon-neutral pledge.

This is part of Chindata Group’s strategy to invest in clean energy with an installed capacity of no less than 2GW by 2030. Recently, the company has already signed renewable energy contracts with local governments, such as Datong and Zhangjiakou of China, totaling 1300 MW of installed capacity.

With accelerated digital transformation, there is a growing demand for carrier-neutral hyperscale data infrastructure, which allows interconnection between multiple telecommunication carriers and/or colocation providers. 

As a result, data centers will require a huge local energy supply. Data center provider thus becomes crucial in helping help tech companies and their users across the world to achieve carbon neutrality. 

As the first-of-its-kind company in China to launch the 2030 carbon neutrality roadmap, Chindata Group says it is committed to work together with partners to progress toward a sustainable future.

While catering to clients’ computing power needs, Chindata Group locate most of its hyperscale data centers in regions with rich wind and solar resources, making it possible to tap local surplus sustainable energy. In 2019 alone, Chindata Group has achieved a portfolio renewable energy mix of 37%.

The second solution is to minimize energy use. Thanks to advances in green technology in green building, IT equipment, and cooling system, in 2019, Chindata Group’s data centers use approximately 27.5% less energy than the global industry average, an equivalent of 173,087 tons of carbon dioxide emissions reduction,  according to Uptime Institute. 

Sustainability has been the buzzword for data centers construction and management in recent years. With Southeast Asia being the key drivers of data center growth, it remains to be seen how players from this region embrace sustainability.

Is South Korea following the green data center trend?

The green data center and sustainable solutions market is rapidly growing, as governments crack down on the growing energy consumption and carbon emissions caused by data centers.

In South Korea, data center operators like IBM, EhostIDC, LG CNS and Naver have all invested in green data center solutions, including raised flooring, solar power and outside air cooling and liquid cooling.

The Korea Information Technology Service Industry Association also launched the Green Data Center Certificate in the country, with the goal of reducing energy consumption and having more than 15% of local data centers obtain the certificate. 

But South Korea is still the seventh largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, and the twelfth largest emitter of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, data center providers are recycling waste heat for hyperscale facilities in Indonesia and exploring hydrogen-powered data centers in Singapore.

So, how does South Korea compare to the rest of Asia in implementing green data center technologies? Join industry experts on Thursday 13 August to discover the latest green data center solutions and how you can get involved in saving the environment!

Empowering efficient data centers in Korea

First up on our Green Data Center event, we will be joined by Chang Cho, a member of the Korea Data Center Council (KDCC) and Founder of Onion Technology, a leading DCIM solution provider in Korea.

As technical board member of Green Data Center Certificate, Mr. Cho will enlighten us on one of KDCC’s key activities to develop and operate Green Data Center Certification Programs to help improve data center energy efficiency and reduce national energy consumption.

Discover the global green data center trends

We will then be joined by Professor Wen Yonggang from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Professor Wen’s research interests include cloud computing, green data centers and machine learning.

Professor Wen will share a deep dive on the global green data center market and the artificial intelligence-based solutions that could solve the growing energy efficiency concerns.

Explore the state of green data centers in Asia Pacific

How does South Korea compare to other countries in Asia Pacific for implementing green data centers and the appetite for sustainable solutions in the region? And what is the future for the industry?

We will be joined by Jay Weon Khym, the Country Manager for Korea at Digital Realty who recently broke ground on their first data center in Korea. Digital Realty also recently partnered with the Science-Based Targets Initiative to bring emissions in-line with a “significantly below two-degree” climate change scenario by 2030.

Joining Mr. Khym will be Charles Lee, the Founder and Managing Director of OneAsia and Newtech Technology, providing all-rounded data center and facility management services. 

Newtech is committed to designing and constructing a new generation of data centers that minimise power consumption and carbon emissions, making Charles a perfect panellist to shed light on the state of green data centers in Asia.

To discover how you can be a part of Asia’s green data center future, sign up for our next W.Media event on Thursday 13 August!

SpaceDC brings first green data center to Indonesia powered by its people

SpaceDC is bringing the first green data center to Indonesia, powered by a world-class team of individuals who are passionate about delivering a reliable and resilient network.

The Singapore-based data center provider recently welcomed Elisabeth Simatupang as their new Country Manager for Indonesia who has big plans for the future.

With experience building 1,000 telecom towers per year with Bali Towers as well as international expertise working with AWS in Sweden, Ms. Simatupang brings strong local knowledge of Indonesia backed by precise understanding of international standards.

Ms. Simatupang hopes to stand out in the Indonesia market by achieving SpaceDC’s vision of creating an interconnected data center platform throughout Asia that is environmentally friendly and operates to international standards, helping end users to manage their data more efficiently on one platform that brings down their total cost of ownership.

Building the first green data center in Indonesia with SpaceDC

Indonesia is one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, and data centers are a significant culprit of producing a large carbon footprint. As a result, lowering the environmental impact of data centers is at the heart of SpaceDC’s philosophy.

To achieve this, SpaceDC’s first green data center campus in Jakarta will be powered by natural gas – a first for Indonesia. This solution reduces both the environmental impact and increases the overall fault tolerance of the site.

The data center will also be able to recycle waste heat from gas generators by passing it through a heat exchanger in the absorption chillers, producing more chilled water for its Cold Room Air Conditioners that cool down the data center halls.

The 26.6MW Indonesian campus has achieved a Power Usage Effectiveness rating of 1.3, while other data centers are said to be struggling at 2 PUE.

But SpaceDC‘s commitment to achieving an environmentally friendly legacy doesn’t stop there, as the team plans to further reduce the PUE of their facilities, which benefits customers by lowering the total cost of ownership. 

However, achieving sustainable and reliable power for data centers in Indonesia is challenging, as the national energy grid produces insufficient electrical generation capacity and a weak quality of power.

To overcome this, most data centers in Indonesia usually build their facilities inside industrial estates that have a shared power plant, which typically makes the cost of powering a facility more expensive.

SpaceDC has gone a step further by building their own power plant in Jakarta, which they manage 100% to generate the absorption chiller at their data center campus. 

To ensure the reliability of the facility, the power and cooling systems are also supported by diesel generators and electric chillers as well as an additional backup from the Government power utility in Jakarta, which is typically more reliable compared to other regions in Indonesia.

As a result, SpaceDC solidified their ability to reliably power their campus by achieving an Uptime Tier III certification at their JAK2 facility. Not only that, but SpaceDC also recently achieved the recognition of being the first OCP Ready™ facility in Asia by proving its ability to design highly efficient data centers and meet Open Compute Project Foundation guidelines.

The team is looking to set the bar high in the future, as they strive to secure a Tier IV classification at their upcoming JAK 1 data center, which would be a particularly unique achievement for a facility in an emerging market.

SpaceDC’s JAK1 and JAK2 facilities that make up Indonesia’s first green data center campus

Delivering sustainable interconnectivity for Indonesia

On top of having the first green data center in Indonesia, SpaceDC’s goal is to provide an interconnected platform in the country that makes managing data footprints across regions easier and more efficient for businesses.

Driven by Indonesia’s tremendous growth in Internet accessibility as well as customers’ desire for connectivity and speed, SpaceDC will work with private cloud companies and internet service providers to bring hub cities and emerging markets together.

Elisabeth Simatupang, SpaceDC's Country Manager for Indonesia
Elisabeth Simatupang, SpaceDC’s Country Manager for Indonesia

Ms. Simatupang believed the best way to stand out in Indonesia is by achieving international standards in Internet connectivity, as most traditional data centers in Indonesia have not reached this status.

The data center provider is in the process of building partnerships with all the biggest ISPs in Indonesia, including Telkom, Indosat and CBN who have links with the country’s biggest transmission backbone project to deliver reliable network connectivity and flexibility for customers.

To fulfil international standards for interconnectivity, Jakarta is the place to be.

SpaceDC carefully selected their data center campus to be located in the capital city, as it has some of the best fiber optic transmission ability and reliability when compared to other areas. Their campus is designed with four meet-me rooms and three different entry points from three different directions of fiber optic coming into the campus, making for resilient and reliable network connectivity.

Expanding out from Indonesia, SpaceDC has ambitious plans for the future by targeting emerging markets and hub cities across Asia to create a unique interconnected platform.

By providing a reliable interconnected platform for emerging markets like Indonesia, SpaceDC enables more data load capacity in these markets, rather than feeding in capacity from other countries with more mature data center markets like Singapore.

Achieving the interconnected green data center dream with people power

SpaceDC has identified the hub cities and emerging they want to expand into within the next five years, based on the demand from their customers and megawatt capacity needs in their facilities.

Carolyn Harrington, SpaceDC's Chief Operating Officer
Carolyn Harrington, SpaceDC’s Chief Operating Officer

The Chief Operating Officer of SpaceDC, Carolyn Harrington, said with confidence: “I’d be surprised if we haven’t delivered more based on the speed of the market.”

However, a data center would not function without a team of talented people who have the technical prowess and ability to understand the individual needs of end users.

SpaceDC is in the process of building a team who are empowered and motivated to deliver their five-year vision.

“A business is a vision and mission, but this only eventuates if you have the right team,” said Ms. Harrington.

In the current economic climate affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, many business plans have been put into question and a state of uncertainty. But the SpaceDC team has stayed strong in continuing to work towards this vision.


Ms. Harrington said: “I’m overwhelmed but not surprised at how well the team is doing because they’re an amazing bunch of professionals who take great pride in their work.

“I honestly cannot thank them enough. I am not surprised at how well the team is doing because they’re an amazing bunch of professionals who take great pride in their work,” she added.

Supported by their passionate team with over 60 years of combined industry experience, SpaceDC is driven to stand out by designing and operating efficient, resilient and network-rich data centers that prioritise each individual customer’s idiosyncratic needs whilst remaining environmentally friendly.

> Find out more about SpaceDC’s mission

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

Why South Korea is a perfect place to set up a data center

South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced and digitally connected countries in the world with constant innovations that make it a perfect place to set up a data center.

Don’t believe us? South Korea has the fastest local Internet speeds in the world with almost 90% of the population having access. 

The country is also the number one producer of mobile phones and semiconductors and is ranked first in the world in Bloomberg’s 2019 Innovation Index for the sixth year running.

And the innovations are expected to continue, as businesses are forecast to spend US$3 billion on cloud services and the Government is investing heavily in innovative technologies to boost infrastructure and economic growth in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

All these advancements are increasing the need for data centers to keep South Korea digitally alive by storing and processing an extraordinary amount of data.

Data center competition is heating up in South Korea

South Korea is seeing an increase in data center investments from global tech giants and data center providers, with even more expected from the increasing requirements brought by demand for cloud services and mobile technology.

A total of 16 data centers are scheduled to come online in 2020, adding to the 155 existing facilities in the country.

With all this progress, Cushman and Wakefield ranked South Korea twelfth in the world for data center growth and market size in 2019. The country’s ICT adoption is also ranked top in the world by the World Economic Forum in 2019.

As a result, South Korea is forecast to be one of the five leading revenue generators for APAC that, together, will produce 80% of the overall data center revenue amounting to US$32bn in the region by 2023.

But what makes it such an attractive place to do business?

Location, Location, Location

Seoul is the fourth-largest metropolitan economy in the world with more than 25 million living in the country’s capital – that’s almost half of South Korea’s population! It is also known for its powerful and stable IT infrastructure, with a strong potential talent pool from top universities in the city.

Following a rush to build data centers in South Korea last year, an unnamed Seoul-based IT company said to The Korea Times: “Korea and China are geographically close, which will make it easier to make inroads into the market there … Korea is relatively safe from natural disasters such as earthquakes compared to Japan.”

The country is a perfect place to set up data centers, as it is in an opportune location to provide connection points to both China and East Asia with low risk of natural disasters and at an affordable price compared to other markets in Asia Pacific.

> Register now for Digital Realty’s Virtual Groundbreaking of their first data center in South Korea

On average, electricity prices cost between US$0.10 to US$0.12 per kilowatt hour, with an estimated capital expenditure of US$8-10k kWh.

It is no surprise that with all that South Korea has to offer, it has produced global market leaders like Samsung, Hyundai, Kia Motors and LG Electronics.

Explosive growth in cloud computing drives up data center demand

South Korea’s public cloud market is forecast to double in size over the next four years to an astounding US$3.1 billion and an annual growth rate of 15%. The country also moved up to fifth place from seventh place in the 2020 Cloud Readiness Index by The Asia Cloud Computing Association.

Companies like Samsung, LG and 11 affiliates of CJ Group as well as organisations in e-commerce, online gaming and financial services are all looking to transition to the cloud to take advantage of cloud computing service providers in the near future.

This explosive growth is likely to increase the demand for data centers in South Korea, as cloud service providers look to lease data center space to empower companies that are looking to sell their own data centers and migrate to the cloud.

Huge investments in the Fourth Industrial Revolution pushes data centers into the future

On top of significant investments to support cloud computing services, the South Korean Government is set to funnel billions of dollars into 5G, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data.

At the start of the year the Government announced it would spend US$3.9 billion on innovative technology to boost research and development as well as another $2.1 billion on semiconductors, bio-health and “future car technology”. 

Then, once the global pandemic hit and President Moon Jae-in was re-elected, the Government would spend US$62 billion on a ‘new deal’ that largely focuses on the power of technological innovation to reshape the post-pandemic economy.

And by 2022, the country hopes to create one of the first hyper-connected cities by harnessing an enterprise-grade city-wide Internet of Things network.

But there are hitches along the way. Despite being a leader in 5G with now more than 6 million subscribers, users in South Korea have complained of difficulties staying connected to the fifth-generation wireless network.

Professor Yunmook Nah, a board member of Korea Data Center Council, said: “The rapid expansion of AI-based applications and their big data sources in all areas of society will surely increase computing and storage requirements, which will require much more cloud computing resources and data centers.”

Inevitably, both the advancements and challenges brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution innovations will push data center demand into the future to keep users connected and sustain the exponentially growing amount of data being produced in South Korea.

Overcoming the challenges of expanding into the South Korea data center market

Like any country, setting up a data center in South Korea comes with its challenges. 

One of the biggest hurdles to jump over for data center providers is finding available greenfield or brownfield sites with reliable power supplies. To overcome this, data center providers are building upwards with multi-storey data centers.

To solve the problem of powering new data centers, Joon-hwa Song, Team Lead for the Korea Data Center Council (KDCC), said operators are signing power supply contracts through individual negotiations with the Korea Electric Power Corporation.

The KDCC also looks to address power supply demand by appealing to the Government about the national importance of data centers and its industrial growth.

Another challenge identified by the KDCC is the shortage of data center operators to sustain the rise in facilities. To rectify this, KDCC is preparing to operate a specialist training programme.

Despite the growing appetite for cloud computing in South Korea, the country’s strict data localisation rules may slow down the availability of cloud services and the ability of data centers to enable adoption, particularly those provided by international organisations based outside of South Korea.

Regulations in the country state that only Korean companies operating servers in Korea are allowed to provide services to public institutions.

The Asia Cloud Computing Association recommended countries like South Korea that have ‘Cloud First’ policies to focus on making them a reality and implement policies that allow data-driven businesses to thrive without having to choose between innovation and disruption.

South Korea also recently amended the Network Act and Personal Information Protection Act to streamline and harmonise the use of personal information as well as facilitate a level of protection similar to GDPR in Europe, which could restrict the free flow of data.

But Professor Nah said: “Data 3 Act will promote wide spread use of personal data in alias form or anonymised form, enabling new businesses to utilise public big data in areas such as healthcare, finance and digital government. This Act will definitely accelerate the adoption of data economy.”

Despite the challenges, South Korea’s digital future is clearly bright, as they lead the way in technological innovations. 

If these challenges are overcome, then the country may be a force to be reckoned with for years to come and an inspiration to emerging markets looking to harness the power of data centers to empower digital transformation and adoption of innovations from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Take a peek into the future of data centers in South Korea

South Korea’s digital future is clearly bright, as they lead the way in technological innovations. But what will it take to meet the connectivity demands and empower digital transformation in the country?

Join industry peers as we take a look at how South Korea’s bustling digital economy will be powered by the backbone of reliable data centers and state of the art infrastructure like Digital Realty’s first South Korean data center.

Register now for Digital Realty’s Virtual Groundbreaking on 17 June.

Get involved in the celebrations on LinkedIn and Facebook using #DigitalRealtyLaunch, #CongratsDigitalRealty, #DigitalSeoul1 and #WMediaEvent!

Sunseap celebrates first anniversary for one of the largest solar farm projects in Vietnam, benefiting 200,000 citizens

One year ago, Sunseap went live with one of the largest solar farm projects in Vietnam that benefited 200,000 citizens and generated up to 2,000 jobs.

The Ninh Thuan Solar Power farm has since led to the reduction of 240,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

“I am most proud of the fact that we utilised land that would otherwise be wasted. Now, we have a project that produces a good amount of renewable energy and helps to develop the social economy for the local people,” said Mr. Truong Thanh Kien, a Plant Manager for Sunseap Vietnam.

The natural conditions of the deserted land was originally unfavourable for the construction of the solar farm in Vietnam.

Mr Truong said: “Since I took my first steps on arriving here, I have been in love with this area, as it is deserted and very close to nature.”

With support from InfraCo Asia and the local government, Sunseap was able to invest in quality equipment to overcome this challenge.

Initially, local residents in Vietnam voiced their concern about how the solar farm project would affect the environment and the clearance compensation.

“Their attitude changed when they realised that the compensation package given by the state was generous and they saw job opportunities that would generate income for their family,” said Ms. Ha Thi Thu Nga, a Community Relations Officer for Sunseap Vietnam, in a video by InfraCo Asia.

In the end, the 168-MWp solar farm in Vietnam was completed two weeks ahead of schedule in June 2019.

Ms. Ha celebrated: “The thing I am most proud of in this project is that it has helped to improve the economic development and the quality of life of the local community.”

Solving energy shortages in Vietnam to power a digital future

The threat of blackouts is typical of most fast-growing economies like Vietnam, which could slow down digital transformation and plans for smart cities in the country. 

The rising demand for electricity and delayed electricity projects are increasing the risk of power outages in the country. This may not be a good sign for data centers, as any downtime could cost the country around US$260,000 per hour.

There are around 30 data centers in Vietnam and more may be on their way, as the Government has invested $1.4 billion in new facilities as well as millions in local startups.

Data centers are also one of the biggest culprits of producing carbon emissions, which Vietnam looks to reduce by aiming to produce 23% of its energy through renewables by 2030.

Allard Nooy, CEO of InfraCo Asia, said: “Developing the Ninh Thuan Solar Power Plant in partnership with Sunseap supports InfraCo Asia’s aim to serve as a catalyst for future infrastructure development in the countries and sectors in which we work.”

Solar farms like Sunseap’s could go some way to powering Vietnam’s environmentally friendly digital future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s next for NUS?

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

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

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

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