The data center market in South East Asia is booming with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam among countries projected for healthy growth in the future. According to Arizton’s report released this month, Indonesia’s data center industry is expected to have a CAGR of 6.27% from the period of 2023-2028. This is driven by market demand from cloud adoption, technology and IoT investments in data centers and overall digitalisation growth.
Tier 4 data centers are built to provide the highest level of availability and uptime. These data centers offer the highest resistance against threats, including power outages, equipment failures and natural disasters. Tier 4 data centers deliver an uptime of 99.995 percent which can be translated to one ICT service failure lasting less than 5 hours every 10 years. Achieving this level of availability and uptime come at a cost considering capital expenditures, operational expenses and energy costs.
In November 2022, the Indonesian government broke ground for the first National Data Center (PDN) which is part of the government’s plan to build four national data centers with tier IV certification.
According to Ian Bitterlin, former CTO of Emerson Network Power and Prism Power, some of the key considerations include cost and load when it relates to having more Tier IV data centers in Indonesia. Redundancy is seen as one key criteria for Tier IV data centers and that includes power systems and cooling systems. As defined by Uptime Institute, Tier IV facilities add fault tolerance to the Tier III topology. When a piece of equipment fails, or there is an interruption in the distribution path, IT operations will not be affected. All of the IT equipment must have a fault-tolerant power design to be compatible.
“Tier IV is expensive to build and operate. With this standard, there are two of everything in a data center. For example, there will be two power systems, two cooling systems and two for each for emergency measures such as fire/flood zones. Maintenance too has to be done without stopping load. In theory, the data center must carry on and survive one major fault,” said Bitterlin, who is an accredited Tier designer.
“Tier IV is expensive because the capital expenditure is costly – twice as much as Tier I. It takes up space and is costly to build,” he added.
Load is another key factor to consider when planning for the construction of Tier IV data centers such as the ones being planned by the Indonesian government. Load refers to the amount of power or energy consumed by the equipment and devices in a data center.
“When it comes to operations, each system always runs at half load because it shares the load. If it is running at 40% for each system, that equates to 80% load in a data center. That is a very high load when considering that probably most colocation, government and enterprise setups are running at 45-60% load,” added Bitterlin.
Technological Innovation and Market Demand
According to Mordor Intelligence, the data center market in Indonesia is expected to reach USD 3.43 billion by 2027. The demand for more data centers could change depending on the data consumed and technological innovations.
“Data centers are always improving technologically. Old servers are taken out and replaced with newer ones. Following Moore’s law, every time a server is changed, the load halves,” said Bitterlin.
It will remain a challenge to determine if the country requires more Tier IV data centers in the future as these factors are heavily dependent on the consumption habits of the people in a country with a population of over 270 million and the growth of the digital economy. There are also cost, load and future innovations of data centers which may determine the need for more Tier IV data centers to be built in Indonesia.