Singapore explores possibility of building a high-rise, green data centre

Channel NewsAsia 19 Jul 17;

SINGAPORE: Singapore is looking into the feasibility of building a high-rise, green data centre in Singapore, after the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Huawei International and Keppel Data Centres signed a memorandum of intent (MOI) on Wednesday (Jul 19).

In a joint press release, the three said they will focus on a two-year strategic collaboration to explore the possibility of building such a data centre here. IMDA will support the development through its programmes, Keppel will offer its capabilities to construct and operate a high-rise green data centre and Huawei will provide the technological expertise to develop said green solutions, it added.

This MOI will help Singapore tackle two major environmental issues: Energy and land use. The press release noted that the current best-in-class multi-tenant data centre report an annual power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of as low as 1.4, while in the United States, a similar large data centre in Nevada is able to achieve a rating of 1.18.

Using the same example, a typical Singapore data centre will need about 1 ha of land - about the size of three to flour Housing and Development Board (HDB) blocks - and be housed in a six- to eight-storey building. The Nevada facility, by comparison is the largest in the world and spans across 13 ha - about the size of MacRitchie Reservoir park.

Due to these challenges, data centres here are capped at about 20MW to 25MW of power capacity, or about 5,000 server racks. The Nevada facility can host up to 26,000 server racks, the press release said.

As such, the study would look into the possibility of constructing a high-rise data centre building of more than 20 storeys and that can reduce energy use or increase efficiency to achieve a 10 to 20 per cent improvement in the current best-in-class PUE rating here, it said.

The three parties will also look into internal design elements, specifically new approaches toward more energy efficient cooling methods in a tropical setting.

"If the concept is found to be feasible and scalable, this would significantly cut down the land space requirements of data centres and contribute towards Singapore’s 2030 climate pledge," the press release said. "It could also apply various new approaches in data centre design and construction methods, processes and applications both locally and globally."

Huawei and IMDA also signed another MOI that is focused on helping Singapore-based tech companies grow and expand.

Through the partnership, 35 local companies, to be jointly shortlisted through the Strategic Partners Program (SPP), will get access and benefit from the Chinese networking giant's tech capabilities, market insights and business network, the press release said.

There was a third agreement inked between Huawei and Singapore-headquartered cargo security tracking company Ascent Solutions to help the latter expand its market footprint, it added.

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