Covid-19 triggered an unparalleled acceleration in digital transformation and underscored the invaluable role of data centres.
Southeast Asia is projected to be the fastest-growing region for data centers, according to a new study by Digital Realty and Eco-Business, with 89 per cent of regional experts surveyed expecting significant data usage growth in the region over the next five years.
The report titled The Future of Data Centers in the Face of Climate Change, showed Covid-19 triggered an unparalleled acceleration in digital transformation and underscored the invaluable role of data centres in the face of global disruptions.
At the same time, there is rising awareness of the urgency to address climate change and decarbonise our economies.
Southeast Asia is a prime market for data centre development. However A key trait of the Southeast Asian region is its hot tropical climate and high humidity, which present a far-from-ideal environment for data centre operations. Servers and IT equipment which are housed in data centres typically need to function within specific recommended temperature and humidity ranges, otherwise they are prone to degradation and higher risk of breaking down.
The global industry consensus on optimum conditions for the longest equipment lifespan, which uses recommendations from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), is for the equipment to be stored at an ambient temperature of between 22 to 24 degrees Celsius and 45 to 55 per cent relative humidity (RH). Singapore’s average temperature and relative humidity is much higher, averaging 24 to 32 degrees Celsius, and 70 to 80 per cent respectively.
This has led to a huge reliance on air cooling compared to other regions — industry experts share that between 35 to 40 per cent of total energy usage goes towards cooling a typical data centre in Southeast Asia, whilst the global average is 30-35 per cent.
While many countries are increasingly deploying “free” or natural cooling by utilising outside air to cool the data centres, this is something which Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia has so far rarely done.