AirTrunk expands APAC presence with two new data centres
The first, , is located on a 1.5 hectare plot of land in the Singaporean district of Loyang - close to the Changi North Cable Landing Station. The facility has an IT load capacity of more than 60 MW at full build-out across 20,000 square metres of whitespace, making it the largest independent data centre in the country. Currently, the facility’s first phase offers 30 MW of IT capacity.
Designed to support the expansion of public cloud services for some of the world’s largest tech firms, SGP1 has a projected PUE of 1.25. Combined with its innovative cooling systems, which use 40% less water than the industry average, the site is the most efficient data centre in SIngapore.
“Hyperscale data centre demand in Singapore has been fuelled by increased cloud adoption in the region, further accelerated by COVID-19. Our customers continue to grow their digital footprint across the Asia-Pacific region and need the supporting critical infrastructure,” said Founder and CEO of AirTrunk, Robin Khuda.
“The launch of SGP1, Singapore’s largest and most efficient data centre, will support Singapore’s position as a key global data hub, attracting world-class innovation and the world’s top technology companies.”
The facility is housed in a converted eight storey building near Tsuen Wan, a key hub for international connectivity. HKG1 also uses leading-edge cooling, power and IT infrastructure in order to achieve a projected PUE of 1.35, making it one of the most energy efficient data centres in Hong Kong.
AirTrunk’s Head of Hong Kong, KC Li, commented that, “AirTrunk’s clients benefit from our leading customer experience and hyperscale operations including world-class reliability, facility management and security. HKG1 has been designed to meet the stringent security requirements of our global technology customers and will deploy advanced access control, threat monitoring and detection systems.”
Hyperscale Construction at Hyperspeed
As the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted demand for data centre infrastructure to skyrocket over the past year, AirTrunk has massively accelerated its expansion. Both SGP1 and HKG1 were completed in just over a year. The Singapore facility was delivered with no lost time injuries despite more than 1,000 people working more than 1.6mn work hours in total.
“We’re seeing record levels of demand for hyperscale infrastructure across the Asia-Pacific region. To meet this demand, we’re building hyperscale data centres at record speed, safely and to the highest standards. We completed AirTrunk HKG1 in just over a year despite COVID-19,” said Khuda, who added that the opening of HKG1 and SGP1 marked a milestone in the company’s regional platform expansion. “We have an exciting year ahead with hyperscale data centres opening in Singapore, Sydney North and Tokyo along with major expansions of our Sydney West and Melbourne facilities,” he added.
In September, AirtTrunk also announced that the company is building a 300 MW hyperscale facility in Tokyo, Japan. When complete, the data centre will be the largest facility in APAC outside of China.
NUS and NTU launch cooling project for tropical data centres
The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), have announced a project in an attempt to source and develop new cooling solutions for data centres located in tropical areas. According to the companies, the programme costs S$23mn (US$17.1mn) and plans to research, build and test innovative and sustainable cooling solutions.
The Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT)
The NUS and NTU say that the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) will act as a research point and innovation hub for the project. Facebook, along with the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), is also involved, providing funding for the programme. Further support from other partners includes the Infocomm Media Development Authority, Ascenix, CoolestDC Keppel Data Centres, Red Dot Analytics, and New Media Express.
Commenting on working with the companies, Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure, Alex Johnson, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to partner NUS, NTU, Keppel Data Centres and the CoolestSG community to develop innovative solutions that reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of the average data centre, particularly those located in tropical areas like Singapore”.
The NTU and NUS highlight that Singapore houses 60% of Southeast Asia’s total data centre market, and aims to supply 12% of the country’s total energy needs by 2030. This results in the need to reduce the carbon footprints and power consumption of data centres, meaning more innovative cooling solutions are required, the NTU and NUS said.
Professor Chen Thuan, Deputy President of Research & Technology at the NUS, said: “Data centres are a critical enabler of the digital economy, but the average data centre can exert a significant environmental burden. Aligned with RIE 2025, sustainability is a key research focus of NUS, and our researchers have deep expertise in developing integrated solutions for tropical, urban and Asian settings”.
How will the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) help to provide cooling solutions?
According to the NUS and NTU, the STDCT will be built using equipment such as a novel desiccant-coated heat exchanger and a StatePoint Liquid Cooling System (SPLC) designed by both Nortek Air Solutions and Facebook. The institutions also say they will adopt chip-level hybrid cooling to ensure servers remain cool.
Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will aim to manage the “smart operations” of the technologies so that the data centres are water and power efficient, as well as able to preserve equipment and servers.
The NTU and NSU said in a joint statement the combination of the cooling technologies could reduce energy consumption “significantly” and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%, compared to traditional air-cooled data centres. If adopted industry-wide across the entire tropical region, the energy usage of the data centre industry could potentially be lowered by at least 40%”, the companies said.
The STDCT is expected to be operational by 1 October 2021.