Sep 8, 2020

Kakao to build $337mn data centre as Korean market booms

Data Centres
Harry Menear
3 min
Korean messaging and internet giant Kakao is building its first hyperscale data centre, as domestic and international tech firms flock to the industry
Korean messaging and internet giant Kakao is building its first hyperscale data centre, as domestic and international tech firms flock to the industry...

Korean tech giant Kakao is building its first data centre, a 197,873 square foot facility, on the Erica campus of Hanyang University in Gyeonggi Province.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Kakao announced that construction will begin in 2021, and that the $337mn (KRW400bn) data centre is expected to come online in 2023. Ansun municipality, which is a partner in the construction deal, stated that the project is expected to create 2,700 jobs in the community, and produce an economic impact of around $674mn (KRW800bn).

A spokesperson for Kakao said that the facility will house 120,000 servers upon completion, with a total storage capacity of 6 exabytes (equivalent to 1bn gigabytes of information). 

Kakao was founded 10 years ago and, until now, has relied on outsourcing its data centre services. However, trends like the ongoing 5G rollout, the COVID-19 pandemic (which has massively increased the number of people working, attending school and socializing online) and exponential growth of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, have caused such a rise in demand that the company is moving in-house with its data centre capabilities. 

Back in 2016, internet usage in South Korea was around 3.4 exabytes per month, according to figures released by Cisco Korea. By 2021, that figure is expected to exceed 7.7 exabytes per month. 

“Investment in hyperscale data centers is emerging as a new global trend and Korea is forecast to expand its market share with an upcoming influx of large-scale supply,” found a Savills report on the country’s data centre industry in the first half of 2020.

With average data traffic per capita expected to surpass 171 GB per month by the end of next year, Korean and international tech firms are stepping up investment in the country’s data centre industry. 

Electricity prices in Korea remain low compared to neighbouring tech hub Japan, costing between $0.10 and $0.12 per kilowatt hour. The country is also relatively safe in terms of natural disasters compared with Japan and the Philippines. Add to this an explosive growth rate of 15% for the country’s public cloud market and its proximity to other tech hubs like Hong Kong, China and Singapore, as well as the presence of Samsung, LG - two of the world’s largest tech and electronics manufacturing firms - and the world’s first commercial 5G network, and the Korean market looks set to be among the world’s foremost data centre hubs. 

However, Savills’ report notes that, despite the potential, domestic data centre construction is still a few years away from maturity. “Growth of the domestic data centre market has been somewhat delayed,” reads the report. “Global operators have recently entered the market, with Google opening a domestic region – a bundle of DCs installed by a cloud operator – at LG Uplus Pyeongchon Mega Center, and Microsoft developing a domestic data centre in Busan to expand its domestic cloud services platform.” 

Kakao’s main competitor, Naver, already operates a highly sustainable, 120,000 server data centre called the GAK in the Korean city of Chuncheon. The facility is filled with air-purifying plants and foregoes traditional HVAC air conditioning units in favour of an evaporative cooling membrane system, which uses excess heat to de-ice roads in winter and cook sweet potatoes eaten by the facility’s staff. 

In October of last year, Naver also announced plans to build a second hyperscale facility in the city of Sejong, as part of an ongoing initiative to capitalise on the country’s booming cloud market. Scheduled for completion in 2022, the $421mn facility is intended to support Korea’s growing 5G networks, as well as the country’s AI, robotics and big data industries. 

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Jun 22, 2021

NKG1 opens BDx Nanjing data centre campus

2 min
Big Data Exchange (BDx) launches the first phase of its Nanjing data centre campus in China with the opening of NKG1.

Big Data Exchange (BDx), a pan-Asian data centre company has launched its Nanjing data centre campus in China with the opening of its first facility, NKG1. The company said they “celebrated” the launch of the campus, located in the Yangtze River Delta, one of the nation's richest regions and its largest import and export base. 

Following its certificate of completion from the Urban and Rural Construction Bureau of Jiangning District in Nanjing City, the NKG1 campus is “now serving customers”. Construction on the Nanjing campus began in February last year. 

"We worked through the challenges of completing a major construction project during the peak of the pandemic because customers were anticipating this launch to support an unprecedented surge of growth and capacity requirements”, said Bill Gao, EVP & Chief Executive Officer of BDx Greater China. 

"The launch of NKG1 enables BDx to have new world-class data centre infrastructure in China. It also lays a solid foundation for BDx to provide OTTs, financial services institutions, and Fortune 500 MNC customers with high reliability, high redundancy, and low latency solutions”, he added. 

What does the NKG1 data centre include?

According to BDx, the NKG1 facility is the first data centre in the city to earn the Uptime Institute Tier III Certification of Design Documents and offers 4MW of IT power for colocation. NKG1 is powered by two separate 10-kilovolt feeders from two substations that aim to provide the NKG campus with 60MVA of total power sanctioned from the grid.

During COVID-19, BDx says that its design and construction team focused on safety to ensure that the project was completed safely and without incident. This enabled the company to add critical capacity to this region and respond to the accelerated shift to digital environments that caused a surge in demand for data center services. “Research shows that demand hasn't dropped as the economy reopens”, BDx said. 

The launch of NKG2

Due to rising demand in China’s data centre market, BDx plans to launch the second phase of its Nanjing campus, NKG2, by the end of this year. “NKG2 is designed to be minimally manned and almost lights-out — a reigning philosophy across BDx's data center cluster. In addition, its highly automated features make for a more sustainable data center environment”, the company said.



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