Odata breaks ground on 28 MW Santiago data centre
Brazilian data centre operator Odata is continuing its pan-LATAM expansion. On Monday, the firm announced that construction is now underway at a new site in Lampa, just north of the Chilean capital of Santiago.
“Investing in Chile was the next logical step in our expansion process in Latin America,” - Ricardo Alário, CEO, Odata
“We are seeing a huge demand for digital infrastructure in the continent and our philosophy as a company since our foundation has always been to accompany the progress of the region, sustaining its digital growth, through an efficient, sustainable operation that favors highly qualified local employment,” Alário continued.
The Chilean data centre industry has swelled in the past year, as the country’s digital economy has exhibited strong growth. Last September, Huawei - seeking new revenue streams in the ever-shortening cohort of countries where its presence is still welcome - started construction on its second data centre in Santiago, a move framed by the Chinese tech giant as the catalyst for cloud based AI services in Chile and the surrounding region.
More recently, in December of 2020, Microsoft announced plans to create an Azure cloud region in Chile, with Brad Smith stressing at the time that Microsoft’s goals in the country are “to provide critical investment in Chile's infrastructure that will serve all the people who live here and customers who operate here. Just as railways, power plants, highways, and airports helped Chile move into the future, today's data centres have become the cutting-edge infrastructure of the 21st century.”
As demand for digital infrastructure in and around Santiago grows, Odata - which is currently undergoing a pan-regional expansion of its own - has announced that its new facility will support around 500 jobs in the planning and construction phase, and 100 full-time roles when the facility opens. No completion date for the project has so far been released.
The new data centre will be housed on a six hectare site, and have a footprint of around 40,000 square metres spread across an unspecified number of data centres. At full buildout, whenever that happens, the campus will have a combined capacity of 28 MW.
“Chile is experiencing accelerated digitization and there is a great demand for high-speed Internet, low-latency cloud services and for IT services that are essential for business,” said Ignacio Larraín, country manager for Chile at Odata. “Our goal is to be a benchmark in the country and help support the needs of digital infrastructure.”
The news comes shortly after Odata announced significant expansion projects elsewhere in Latin America, including of its campuses in São Paulo and Rio, and the recent commencement of construction at the company’s Querétaro campus in central Mexico at the beginning of the year.
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.