STC launches data centres in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Madina
In response to growing demand for digital infrastructure solutions throughout the KIngdom, the Saudi Arabian Telecommunications Company (STC) announced at the end of December that it has launched three new hyperscale data centres in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Madina.
The three new facilities represent an investment of more than $266.6mn by the telecom operator. The data centres will be used to host telecommunications equipment and cloud infrastructure for customers operating within the Kingdom.
The facilities have, according to STC, been built using more than 150 prefabricated modules, and are fully equipped with power, thermal management and IT equipment.
The first phase, which is now operational, provides 10.8 MW of critical IT whitespace capacity across the three facilities, with the potential to expand to 16.8 MW in its current iteration.
The second phase of construction is already underway, and will reportedly expand capacity to as much as 40.8 MW, as part of an ongoing strategy by STC to expand its total whitespace capacity in the Kingdom to more than 105 MW in the “short term future,” with the addition of four more data centres to its portfolio throughout strategic urban hubs in Saudi Arabia.
All three data centres have received Tier III certification from the uptime institute, with the Jeddah and Al-Madina data centres already operational, and the Riyadh facility coming online in the past week.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of STC’s massive investment of $500mn in cloud services and an electronic world trade platform. CEO Nasser Al-Nasser said in a statement to the press that, “Yesterday we announced $500mn investment with Ali Baba Cloud and eWTP, and today we announce investing about SAR 1bn in these three data centres.
"The successful completion and transformation of STC’s mission critical offering will enable the next step in digital services to be delivered throughout the Kingdom. This first milestone achievement is only the beginning.”
Haithem M. Alfaraj, Senior VP of Technology and Operations at STC, added that, the company “has reached a major milestone in providing next generation data centres that will meet the current demands for digital infrastructure, with the flexibility to grow and mature with the digital evolution.”
Schneider Electric reveals new IT Innovation report
Schneider Electric has released a new IT innovations report titled “Digital Economy and Climate Impact”, with the aim of gaining an understanding of how digitised and smart applications will be powered in the future. The company says that the report predicts that IT sector-related electricity demand is expected to increase by almost 50% by 2030.
Despite this, the report also shows that emissions would not increase by more than 26% by the same year, following the decarbonisation of the electricity system. In an attempt to reduce this rise in emissions the Schneider Electric TM Sustainability Research Institute recommends continued efforts in achieving efficiencies on the IT and energy sides at both the component and system levels.
The report highlights how the rise of edge computing technologies require a “specific focus” due to these systems being less efficient than hyperscale data centres. “When the world locked down, it also logged on and internet traffic soared,” said Pankaj Sharma, EVP, Secure Power, Schneider Electric.
“It’s misleading to assume that digital activity will inevitably result in a deeply problematic increase in CO2 emissions. The analysis from the Schneider Electric Sustainability Institute puts to rest many of the worst-case scenario claims predicting IT-related electricity use will double every five years. That said, as an industry, we must remain vigilant in finding new sources of sustainability gains while ensuring resiliency as digital keeps life moving forward”, he added.
As well as the release of the report, Schneider Electric also announced several updates to its EcoStruxure IT data center infrastructure management software, Galaxy VL 3-phase uninterruptable power supply (UPS), introducing an industry-leading single-phase UPS, the APC™ Smart-UPS™ Ultra. All introductions are designed to advance the industry forward in meeting sustainability goals while increasing the resiliency of IT and data centre infrastructure, the company said.
Managing hybrid data center and edge IT environments
Also showcased in Schneider Electric’s report are the increasing demands on digital consumption. According to the company, these create a more complex hybrid environment inclusive of enterprise, cloud, and edge data centres. Addressing the unique management challenges of a hybrid IT environment, Schneider Electric has announced updates to its EcoStruxure IT software to increase efficiency and resiliency, including:
- Increased remote management capabilities: New granular remote device configuration features enable users to change configurations on one or more devices – including the new Galaxy VL and APC Smart-UPS Ultra single-phase UPS units – from one centralised platform with EcoStruxure IT Expert. This update, combined with previously released software insights on device security health, enables the user to identify faulty devices or configurations and address them in a matter of clicks, keeping their hybrid IT environment secure.
- Improved environmental monitoring: Environmental monitoring systems ensure users have eyes and ears on data centre and IT deployments from anywhere, anytime. With this update, users can push mass configurations remotely for NetBotz cameras 750 and 755 quickly and efficiently increasing security across the critical infrastructure.
- Enhanced remote capacity modeling and planning: With EcoStruxure IT Advisor’s new capabilities, users can remotely compare an unlimited number of racks and easily identify available capacity, view what assets are deployed and their dependencies.
Sharma concluded: “Schneider Electric has been focused on sustainability for the past 15 years and was recently named the most sustainable corporation in the world. We have embraced the mindset that future innovation will deliver better efficiency across the broader connectivity landscape. By making smart intentional choices, our industry can help mitigate how much electricity and emissions result from the rising appetite for digital technologies”.