Nation can be hyperscale data centre base

Nation can be hyperscale data centre base

Thailand can be at the forefront of the hyperscale data centre sector in Asean after global tech giants Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced plans to set up cloud infrastructure hubs in the country, according to Vertiv, a global provider of equipment and services for data centres.

Last month, AWS said its Asia-Pacific (Bangkok) region will be established here, planning to invest over 190 billion baht in the facility over the next 15 years.

In August, Google announced its plan to launch a "cloud region" in Thailand.

Regions are independent geographic areas that consist of zones. Zones and regions are logical abstractions of underlying physical resources provided in one or more physical data centres.

"Thailand can become the first-tier hyperscale data centre base in Asean, particularly when Singapore's space is quite full. That is why Google and AWS announced the investment in Thailand," said Pichet Ketruam, country manager for Thailand and Indochina of US-based Vertiv.

The country's demand for cloud usage is not only a matter of storage, but also data analytics, he said.

Thailand also has geopolitical balance and suitable geography that can accommodate various routes of submarine cables, said Mr Pichet.

"Having data centres here will reduce latency when offloading workload at the edge data centres to support nearby countries, including those in Indochina," he said.

Some US$400 million is expected to be spent on establishing major data centres over the next three years, according to Vertiv.

"Thailand needs to improve data centre-related skills to serve accelerating demand for the cloud usage," said Mr Pichet, adding that applications and services that use high-performance computing stand to benefit from hyperscale data centres.

The amount of digital data created worldwide is expected to rise to 163 zettabytes by 2025, he said.

The move to 5G could result in increased total network energy consumption of 150-170% by 2026.

There are 2,589 data centres operated by 275 providers worldwide.

Data centres use an estimated 200 terawatt-hours per year, or 1% of global electricity use, said Mr Pichet. Data centres contribute around 0.3% to overall carbon emissions.

"There is a rise in demand for efficient power usage for data centres through new technologies, such as liquid cooling in thermal management and chilled water system for the sustainability data centres which Vertiv is tapping into," Mr Pichet said.

In related news, PTT Digital Solutions, a unit of PTT Plc, recently inked a memorandum of understanding agreement with ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (Thailand) to conduct a feasibility study to use the cold energy released from the regasification of liquefied natural gas to produce electricity and chilled water for cooling a data centre environment. Regasification contains cold energy, an untapped resource that can be used to produce electricity and cool a data centre environment.

"With Thailand's data centre industry expected to grow 25-28% annually, and the data centres forecast to utilise 407 megawatts in 2024 alone, equivalent to the power consumption of 407,000 households annually, it is imperative we seek more sustainable solutions," said Supparat Sivapetchranat Singhara Na Ayutthaya, chief executive of ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (Thailand).

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