Why the industry is building more
hyperscale data centres than ever?

08 April 2019

The world is building more hyperscale data centres than ever, which are defined as facilities that can efficiently scale from a handful of servers to thousands of them. In practice, they tend to be massive facilities that are significantly larger than older data centres.

According to Synergy Research Group’s 2018 data centre market tracker, there are now 430 hyperscale facilities in operation around the world, an increase of 11% from 2017. What is driving the industry towards hyperscale data centres, and what is its impact on businesses in the region?

Mr. Sebastian Tan, Vice President of Enterprise Telco Solutions of Enterprise Business Group in StarHub has shared his insights with several data centre industry experts at SupercomputingAsia Conference (SCAsia 2019). Here are some key insights noted from their sharing at the conference. 

The rise of hyperscale data centres

The top benefit of a hyperscale data centre stems from its sheer scale. Where traditional data centres typically consume around 20 to 30 megawatts (MW) of power, hyperscale facilities can go as high as 100 to 120MW. The larger facilities offer greater economies of scale and make it possible to reduce energy use with more efficient designs, culminating in lower costs.

Though public cloud service providers and social media giants contribute heavily to the growth of hyperscale data centres, enterprises also do benefit from them. As legacy applications are inexorably migrated to the cloud as part of digital transformation and enterprises turn to high-performance computing, their increased demand for data centre storage and compute capacity is best met by hyperscale data centres.

The United States is currently home to around 40% of the world’s hyperscale data centres, but new hyperscale facilities are being built around the world. In the Asia Pacific (APAC), new builds can be found in China, Japan, Australia, as well as Singapore. In Singapore, the most visible development would probably Facebook’s mammoth US$1 billion data centre being constructed at Tanjong Kling.

Driving innovation in data centres

What practical benefits can a hyperscale data centre offer to enterprises? For a start, they improve uptimes and give IT deployments greater scalability than before. Demand for fluid workloads and high-power requirements can be readily met, including compute-intensive tasks such as large-scale 3D rendering, drug design and scientific computing work including weather prediction and genome processing.

Without a doubt, public cloud providers will continue to contribute significantly to the demand for hyperscale data centres in the region. This benefits enterprises as innovative cloud services large in-memory databases or large-scale clusters are introduced and widely deployed. Indeed, cloud applications shift the focus from raw power to efficient use of computing resources to achieve better power efficiency than traditional IT systems.

As barriers to scalability and power are removed, enterprises can also free to deploy modern hybrid cloud systems that span colocation environments and the cloud. This offers them greater agility to leverage whatever platforms suit their immediate needs best, increasing their ability to respond rapidly to fluid market conditions.

The future of data centres

Demand for hyperscale data centres will continue to surge as technological advancements drive enterprises to rely more on the cloud. For example, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and data analytics are now used to monitor and analyse power usage and cooling system efficiency within data centres, triggering alerts when maintenance is required for improved reliability.

Another driver in APAC will be data sovereignty regulations and data protection laws. As new regulations take effect and governments tighten laws around the use of data in the region, expect increased demand for hyperscale data centres as workloads and data are migrated across borders.

Of course, the continued growth of hyperscale data centres is dependent on demand for colocation facilities and the availability of land on which to construct new facilities. Multi-storey data centres are already the norm in land-scarce Singapore, and a lack of suitably zoned land will hamper the construction of hyperscale data centres.

Finally, data centres are heavily reliant on external factors such as network connectivity and regulatory rules. This is true from the largest hyperscale data centre to the smallest data centres, and include technical considerations such as network diversity and having adequate power to support business growth. Service providers are likely to build whatever fits the bill in terms of demand and will work with partners or anchor tenants to meet their requirements.

For now, expect hyperscale data centres to achieve even better efficiency and lower cost over time, as the industry continuously strives towards doing more with less. Aside from innovations in mechanical engineering, service providers are also turning to solutions such as artificial intelligence (AI) to further enhance efficiency and even automate some processes within the data centre.

To learn more about how StarHub’s Data Centre can enable your business transformation and deliver the hyper-connectivity you need, please click here.

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