A Tale of Two Cities – Equinix to Develop a New Data Center in Osaka


By Kei Furuta, Managing Director, Equinix Japan


At the OS1 launch event: (left to right) Samuel Lee, president, Equinix Asia-Pacific; Kei Furuta, managing director, Equinix Japan; Yukio Yamasaki, vice president of K-Opticom; Takanori Mizuno, vice president of Kanden Energy Solution Co., Inc.; Shinji Maruyama, director, International Division, Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry/ Secretary General, Osaka Business and Investment Center (O-BIC).
For many years, Osaka has been cast as the edgy but understated supporting actor to Tokyo’s charismatic leading man. However, this is more than just a U.S. East coast vs. West coast rivalry. The scuffle between the two great Japanese cities for business centrality has long and historic roots. But recent shifts in technology, economic and business demands suggest that Osaka may be stepping out of Tokyo’s shadow and re-casting itself as a knowledge and innovation hub.

Hosting 2.6 million inhabitants and contributing US$2.66 billion to the national GDP, Osaka has been a subtle commercial powerhouse. It is the birthplace of technology giants Sanyo and Panasonic and currently attracting an ecosystem of start-ups in the new digital economy. Internet traffic has surged as well, growing by 68 per cent with bandwidth increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56 per cent from 2008 to 2012 rivalling Tokyo.

New infrastructure projects are also adding to its powers of attraction, such as Equinix’s selection of Osaka for the location of its new data center, OS1, its first data center in the Western region of Japan. Equinix developed the data center project with local access providers K-Opticom and Kanden Energy Solutions (KENES) with the aim to strengthen Osaka’s access to global network connectivity by directly connecting to Dojima, the network core in Osaka. It will also provide access to more than 900 domestic and international carriers.

Other new infrastructure projects include a 24-acre redevelopment of the Umeda Kita North business park, as well as the opening of Grand Front Osaka, a complex that will unite Osaka’s business and research institutes. The city of Osaka and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have shown great support for these projects, fostering Osaka’s competence as a technology and knowledge center.

In addition, security reasons have caused a shift in demand for facilities and business resources outside of the traditional hub of Tokyo. Because of this, Equinix has witnessed increased demand for data center capacity from new market entrants, as well as traditional clients that need to balance their demand for redundancy in the wake of natural disasters, such as the 2011 earthquake. Businesses with data intensive needs are also looking for either a bigger footprint or de-centralised locations to build in redundancy to their facilities.

To address these requirements, Equinix’s OS1 data center will offer 32,000 square feet and over 800 cabinets equivalents of capacity. In terms of business continuity planning, the center has been natural disaster-proofed with state-of-the-art, seismically isolated infrastructure. It is also located in a central location in Osaka, minimizing exposure to floods and earthquakes.

Clients housed in OS1 will also gain access to the Equinix Marketplace™, which helps identify potential customers and partners from over 4,000 parties that offer a range of services inside Equinix data centers. These types of cross-cultural opportunities are designed to help Japanese multinational companies in the Kansai region expand their businesses overseas in unprecedented ways.

Ultimately, with Equinix’s OS1 data center, our aim is to provide the Osaka economy with access to world class infrastructure, helping the city further transition to a powerful technology hub and attract foreign investment and new opportunities. Access to multinational content providers will also help foster a healthy digital media ecosystem, feeding into the emerging start-up community.