Making any kind of prediction is tough, and it only gets tougher the farther you look into the future. However, when it comes to data centres, opinion about what lies in store seems to be fairly consistent, not to mention extremely positive.
For example, the analyst firm Research and Markets (R&M) forecasts that the global data centre market will boom over the next few years, with construction of new data centres growing at a CAGR of 21 per cent between now and 2018.
R&M has found zeroing in on the cause is more difficult, perhaps because the list of factors that appear to be driving developments is so wide and varied. They include a healthy appetite for colocation facilities as well as regulatory restrictions, which is encouraging the incorporation of greener and more energy-efficient solutions.
Not surprisingly, Equinix has its own views on what customers are looking for in a successful data centre. In March alone we launched two data centres in the Asia Pacific – SG3 in Singapore and ME1 in Melbourne, Australia. That takes the total number of data centres across the region to 22.
As the name suggests, SG3 is the third International Business Exchange (IBX) data center that Equinix has built in Singapore, and it’s also our largest in Asia.
The seven-floor facility covers 385,000 square feet of gross floor space. There are five dedicated data centre floors providing up to 5,000 cabinets at full build.
While SG1 and SG2 occupy existing buildings, the new SG3 site is different: it has been built from the ground up. That’s a tremendous advantage and has given Equinix a phenomenal degree of freedom and control in the design, physical construction and overall management of the facility.
For instance, we were able to incorporate what we call “Security by Design” to the development and construction of SG3, enabling us to offer more compliance-oriented features to customers in sensitive, highly-regulated industries such as banking and finance.
The R&M report mentioned “green” issues, however, there is often a limit to how much you can do with an existing building. Because it has been purpose-built, SG3 includes a host of sustainability enhancing features, such as some 1,400 solar panels to provide power for ancillary spaces that will help to save over 300,000 KWh annually. Such features have won SG3 Singapore’s highest green building certification – the BCA-IDA Green Mark Platinum award for Data Centres.
Looking “down under,” the newly-opened ME1 in Melbourne is smaller than SG3, but nevertheless, demand for premium data centre services in Australia’s second city is so healthy that ME1 has already secured over 50 customers. ME1 is well designed to accommodate up to 1,500 cabinets at full capacity and it doesn’t end there as our goal isn’t to just sell space! It is to build the right mix of customers, including cloud service providers and network operators, to create an environment where businesses can benefit from connecting to multiple parties.
That entails working with the local carriers to establish a presence within our facilities, and we have all of the main domestic carriers, such as Telstra, Vocus, Micron 21, Firstpath, many of them already offering their services, with others still provisioning. We are also working with a number of cloud service providers, to bring their services into the facility and offer customers access to their solutions.
We also used what we call “The Ecosystem Effect” to build momentum at ME1. In practice, that means our local sales team went to work with existing customers based in Sydney that were interested in expanding their presence in Melbourne, as well as prospective Melbourne-based businesses.
More than 50 customers have already deployed in ME1. Interestingly, about 30% of them are firms that didn’t have a business relationship with Equinix previously. That speaks to the strong demand for Equinix-level services.
Like I said, predicting the future is fraught with all kinds of problems. People seldom remember when you get it right, but they never forget when you get it wrong. Accordingly, I think I’ll leave the crystal ball gazing to the pundits, and focus on what Equinix does best – i.e providing customers with industry-leading data centre services inside the most interconnected data centers.
If the success of SG3 and ME1 are any indication, that approach seems to work quite well!