The ICT market’s definitive move to embrace cloud computing is one of the driving factors for the ‘rebirth’ role of data centers as a crucial support infrastructure.
As the economies of scale that cloud computing offer becomes more appealing, together with the advancing usage of business intelligence in concurrence with the Big Data trend - data centres are becoming more relevant in vertical industries.
The micro technological and market trends within specific industries are moving towards a collated demand for more data center services and solutions. For example, the increase usage in 4-dimensional modelling in oil and gas exploration; and even investment bank data that shows a growth rate of between 50 to 100% every year. These drive the demand for the stable and value-added hosting and solution services which are offered by data centres.
There are other reasons as well. Power and cooling requirements have become much higher than before; also the fact that data centres are more efficient in power consumption and hosting critical business applicatons, are compelling organisations and commercial entities to engage data centers in outsourcing the hosting of their critical applications.
At the same time there is a trend for industries to turn toward third party outsourcing. This is especially so for online gaming companies which need extremely high power demands when the growing usage of broadband for applications like video streaming and digital collaboration make more economic sense to for the content to be hosted at data centres.
The Southeast Asia PoV
While economic integration is expected to happen for Southeast Asia, via the forming of an Asean Economic Community (AEC), the conversation is going beyond the economic and socio-political discussion.
Technology is also a major theme in the AEC, and especially data centres - which house the IT infrastructure of enterprises and are the backbone that is essential for business operations. Demand for cloud-based services and big data analytics is growing amongst enterprises in the SEA region. This fuels demand for data centres, which analysts are forecasting to grow at a CAGR of 19% from 2014 till 2019.
Overall, this gives rise to trends for lower data centre power consumption and demand for expertise and certifications when it comes to building and designing data centre facilities.
Of all the countries in Southeast Asia, the Singapore and Malaysia governments offer huge incentives for data centre players. However, we see that the country of Thailand is an upcoming country as a data center hub within the next few years, as economic integration begins to happen and mature in this region.
The Potential In Thailand
Thailand is a key market of Asia’s data center resurgence. A Frost and Sullivan report showed that Thailand’s data centre industry grew as much as over USD52.3 million (23%) in revenue, despite a shaky political climate, and heavy floods that disrupted operations for a period of time.
Instead of succumbing to these external factors, the data centre industry in Thailand rallied and worked around these difficulties by bundling disaster recovery services, amongst other value-added managed services, together with their existing offerings. Generally, the Thailand government adopts open-market competition policies, which have helped tremedously in the aspect of encouraging foreign investments into the building of the data center industry.
In the recent years, businesses around the region have gradually increased their data centre investments in Thailand, by including it as a strategic location for their future business continuity plans. This is a trend that has been ongoing since 2011, and by far as not shown any signs of slowing down.
Answering The Call In the North
Recognising the potential in Thailand, Hitachi Sunway - Malaysia’s Sunway joint venture with Japan’s Hitachi, has taking strategic steps to capitalise upon for a long-term period.
However this will not be won’t be easy, as admitted by CEO of Hitachi Sunway Data Centre Services (HSS-DS) Billy Lee. He says that the main challenges to data centre operations in Thailand still exist, and identifies the key challenges being - language barrier, compliance to local telecommunications regulatory standards, as well as lack of relevant skilled manpower in Thailand.
But the appeal of building data centre infrastructure in Thailand, and bundling data centre services with 24 x 7 service desk support, is too great for Hitachi Sunway to ignore.
Lee surmises the company’s strategy for running its data center business in Thailand saying, “We can offer a full range of data centre solutions, starting with server co-location all the way to dedicated private cloud solutions.”
Hitachi Sunway Data Centre Services (HSS-DS) is moving up the value chain and positioning itself as an IT outsourcing (ITO) service provider. Lee said, “HSS-DS will replicate a similar services offering which cover the IT infrastructure ecosystem in Thailand, mainly data centre services, network services, cloud services, DR services and IT managed Services.”
HSS-DS’ reasons for doing so are strategically aimed at deepening Hitachi Sunway’s foothold into the rest of Southeast Asia.
Lee explained that Thailand, or rather Bangkok, is a strategically positioned as the gateway into countries that make up the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). “Many of these countries share their borders with Thailand, mainly Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and a small part of China.
The appeal of the Great Mekong Subregion lies in its industry base, which is attracting foreign and local multinational companies to invest in Thailand.
In Thailand, the focus for its data center services would be aimed at the financial services industry, manufacturing sector as well as enterprise businesses.
“In line with the steady growth in Thailand, we are targeting to secure another 50% from the customer base in Thailand over the next 2 years,” shared Lee.
HSS-DS’ value is that they can provide true end-to-end infrastructure services from the fundamental layer of data centre hardware, network connectivity and all the way up to business applications, for Thailand-based businesses; and believe vice versa that investing in the data center market in Thailand will prove to be a good decision for Hitachi Sunway as a business.