Future data centres will be built with two particular factors in mind that will ultimately determined their location and the kinds of applications they support, says executives at NTT Com Asia.
According to the Brandon Lee, chief strategy officer at NTT Com Asia, there will be two types of data centres in the future – one type that is optimised for energy efficiency and cost, and a second type that is focused specifically on reducing the latency of applications it houses.
Basically, there will be data centres that will serve basic Internet content, so where they are located is not really that important as users can wait a few more milliseconds to download their friend’s photo from facebook. This category of data centres will be located in cooler regions, where they can take advantage of free cooling for much of the year. Other critical factors for the location of this category of data centres are regulatory support [read tax breaks], power [read cheap, and preferably green], and the availability of skill resources.
Obviously, this type of data centres has been discussed extensively. In fact, the government of Iceland has made it platform to attract foreign investment. More recently, reports have Google, Facebook, and no doubt others, now building new facilities in Sweden and Finland in a similar vein.
What Lee brings to the discussion is that these types of data centres won’t be enough. There will be a requirement for another type of data centre, one that will be needed to serve latency-sensitive [read high frequency trading], and/or mission-critical enterprise applications.
The type of facility will put proximity to inter-related systems, such as the trading platforms of various stock exchanges, as the key factor for their location and design. For these sites, cost won’t matter because they are support commercially vested applications. The ONLY thing that matters will be the latency, often measured in micro-seconds. Obviously, other things like redundancy, reliability, scalability, also matter, but those all can be acquired as long as cost is not an issue, and in these cases, it really doesn’t matter to some extent.
This type of facility is what NTT Global is calling ‘financial data centres.’ The operator is currently building out two of these sites in Hong Kong and Singapore – literally across the street from the respective market’s stock exchanges, as part of a pan-Asia ultra-low-latency platform that will include a third financial data centre in Tokyo, connected together via its upcoming high capacity subsea cable, ASE (Asia Submarine-cable Express), which links Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan.
Check out a video of their Hong Kong Financial Data Centre