Singapore’s internet connectivity amplifies data centers
Reliable and fast internet connectivity is key for organizations around the world today. Over the years, technology has enabled the internet to improve its speed and lower its latency. In Southeast Asia, there are concerns about internet accessibility across the region in some areas. While these issues are being addressed, countries like Singapore, which have solved connectivity problems, are being the preferred choice for tech investments and development.
With Singapore being the top destination for companies to set up their data centers in Southeast Asia, reliable, fast and secure internet connectivity is a prerogative. The island nation has one of the best internet services in the world with the lowest latency.
However, despite this, there are still concerns about the availability of the network. While internet downtimes are uncommon organizations want to be sure that they are prepared to deal with them, especially with downtime that may be resulting in huge losses for an organization.
Singapore has also just recently lifted its moratorium on new data center projects. The country will be more selective of data center projects in future especially with key resources like land and renewable energy being scarce.
In this second part of Tech Wire Asia’s conversation with Ivo Ivanov, Chief Operating Officer of DE-CIX Group AG and Chief Executive Officer of DE-CIX International, we discuss the concerns on internet outages, the role of 5G in perfecting latency as well as the potential use cases being deployed in Singapore.
How does DE-CIX help ensure that organizations will have continuous connectivity? Are internet outages still a concern organizations have today?
It has never been easier to connect, but – at the same time – the requirements for connectivity have never been higher. Most recently, even major cloud players have experiences outages, impacting their service delivery, and affecting hundreds of apps and websites.
Such incidents happen, be it resulting from a misconfiguration or a physical emergency of some kind. To mitigate such a risk, what is essential is to have redundant connectivity. Today, a lot of companies are already using a multi-cloud strategy. But mitigating the cloud concentration risk does not just stop at using different clouds, because it is also important to be able to access those clouds from physically independent locations. If one connection fails, or one data center experiences an outage, you still have a single point of failure.
Therefore, digital infrastructure must be conceived of as a distributed infrastructure involving a diversity of providers and multiple redundant pathways. This creates the resilience necessary for critical applications and data. Using a distributed cloud exchange platform that allows a multi-home set-up and a range of providers, as well as ensuring redundant connection to clouds and partner networks from physically separated locations, dramatically increases the resilience of connections and ensures continuous access to critical data.
DE-CIX’s data centers and carrier neutrality create a robust interconnection environment that enables networks to ensure multiple redundant pathways for critical data. Connectivity implementations can then function to the highest standard, whether it is internal systems and cloud resources with employees as we continue to work from home or interconnectivity with partners across the world.
DE-CIX provides interconnection infrastructure that fulfills the highest possible standards in terms of speed, quality, security, resilience, and geographical accessibility and sets in place these standards in the implementation of infrastructure as Internet outages are still a possibility in today’s digital world.
How latency is the new currency in today’s digital climate and how will 5G change connectivity in data centers?
As economic activity moves from the analog to the digital sphere, latency is decisive for the time it takes for a transaction to be registered or for getting a smooth reaction and good user experience when using applications that are hosted in the cloud; regardless across the sectors of service, from finance to e-Commerce, and on to education.
From a business perspective, latency issues will effectively cost money. Productivity will be disrupted should work processes be affected by poor connectivity. Industrial activities like remote robotics, AI-supported research and development, and various technological advancements would not be conceivable without the performance, security, and resilience that comes with the lowest possible latency. As such, latency in digital services and applications is truly revenue-related.
Companies need high-performance, secure interconnection in order to do business. In the digital world, resiliency is business-critical. To guarantee continuity of service, DE-CIX offers enterprises interconnection solutions that connect directly to the required application or compute source – for example, to the many cloud services an enterprise makes use of (through DE-CIX DirectCLOUD), or to applications such as those available through Microsoft 365, with direct connectivity possible for enterprises via DE-CIX with the Microsoft Azure Peering Service.
5G enables the management of a lot of different frequencies, and transmission of multiple data streams. Designed primarily for maintaining data from a huge number of sensors, 5G represents the foundation for the future evolution of the Internet of Things. However, while 5G is fast, it has a more limited range than previous generations of mobile technology, meaning that there is a need for a greater density of towers in close proximity to the point of data generation.
For many of the new use cases dependent on ultra-fast response times, at least some of the data processing and filtering should also be happening close to the end device, so there will be a much greater need for edge data centers to be built. For great connectivity in connected cars and autonomous vehicles, this will mean a mini data center at every highway junction.
With the shift towards fifth-generation wireless networks, managing data streams relevant for multiple stakeholders in an intelligent way, and ensuring the seamless transfer of crucial data between edge devices, edge data centers, and larger (cloud) data centers is becoming critical. The convergence of 5G and edge data centers and artificial intelligence – in the sense of Software Defined Networks (SDN) and the automation of interconnection – results in what we at DE-CIX call the “digital triangle for edge interconnection. This will enable IoT devices to function in new and more connected ways and support use cases as yet undreamt of.
With high-speed internet and low latency, what are the potential use cases we can see being developed in Singapore?
Use cases that reflect an enhanced digital interconnection will be many and various, but current scenarios include connected cars and autonomous vehicles, Agriculture 4.0, intelligent smart city services, smart production, and many more.
In Singapore, use cases are far and wide, especially with the Smart Nation initiative by the Government. At the most basic level, Smart Nation is all about providing convenience and improving lives. This includes utilizing high-speed Internet and greater connectivity to monitor health, reduce time spent on administrative tasks, plan commute, etc. It also enables daily transactions to be seamless, be it making a payment, applying for a permit, etc.
At a broader level, such low latency and effective connectivity are about achieving efficiencies for enterprise – be it leveraging sensors to better manage data, making data and applications available for remote working, or using AI and analytics tools to understand data and develop new services and revenues streams of the basis of it. Therefore, it enables the overall transformation of the economy by ensuring business growth and job opportunities.
In the instance of the connected car – the data produced and analyzed by a car is part of a market that will be valued in trillions of dollars. This data will be highly valuable for a variety of industry segments, starting with the marketing industry (to understand trends and customer preferences), the roads to cities (wanting to know which street needs repairing and up-to-the-second traffic flows); insurance industry (wanting a better understanding of driver behavior); and then the finance industry (to know about consumption behavior), just for starters.
On the other hand, analysts from Deloitte to McKinsey assure us that the future car customer is likely to place more emphasis on digital performance than engine performance in the purchasing decision – today, the differences when it comes to engine performance are no longer as significant. Hence, digital will be a key differentiator, and the competition will occur more on the software side.
This kind of development can only come to fruition with the lowest latency, highest performance, and highest security in the networks and their connections to one another. Singapore, as a densely populated area and highly advanced digital market, can play a key role in defining new digital traffic solutions in the connected car and beyond.
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