The thriving data center transformation in Malaysia
Article by Teoh Wooi Keat, Country Manager of Vertiv Malaysia
Propelled by the pandemic-induced acceleration of digital transformation, data centers have become even more critical in today’s digital world. Data center facilities are now at the forefront of innovation and have been supporting the demand for mission-critical digital infrastructures and the cumulative growth of data. Not only do businesses rely on data centers for storage, but for disaster recovery and data management too.
These improvements to efficiency and agility have provided an impetus for Southeast Asia’s data center market to grow at a steady pace. According to a report by global tech research firm TechNavio, data center construction in the region is estimated to grow by USD3.61 billion and record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% in 2021-2025. The region is driven by the increased usage of cloud-based services, the internet of things (IoT), big data analytics, rising adoption of mobility, and the rapid pace of digitalization and digital services in the region.
Malaysia, in particular, is set to become the region’s next regional data center hub, with a digitally savvy and upwardly mobile population making it an attractive option for global data center operators. This is demonstrated through Research and Market’s Malaysia Data Center Market – Investment Analysis and Growth Opportunities 2021-2026 study. It reported that the data center market in the country is expected to gain up to USD1.4 billion by 2026.
In fact, even cloud giants Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft have seen Malaysia’s potential as a data center hub. AWS recently announced that it will shell out major investments in the country to develop its data center market, while Microsoft has established its plans to build its first data center region in Malaysia in support of inclusive economic growth.
Data center and energy-efficiency
As businesses strive to leverage data, investment in increased computing power and storage capacity requires data center facilities to consume more energy. With businesses becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint, they face a juggling act between sustainability and meeting aggressive demands for efficiency and optimization.
Most data center operators are beginning to engineer and implement innovative solutions that will help reduce their carbon footprint. These companies set corporate targets and follow through with their plan to ensure that their operations are beneficial for both the businesses they serve and the environment. Utilizing renewable energy has become crucial in this process.
Given the rise of the data center market in the region, governments across Southeast Asia are developing an increased focus on energy efficiency in data center construction and operations. In Malaysia, the government’s power generation plan is targeting 31% renewable energy in its installed capacity by 2025, and 40% by 2035.
The market has made great strides in this regard. A demonstration of pioneering power generation efforts is YTL DC’s recently announced YTL Green Data Centre Park, a visionary project located in Kulai, Johor. Comprising 500mW of total data center capacity, with an equivalent amount of solar power generation, it will be the first hyper-scale data center campus in Malaysia powered by on-site renewable energy.
Future-proofing data centers
The data center industry in Malaysia has a bright future. However, as the past two years showed us, digitalization and IT modernization are instantaneous. As the amount of data created and stored grows exponentially every day, the market needs to be agile enough to expand quickly. Reinforcing data center facilities through future-proofing should be a top priority for operators.
The rise of prefabricated modular data centers (PMDCs) plays an important role in gearing up these facilities for the continuously rising challenges and rapidly changing needs of businesses.
According to new research from Vertiv and OMDIA, more than half (52%) of data center executives surveyed have already deployed PMDC solutions, and 34% of them have more than 10 modules already operating, while 7% have more than 50 operating PMDC solutions. Almost all (99%) participants revealed that using modular data center designs is in their plans for the coming years, and 93% said that prefabricated modular solutions would be their default construction process.
Also known as integrated modular solutions or containerized data centers, PMDCs are designed to address business-specific demands to fit in a secure infrastructure managed by trained experts. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar facilities, PMDCs eliminate the complexities of setting up and maintaining data centers as it allows the expansion of data center capacity in tandem with the business’ growing needs. Modular solutions support incremental growth, which empowers businesses to take advantage of increased scalability and flexibility.
In the face of innovation-driven growth, data centers require architectural solutions that empower unprecedented efficiencies. With demand accelerating in spite of construction challenges, service providers can gain from solutions that take up limited space, and offer scalability as well as fast deployment.
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