Data deployment shift as 5G nears

21/10/2019 - 14:25

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SPECIAL REPORT: Most data centre providers are upgrading their facilities in Perth, but one major player has cancelled a planned investment.

Data deployment shift as 5G nears
NEXTDC is in the midst of developing its P2 data centre in East Perth. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Most data centre providers are upgrading their facilities in Perth, but one major player has cancelled a planned investment. 

A high-rise tower under construction in East Perth symbolises the growing profile of data centres.

While most data centres are located in unmarked buildings in industrial areas such as Malaga and Canning Vale, NEXTDC has gone very public with its latest facility.

Its P2 data centre on Newcastle Street is not only high rise and high profile, it’s also budgeted to be the largest investment in the sector.

(click to view a PDF version of the full special report)

NEXTDC spent $22 million acquiring the land and is planning to spend $80 million building initial capacity of two megawatts.

The site will have 12,000 square metres of technical space for servers designed to meet the computing and storage needs of clients.

It comes after NEXTDC completed development of a fourth and final data hall at its Malaga (P1) data centre.

The group’s built capacity in Western Australia is 5.6MW, with about half that being utilised by customers. Its long-term goal is an ambitious 26MW of capacity.

While construction of P2 proceeds, NEXTDC has opened its first ‘edge compute’ microdata centre on the East Perth site to facilitate early access to the Indigo subsea cable system via the microsite’s first customer, Superloop, and other telco and cloud infrastructure providers.

Chief operating officer Simon Cooper said the recent opening of the microsite had been an important milestone for NEXTDC, with the full data centre to be even more significant.

“P2 will become central Perth’s most important IT, cloud and connectivity infrastructure platforms and the P2 microsite is set to give it an incredible head start,” he said.

NEXTDC’s plan is for P2 to have tier four certification from the Uptime Institute.

This is the gold standard for data centres, with clients wanting assurance they will be always operating.

One of NEXTDC’s major competitors, Fujitsu Australia, had been planning to upgrade its Malaga facility to achieve tier four certification but has quietly cancelled the project.

This comes as a surprise because in December last year Fujitsu said procurement of the plant and all equipment was complete and construction was due to begin in January.

The Malaga upgrade was specifically aimed at improving the resilience of the data centre site, particularly its electrical infrastructure.

This followed an outage in 2015, which was a major setback for the business.

The planned upgrade also came after prime contractors in the WA government’s GovNext ICT program overlooked Fujitsu as a data centre partner, opting instead to partner with either NEXTDC, Equinix, or Pier DC.

Fujitsu has told Business News the Malaga upgrade, budgeted to cost $17 million, would not proceed.

“Although we have achieved tier four design certification for the Malaga data centre, we have made a business decision not to proceed with the construction phase of the proposed works in the Malaga data centre at this time,” the company stated. 

“This decision is based on analysis of the rapidly changing market situation in WA as well as consultation with customers.”

In contrast to Fujitsu, Equinix has recently completed a $15.6 million expansion of its PE2 data centre in Shenton Park.

Equinix Australia senior director IBX operations, Glenn Uidam, said the PE2 data centre had been experiencing strong demand from a broad set of customers.

“Organisations are moving away from deploying their IT in traditional corporate data centres and putting their data in facilities at the digital edge to support their connectivity needs,” he said. 

“This paradigm shift will accelerate with the forthcoming 5G rollout in Australia and prevalence of emerging technology like AI, IoT, and AR/VR.” 

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