The Asia Pacific demand for data: What it means for data centres

omer wilsonGuest blog: Omer Wilson, Senior Director of Marketing for the Asia Pacific region at Digital Realty.

Digital Realty supports more than 2,000 firms across its secure, network-rich portfolio of Data Centres located throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Clients include domestic and international companies of all sizes, ranging from financial services, cloud and information technology services, to energy. manufacturing, gaming, life sciences and consumer products.

We’ve entered the zettabyte era, where annual global IP traffic is forecast to reach 2.3 zettabytes by the year 2020. One of the main drivers for this growth is the Asia Pacific region – now home to more than half the world’s internet users. By 2019, Asia Pacific is forecast to have the largest amount of business IP traffic in the world, at 11.4 Exabytes per month. It’s a similar story among the consumer market, with social media users up 25% (303 million users).

These may be the headline figures, but behind the scenes there are many reasons why Asia Pacific is witnessing such strong growth. Below we examine some of them, along with the expected impact on data centres – from now up to the year 2020.

  • The drive to reduce latency
    In today’s era of bandwidth-hungry apps and mission-critical systems, companies need instant access to data. Extending physical data centre infrastructure is one way to help them maintain or gain competitive advantage. In order to minimise latency, companies such as Google and Amazon Web Services have both built data centres in Singapore. As market penetration for mobile devices increases across Asia Pacific, expect this trend to continue.
  • More local data centres
    Increased globalisation brings many opportunities, along with challenges. Particularly around safeguarding data, explains Bernard Geoghegan, former managing director of Digital Realty in EMEA and APAC: ‘As Asian regulators become more protective of their domestic technology market and relevant data, there could proportionately be a growing need for data centres to be stationed locally’. For example, Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) prohibits the transfer of personal data to a country/territory outside of Singapore if it doesn’t offer PDPA-comparable levels of security.
  • Supporting smart cities
    Smart cities is an initiative common across the EU, and is now growing in the APAC region. In Singapore, the government’s stated aim is to harness ‘the power of networks, data and info-comm technologies, we seek to improve living, create economic opportunity and build a closer community’. Data centres will play a key role in enabling this vision.
  • Growth in cloud computing
    Growing demand for Software-As-A-Service means a projected 22.5% growth in demand for public cloud services in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore. These countries are classified as the ‘mature’ segment of Asia Pacific, according to Gartner. Data centres in these areas will need to prepare for organisations who demand ‘increased automation and management of these cloud assets, as well as focus on the security aspects of consuming public cloud’.
  • 5G on the horizon
    Japan’s domestic companies will receive government support to launch a 5G service in 2020. According to reports, this will include global brands such as Panasonic, Sharp, and Fujitsu. As 4k and 8k televisions become the norm, combined with increased streaming, this move is designed to support the network and infrastructure providers.
  • Internet of Things
    No data centre discussion would be complete without a reference to IoT. According to IDC, Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) will become ‘the frontline’ for IoT, with the greatest level of IoT spending in the world. Naturally, data centres will be at the heart of processing the data from all the connected ‘things’.

Increased investment, government support, advances in technology – these are exciting times for the Asia Pacific region. And for data centres, who will play a pivotal role in its growth. After all, in a data-driven world it’s up to the infrastructure to handle the data demand!

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