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$240m Singapore data center sets the bar high for energy efficiency & security
Wed, 21st Mar 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

OCBC Bank has a new regional data center, custom-built to support the bank's operations for at least the next 30 years.

The cloud data center is wholly-owned by the bank, and commenced operation in the third quarter of 2017.

OCBC Bank's head of group operations and technology, Lim Khiang Tong, says it was crucial the company found a data center they could buy and own, rather than leasing a facility.

“This is to ensure we can have full control over its security and design – so that it is completely tailored to our exact requirements. We therefore embarked on a four-year journey to develop our purpose-built data center from ground up – being the first Singapore bank to do so.

The S$240 million facility sits 0.5 hectares of land – equivalent to half the size of a football field – with a built-up floor area of 134,500 square feet across six levels. Already, the data center serves of number of OCBC Group's subsidiaries, including Bank of Singapore, Great Eastern and Lion Global Investors.

OCBC claims its new data center has some of the highest standards in security and resiliency in Singapore. The data center was designed to withstand external physical threats with its blast resistant walls and reinforced perimeter walls that prevent intrusion.

Security measures inside include biometric authentication via iris recognition and segregated security zones with multiple entry barriers to restrict access.

According to OCBC, the facility is the first in Southeast Asia to have one technology command center that monitors and manages the day-to-day operations of core IT systems as well as cybersecurity. The center features smart automation tools like Google Home and Alexa that help the command center retrieve information and perform tasks such as call activation during crises.

A big focus for the company was ensuring the transition and migration from its old facility to the new data center was seamless.

“This was a huge feat considering the scale of our operations and the number of servers and network devices we have,” adds Tong.

“We also had to make sure that this huge investment is ready to serve our expanding business for the Group for many years to come."

The data center has its own backup power facility that can sustain full operations for at least 48 hours when external power supply is cut.

Server halls are designed to be independent of each other with isolate power and cooling systems.

The data center was accorded the BCA-IMDA (Building and Construction Authority-Infocomm Media Development Authority) Green Mark Platinum Award, the highest standard attainable in the nation recognizing energy-saving designs.

In terms of cooling, the facility utilizes water-based cooling systems and cold aisle containment, and and diesel rotary uninterruptible power supply (DRUPS) system.

Tong continues, “At the same time, we wanted to play our part as a good global citizen in minimising the carbon footprint from our facility.

“As data centers generally consume large amounts of energy, we set ourselves a target – to obtain the highest Green Mark award from BCA. I am pleased that we have achieved all the goals that we have set."