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Asia Pacific’s accelerating need to optimise IT infrastructure

13 Mar 2020

Article by Vertiv's Robert Linsdell and Peter Simon.
 
As businesses across Asia Pacific deal with unprecedented levels of disruption, the need to optimise what systems they can becomes paramount.

Energy has been a huge driver in this regard, and hence the drive for renewables across the region, which has the added bonus of taking pressure off the grid. While this is encouraging, organisations can also greatly reduce their carbon footprint and energy spend through improving their own IT infrastructure efficiency.
 
The data centre is often overlooked by staff and business leaders or CFOs aiming to reduce costs, but given data centres typically take up around five per cent of the energy we consume – with that number only rising as we embrace more digital services – we might need to pay closer attention.
 
Power consumption in the data centre is often not measured or considered a priority, and existing metering systems are often not there or not detailed enough. We’ve worked with companies across Asia Pacific hoping to ‘optimise’ their server rooms to make them more energy efficient, and the level of waste we regularly discover can be startling.
 
Inefficiency can reach levels of 50% or more through issues such as overcooling, air flow and anomalies derived from various equipment added over time. That number isn’t even high; it’s the norm, and many organisations in the region are even less efficient.

Leveraging cutting edge, cloud-based internet of things (IoT) technology to reduce operational costs and risks in critical spaces has become a huge differentiator for businesses capitalising on ending this efficiency and improving their overall power usage effectiveness or PUE.
 
The difference a data centre makes
  
A recent report indicated the digital economy in South East Asia alone was already at US$100 billion and expected to triple by 2025. This highlights the rate of growth of digital activity in the region, and nothing digital works without a data centre. As the trend continues, optimising the data centre becomes an even more obvious choice. 
  
Organisations in Asia Pacific have understandably been focused on developing new digital services rather than worrying about the impact of the energy they use, but the process of modernisation is important here too. Optimising data centre resources means you can use them to improve IT capacity, paving the way for new services operating at greater efficiency.
 
Go your own way, or don’t
 
Of course, because of cloud computing, companies don’t always own their data centre anymore and many are choosing to rent that infrastructure from the public cloud or a colocation (colo) centre. 
  
This can take the pressure off optimising on-premises as large public and colo data centres play by different rules. The huge volume of data and energy being processed and consumed by industry players means energy efficiency equals competitiveness, so they ensure they’re up to speed.

But the trend in Asia is moving towards a mixture of cloud environments, i.e. hybrid cloud. It is estimated that hybrid cloud will make up close to 50 per cent of the cloud infrastructure market in the next two years. That will mean that internal data centre resources are part of the mix for the long term, and so again the need for optimisation becomes obvious.
 
More and more, this also includes ‘edge’ or micro data centres, typically deployed to a company’s regional or branch offices or hard-to-access sites like a mine.
 
Company leaders don’t necessarily need to understand which parts of an organisation’s digital services belong in each cloud environment, but they should recognise the dual need to optimise internal resources.
 
Government carbon abatement schemes 

There are also further cost saving opportunities linked with optimisation. Many countries across Asia Pacific have abatement schemes to financially reward companies that demonstrate their ability to invest in carbon reduction projects, and this can include data centre optimisation.

In Australia, for example, certain states offer one-time payments of more than AU$100,000 (around US$66,500) for data centre optimisation in leading telecommunications and financial services leaders.
  
There is a great opportunity for Asia Pacific organisations to push forward to the next stage of technology evolution, which will include incredible innovation such as internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), smart cities and more, with more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient infrastructure than we’ve ever known.