Constant increases in consumer, business and government uptake of big data, cloud computing, ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and analytics – along with the ever-present rise of mobile data traffic – are all driving huge demand for colocation services in datacentres from edge scale to hyperscale across Australia.
According to the Data Economy industry news service, the global colocation market will double over the next five years. It was worth close to $40BN in 2018, a value that is estimated to grow to $69.76BN by 2024. Similar growth is forecast on the power front, with the global colocation market expected to experience significant growth around 893MW per year on average. This translates into more than 13GW of functional IT load at the closing of 2019, projected to grow to 17.57GW by the end of 2024.
Gartner predicts that 80% of all organisations will shift their workloads to colocation and cloud-based computing models by 2025 with the global market for hybrid cloud expected to reach a value of $138.63 billion by 2023. The primary driver of this shift is the transition to hybrid computing. As enterprises move from their less-efficient legacy office-based data centres, migrating to the more secure, scalable and flexible options offered by colocation data centres.
Headquartered in Brisbane, NEXTDC is an ASX200-listed technology company enabling business transformation and hybrid IT solutions through innovative data centre outsourcing solutions, connectivity services and infrastructure management software.
As Asia’s most innovative Data Centre-as-a-Service provider, NEXTDC deliver enterprise-class colocation services to local and international organisations. With a focus on sustainability and renewable energy, NEXTDC are building the infrastructure platform for the digital economy by delivering unprecedented effectiveness to the three core components of data centre excellence; Power, Security and Connectivity.
As customer demands grow, building a platform that is available to every potential partner and customer is critical to creating a flexible, preferred offering for every cloud computing provider, commercial enterprise and Government Agency.
With an existing footprint of nine data centres, with two more under development, NEXTDC continues to expand its national footprint of data centres to meet the unprecedented growth of data and the paradigm shift toward hybrid cloud, for a marketplace that is eager to capitalise on their data centre innovation and service delivery excellence. Expanding from their initial footprint of five first-generation data centres, NEXTDC have added three second generation data centres to their fleet and have three more in the development phase. Already operating are Brisbane (B2), Melbourne (M2) and Sydney (S2) with Perth (P2) under construction and Sydney (S3) and Melbourne (M3) planned. At full fit out, this will take NEXTDC’s available customer capacity in Australia to a staggering 300MW.
NEXTDC’s next-generation data centres are ground breaking not only due to their size, but also because of their business uptime abilities and long-term reliability. The B2 and M2 sites were the first Uptime Institute (UTI) Tier IV certified data centres designed and constructed in Australia, and the first of a small handful world-wide in the public colocation space. B2 was the first data centre in the Southern Hemisphere to achieve UTI Tier IV Gold certification for Operational Sustainability, as a result of NEXTDC’s unparalleled levels of operational excellence. S2 Sydney opened to its first customers in late 2018 and has already achieved UTI Tier IV certification for design documents, with construction certification and Tier IV Gold for Operational Sustainability planned. Similarly, P2 Perth construction began in 2H19, and it is expected to be open in 2H20.
Long-term supply agreement
ABB were selected to partner with NEXTDC for their leading electrical infrastructure and automation technology which enables NEXTDC to monitor and also tune the critical data centre infrastructure in their second-generation facilities in real-time. All of this is critical to delivering on their 100% uptime brand promise guarantee.
ABB has mobilised to provide that comprehensive solution, which includes complete power distribution systems, critical services monitoring system, and associated implementation and support services.
The partnership will see ABB deliver step-down and isolation transformers, medium and low-voltage switchgear, high and low capacity busduct including intelligent tap-off boxes, and an industrial grade critical services monitoring and infrastructure management system. The company will also provide supervision of installation and commissioning services, and support NEXTDC all the way through to the completion of their rigorous IST (Integrated Systems Testing) phase.
The nature of the modern data centre means that ABB is well positioned to support NEXTDC in the expansion of each of their next-generation facilities as the data halls are required and ultimately filled. Meanwhile ABB will provide ongoing support to national NEXTDC’s Facility Management team via its local support centres in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.
ABB has a long history providing power distribution systems for demanding infrastructure applications, both in Australia and overseas.
According to ABB’s sector manager for data centres in Australia, Narain Chandwani, the partnership with NEXTDC solidifies ABB as a key player in the local data centre market, with the four new second-generation sites demonstrating the company’s innovative outlook in the space.
“ABB designs, supplies and supports mission-critical electrification and automation systems that ensure uninterrupted growth in digitalisation services,” Mr Chandwan said.
“ABB in Australia has the applications understanding, local engineering competence, and after-sales support capability to assist any local data centre operator construct a facility that meets certification requirements, is connected to a reliable power supply, and runs in an energy-efficient way.”
Mr Chandwan said ABB’s ability to tap into its global network to source the latest innovations, together with its local engineering capabilities, were important factors in NEXTDC’s decision to partner with the supplier.
“NEXTDC’s goal is to reduce the overall cost-per-megawatt in every new facility they build, and ABB is committed to helping them achieve that,” said Mr Chandwan.
“Our critical services monitoring solution alerts NEXTDC and ABB to early indications of any equipment deterioration, allowing us to work together to proactively isolate and resolve potential issues before they eventuate. We are committed to working with NEXTDC on providing a very fast level of response, to ensure they maintain their 100% uptime guarantee.
ABB’s integrated power distribution and critical services monitoring system (CSMS) solutions provide energy efficiency, and cost and time savings for data centre customers like NEXTDC.
Key to ABB’s offering for NEXTDC is the complete ‘integrated power train” including “Isolated Parallel Switchboard – IPSB” incorporating sophisticated zone protection. Plus, our ABB Ability™ Data Center Automation – a CSMS providing best-in-class power, automation and monitoring integration capabilities, all in a single industrial platform.
For NEXTDC, ABB’s ‘integrated power train’ solution with local engineering and project management capabilities meant timely implementation for the B2, M2 and S2 sites, allowing the Company to optimise “time to market” of their “next generation Tier IV” facilities said Mr Chandwani.
Cost, energy and time savings
Monitoring the power usage, temperature and relative humidity in the data halls is a primary function of the CSMS, ensuring reliability and enabling energy savings in each and every data hall.
“Being able to monitor power usage, availability and associated redundancy equipment has cost impacts ranging from basic power balancing, right through to contractual commitments and KPIs. This could mean up to multi-million-dollar savings for NEXTDC and its customers over time”.
“Relatively small rises or falls in temperature in and around the servers hosted in the data halls can result in ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems working harder than they need to – this, in turn, impacts the facilities overall power usage,” said Mr Jozsef Ferenczi, ABB’s manager for control technology in Australia.
“CSMS utilises best-in-class data aggregation and visualisation providing real-time visibility including both high level (aggregate) and low level (granular) views of the data centre infrastructure – including enterprise, floor plan, zone, system and component views. This results in faster and better operational decisions and actions, and therefore more effective operations.” Ferenczi said.
The ABB Ability Data Center Automation’s capacity to integrate multiple vendor equipment with ease and adapt on-the-fly to changing technologies while providing continuous uptime is a huge advantage compared to competing solutions on the market. The system integrates data from IT, power, cooling and building systems, eliminating the need for manual data entry when calculating utilisation metrics and other KPIs, Mr Ferenczi said.
As data volumes continue to accelerate at unprecedented rates, and customer adoption of cloud rises, the role of colocation providers such as NEXTDC and companies like ABB that provide the technology that power this critical infrastructure – will become even more ubiquitous.
According to NEXTDC Chief Operating Officer Simon Cooper, “everyone from families at home, right through to large multi-nationals and the ICT providers that deliver critical IT and cloud services to Australian enterprise and government departments, will benefit from the unparalleled level of service capacity, efficiency and resilience provided by NEXTDC.”
“Data centres are the nerve centre of the internet, so as the online world expands, so too do data centres and the clouds and networks that connect inside of them. As hosting locations for critical IT services, organisations are becoming increasingly reliant on their data centre ensuring that the lights never go out,” says Mr Cooper.
“We are building the infrastructure platform that powers our thriving digital economy, and we know that our facilities underpin a large swathe of the country’s IT services. We take our responsibility seriously and we are committed to building and operating the most reliable, secure, powerful and energy efficient data centres in the country, if not the world. To achieve this, we work with only the best partners and suppliers globally to support our vision of building these incredible facilities.”
“We see ABB as an innovator in electrical engineering, in both the data centre space and power distribution and generation as well as automaton – materially important aspects as NEXTDC continues to look for new ways to innovate and evolve,” he said.
“ABB has a great vision that projects their deep electrical engineering capability into the brave new world of big data, robotics, 3D printing, power distribution and generation (including smart grids, sustainability and storage), a vision that NEXTDC shares, said Mr Cooper. We are looking forward to working with ABB as we continue to drive new innovations that will assist in growing our digital economy."