Boutique data centre ramping up for cloud demand
Having observed that the very competitive system integrator (SI) industry was producing thin margins, i-Tech Network Solutions (i-Tech) made the decision to build their own data centre facility, in the Mont Kiara area of the Klang Valley.
CEO, Leonard Yee said, “It was end of 2012 when we decided to get away from a strictly SI business. Plus, the government wanted to make Malaysia a data centre hub, while we wanted to get an even revenue stream. Safehouse Data Centre opened in early 2013.”
The 5000 square feet data centre is located right in the heart of a bustling and upscale integrated development mix of commercial and residence. It also houses a disaster recovery office for clients’ operations teams to simulate disaster recovery scenarios and run test drills in preparation for the real thing.
The data centre was also designed together with IBM and power and cooling specialists, Schneider Electric.
Of Schneider Electric, Yee shared, “It isn’t the cheapest, but in the long-term it works out. Also, at time of designing the data centre, we wanted to be a ‘green’ data centre. “
Cost and energy efficiency
Chief Operating Officer (COO) KB Yap said, “A standard offering of a local data centre in terms of power now, is 2 KW per rack. But utilisation is lower because of energy efficiency solutions.”
Besides with critical power and cooling solutions, Safehouse is able to eke out further savings for its clients, by virtue of owning its own data centre. I-Tech which manages Safehouse, used to be the IT outsourcing arm of Ireka, a large public-listed infrastructure and real estate organisation. Today, i-Tech remains an Ireka company.
“We can play with cost compared to other players who let’s say rent from CSF. We don’t have a fixed cost, because the more (bandwidth) we buy, the cheaper it becomes, so we can pass savings on to customers. There is at least 30-percent cost savings as a result,” said Yap.
Yee added that the idea had been to serve smaller businesses, but they have been fairly successful with overseas clients from India and Indonesia.
Also, because of the space and infrastructure which they own, foreign data centre players like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure coming to Malaysia, would be an opportunity for Safehouse.
Vice President of Data Centre Services, Eric Cheong said, “If foreign players are scouting in the local market, Safehouse is willing to open its doors to them to be tenants.”
Yee sees that the local industry is growing. “To be fair, MDeC have done a good job. There is a 40-percent growth annually for the past two to three years.
“If this is to be believed, and I will say we believe a little bit of it, we have exceeded the Asia Pacific’s data centre growth average!”
Demand spurs growth and demand is something that Yee has observed happening, despite the uncertainty Malaysia is facing in the country; businesses from Europe have halted plans to come to Malaysia, preferring to adopt a cautious wait-and-see approach.
“But, we do see a trend of people asking about data centres to use them. They realise that if they do everything in their own site, real estate is going to be expensive. So, we market ourselves as a disaster recovery data centre.”
While also adopting a cautious approach, Yee shared, “If everything goes according to plan, we will invest RM8 million to RM10 million over the next five years, because we need to ramp up the business across healthcare, construction, media and finance industries.”
He pointed out that Safehouse would focus on offering disaster recovery and backup as cloud services.