Singapore’s recent DC developments
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Data centres are in hot demand, according to Andy Ng, VP and MD for Asia South and Pacific Region at Veritas Technologies. In Singapore, there has been a rapid increase in the number of data centres in recent years and now, the government has put a temporary pause to ensure digital infrastructure is environmentally sustainable. Enterprise IT News explores the implications with Andy Ng.
EITN: What does the pause on data centre building in Singapore, mean overall for the industry and enterprises in Singapore and/or the region?
Andy: Data centres are in hot demand, as businesses and consumers have an insatiable appetite for data in today’s digital world. The shift to remote or hybrid working has further fuelled the demand for more data, computing capacity and data centres, as organisations are forced to accelerate their digital transformation, including the adoption of cloud services.
While data centres are critical in driving the digital economy, they are also huge energy hogs that have an undeniable negative impact on the environment. The pause on new data centres will serve as an impetus for the industry to explore innovative solutions that are more environmentally sustainable while meeting business needs.
Singapore is also pressing ahead to push technological boundaries to bring about more energy efficient data centres with innovations such as advanced cooling systems. Done right, this could make Singapore the global leader in green data centres.
Singapore remains one of the top choices for data centres worldwide, due to its excellent infrastructure, submarine cable connections, secure environment, legal framework, and skilled workforce.
For now, the temporary pause will mean a surge in costs, and a spill-over of demand into neighbouring countries. However, even with the temporary halt in place, Singapore remains one of the top choices for data centres worldwide, due to its excellent infrastructure, submarine cable connections, secure environment, legal framework, and skilled workforce.
The pause on new data centres will serve as an impetus for the industry to explore innovative solutions that are more environmentally sustainable while meeting business needs.
EITN: How are enterprises/business going to balance this announcement of a moratorium, with their own digital transformation plans?
Andy: With the ongoing moratorium, enterprises will benefit from a holistic data management strategy that reduces operational costs and risk while enhancing agility, irrespective of where their data resides – cloud, containers or on-premises.
For instance, as enterprises accelerate their digital transformation plans, especially those operating in multi-cloud data centres with heterogenous environments, solutions that offer a scale-out deployment option will enable them to enjoy cloud-like simplicity and scalability. This means businesses no longer need to forecast capacity and provision in anticipation of future growth. They can simply add more nodes as and when they are required.
With an increasingly complex IT environment, the ability to manage and protect data from a single pane of glass and to move data within and across public and private clouds will enable businesses to achieve the agility they need to optimise costs while reducing risks.
EITN: In your opinion what does enterprise resiliency mean?
When it comes to enterprise resiliency, the ability to recover business-critical data with near-zero RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) is key in the event of a major outage, disruption or attack. This will help to assure organisations that they can continue to serve their customers and keep businesses up and running by protecting and recovering data, wherever it resides.
It is no surprise that the global pandemic has forced organisations to consider resiliency in a new light, as many put priority on making things work amidst the chaos. Moreover, organisations’ business resiliency capabilities were tested even further, with the explosion of ransomware over the recent months.
According to the Veritas 2020 Ransomware Resiliency Report, 64% of organisations confess that security measures have not kept pace with IT complexity, underscoring the urgent need for organisations to close the security gap or risk falling behind the race.
EITN: What role can a good data management plan, have in these recent developments for Singapore’s DC industry?
Andy: Data is a strategic asset and offers amazing opportunities when organisations can adopt a strategic and fully integrated approach to data management.
As a first step, organisations will benefit from deploying proper classification tools and policies to understand what data they have, gain visibility into where it is located, who is using it, the number of copies that exist, if it is valuable or not, and more. Unless a business understands what data it has and where, it is impossible to build an effective data management strategy.
Filtering dark data and deleting the information that is not needed should become a moral imperative for everyone.
In Singapore, there has been a rapid increase in the number of data centres in recent years and the government has put a temporary pause to ensure digital infrastructure is environmentally sustainable.
This is no easy task given that both companies and individuals are consuming growing volumes of data every day, with many guilty of storing “dark data” that we don’t have any idea about its content or value, and we will never access again.
Veritas estimates that 5.8 million tonnes of CO2 will be unnecessarily pumped into the atmosphere as a result of powering the storage of this kind of data in 2020 alone. Filtering dark data and deleting the information that is not needed should become a moral imperative for everyone. Businesses can play a role in balancing digital growth and sustainability by managing their data more effectively, using the right tools and policies to identify valuable data and rid “dark data” from their data centres.
EITN: Please share the link between digital transformation and data protection.
Andy: Digital transformation is helping enterprises accelerate service delivery and reduce costs. However, as businesses embrace enabling technologies such as hyperconverged solutions and scale-out architectures, they also need an ability to better support data protection. This is best achieved through a cohesive data protection strategy, standardised on a single platform to reduce operational costs and risk, while enhancing agility.
According to a recent Veritas research, 45% of large corporations globally use 5 – 20 cloud services. This rising multi-cloud complexity is a challenge for any organisation, especially over the past 12 months where technology transformation has rapidly outpaced the evolution of data management tools, resulting in a transformation gap.
In today’s distributed work environment with data sprawling across the edge, core and the cloud, the security risks will only grow. This is due to cyber criminals looking to exploit the increased vulnerabilities with more endpoints being created. As such, businesses should rethink their data protection strategy – getting business back up and running should never be an afterthought. It should be the priority.
The advent of COVID-19 has forced organisations to accelerate their digital transformation and necessitate the move to cloud. According to a recent Veritas research, 45% of large corporations globally use 5 – 20 cloud services. This rising multi-cloud complexity is a challenge for any organisation. This is especially over the past 12 months where technology transformation has rapidly outpaced the evolution of data management tools, resulting in a transformation gap.
It is essential for organisations to evolve their data protection strategy and implement a unified backup solution that can support this increased complexity spanning across a wide range of workloads and applications, regardless of where the data is located.
EITN: Do you have any opinions about ransomware trends in this region, and the role that good data management can play?
Andy: Ransomware has enjoyed a great year in 2020, taking advantage of the rise of remote working to wreak havoc in a pandemic. Companies had to rush to provide mobility solutions without setting up a proper data protection and management policy to ensure data is both protected and compliant.
According to the Veritas 2020 Ransomware Resiliency Report, the average enterprise has been the victim of 1.87 ransomware attacks. In Singapore, only 49% of organisations said that their security has kept pace with their IT complexity, exposing them to heightened risk of ransomware and compliance failures.
The recent high-profile ransomware incidents – Kaseya, Colonial Pipeline and JBS – have also illustrated that we are all much more vulnerable than we used to be.
The more that essential-service providers such as hospitals, transport operators, fuel suppliers or food companies rely on data, the greater the impact that hackers can have by interfering with it.
It is clear that cyber felons are constantly honing their skills and without the right data protection, everyone is at risk of ransomware.
A sound data protection strategy that cuts across on-premises, cloud or containers, is akin to having an insurance policy to build resilience against any ransomware attacks.
It pays for businesses to focus on protecting their data to break the cycle of ransomware. If organisations can bring their protection and availability solutions up to speed – by hardening backup platforms and deploying robust recovery measures to ensure data and applications can be restored quickly and seamlessly across business networks to meet operational and regulatory requirements – they are better able to stay one step ahead of the game without the need to engage with the hackers.