Sarawak’s data centre – as large as two football fields – to position Sarawak as regional ‘lifeline’ hub

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By Karen Bong, Ling Hui and Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, June 22: Sarawak’s soon-to-be launched data centre, a sprawling building spread across two football fields located in Santubong that essentially “will never go down” as it is a champion-league Tier IV quality infrastructure, will position Sarawak to become the regional hub to meet the rising demand for connectivity with high-speed internet.

Sarawak-based international telecommunication infrastructure provider PP Telecommunication Sdn Bhd (PPTel) chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Jonathan Smith said that Tier IV is the highest class certification for a data centre and Sarawak is one of 40 or 50 data centres given this accreditation by Uptime Institute.

“The data centre started off just being a warehouse but it has been developed into sophisticated design, with complex equipment, cooling system and multiple generators to support any power outages.

“Furthermore, we have fantastic green energy – hydropower which is something that is sought after by everyone in the telecommunication market these days. Everyone has to show their green credentials. We know that Singapore wants some of that energy as they are running out of space and there is similar difficulty in Hong Kong with a crowded market.

“The idea of a data centre is to have a highly reliable piece of infrastructure with reliable power and cooling that has no down time. Essentially, this data centre will never go down and it is positioned at the end of our BaSICS (Batam Sarawak Internet Cable System) in Santubong, which is not far from the centre of Kuching,” he shared during DayakDaily’s ‘Spot On’ interview today.

While many will not necessarily know the importance of a data centre, it is like a lifeline that keeps the digital world going and let people stay connected, be it to read news online, watch Netflix, send email, play games or browse social media.

More importantly, the closer a data centre is, the faster the overall internet speed will be.

A collage photo of the progress of Batam CLS (top) and Tier-IV Data Centre and CLS in Kuching.

With that, Smith emphasised that a data centre is the second most important thing required for expanding the digital economy in Sarawak, apart from subsea cables to directly connect to the internet superhighway and scale up transmission capacity to deliver data needed by users.

“As part of the digital transformation, we want to improve broadband or internet for all Sarawakians. We know that there are issues with the quality of the internet in Sarawak and this is the same the world wide as the internet evolves and applications increase, everyone wants videos on their phones now, and there is a lot more data.

“So there is huge demand on the infrastructure. We want to improve that and the main product we will be selling as PPTel is IP Transit which is the means by which any telecom providers get contents from the World Wide Web.

“The data that most of us get comes from all those hyperscale (a distributed computing environment) like Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft located around the world in data centres. We don’t have a data centre of that scale in Sarawak but what we have is the connectivity to the next best place,” he explained.

Smith added that PPTel provides the data centre that will allow equipment to be installed which can support the core network and also the international connectivity.

“So we want to build Sarawak as a data centre hub and put many more data centres, similar to the one we have now which is the gateway data centre. We will build more and more of those where the services can be monetised. We want to make it (Sarawak) a rich hub for data centres for the whole Southeast Asia region,” he said.

For the full interview, click here to watch it on Youtube. — DayakDaily