Data centres: The bedrock of APAC’s digital revolution

The pace of technological transformation in Asia-Pacific accelerated in 2023, and it shows no sign of slowing. AI is now a transformative force, enhancing efficiency and decision-making across industries. High-density computing is propelling innovation, reshaping the foundational infrastructure that supports new technological advancements. And the business adoption of hybrid IT continues to grow, ensuring increased flexibility and security in an ever-more complex operating environment.

The speed of these developments in the region is dependent on the underlying infrastructure that powers them – the data centre. To start off right in the new year, let’s reflect on the technological trends that shaped the APAC data centre industry and their influence in the year ahead.

AI wave powered by infrastructure shift

Interest in AI exploded in 2023 as the arrival of LLMs (large language models) and generative AI made the benefits of the technology clearer and more accessible than ever before. As consumers, businesses, and governments scramble to leverage AI in every facet of their lives and organisations, digital infrastructure requirements for AI workloads have surged – and will continue to rise as they seek to keep up with the demands of this rapidly advancing field.

A dedicated, robust, and resilient environment optimised for intensive computing deployed at scale will become a prerequisite for data centre providers. Modular designs will distinguish between a data centre’s ability to accommodate current and future AI deployments within existing facilities and the necessity to construct new ones. Data centre operators with modular architectures will be well-positioned to aid customers in efficiently supporting AI deployments, even with high rack densities, ensuring effectiveness, resilience, and cost efficiency within their current facilities.

Connected platforms to manage data explosion

In APAC and around the world, the amount of data that enterprises and technology service providers produce, use, consume, and exchange is growing exponentially. Digital Realty estimates that APAC will hold more than 461,000 exabytes of data by 2025, and is set to be the region with the greatest rise in enterprise data creation and utilisation.

As data continues to explode in volume, velocity, and value, enterprises need a secure and open digital infrastructure platform to navigate this increasingly dynamic and complex landscape.

The key to unleashing the full potential of this data lies in its accessibility, and data centres are poised to assume an increasingly important role in facilitating organisations’ access to data from any location at any given time. Data centre providers must ensure that robust security measures, adherence to regulatory requirements, as well as flexibility and scalability, are baked into the platform for seamless connectivity.

Enterprises also continue to move to hybrid IT models – which utilise both private and public cloud infrastructure – as part of this journey. Indeed, an IDC survey of businesses in APAC found that over 77% of organisations are currently utilising either a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud setup, and this number is projected to increase to 84% within the next two years.

Meeting the demand for sustainability

Recently, 118 governments pledged at the COP28 climate summit at the United Nations to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and to triple the global renewable energy capacity by 2030. With consumers and investors placing greater emphasis on ethical practices, APAC businesses are increasingly embracing sustainability not just as a corporate responsibility but as a strategic advantage in a world that demands a balance between profitability and environmental stewardship.

Data centres must forge new partnerships and collaborations in the year ahead to deliver more sustainable solutions and drive efficiency gains. One practical approach involves working with software providers utilising AI and 3D visualisations to improve airflow and cooling efficiencies in data centres. Similarly, AI tools can facilitate comprehensive analysis of extensive datasets on the industry’s emissions footprint, and energy and water usage. This enables informed actions to address environmental challenges.

Paving the way forward

The speed of digitalisation will continue to ramp up in APAC, particularly as governments across the region encourage digital transformation initiatives to drive economic growth, stability, and competitiveness.

To fuel the innovation and transformative potential of AI and other emerging technologies, data centres must fulfil their role as the backbone of this digital revolution. It is not merely an investment in hardware; it is an investment in the future, a commitment to propel society forward into an era where the boundaries of what is possible are pushed.

We are excited to be a part of shaping what lies ahead and look forward to an even more successful 2024.