Why being green is at the heart of SpaceDC’s journey to success

Green data centre operations are at the core of sustainability strategies for data centre leaders as they aim to remain the ‘lifeblood’ of the IT sector. Carolyn Harrington, Chief Operations Officer at SpaceDC, tells us why being green really is at the heart of the company’s philosophy, and how cooling technology is a driving force responsible for shaping data centre sustainability trends.

SpaceDC officially launched its new ID01 25.45MW data centre campus at the beginning of November 2020. It is the first green-focused data centre in Indonesia. With innovative design and infrastructure, the company enables a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.3, which is changing the industry’s approach to carbon footprint. 

SpaceDC is creating state-of-the-art data centres to help businesses grow in south-east Asia’s fast-moving digital markets. Headquartered in Singapore, SpaceDC is applying over 60 years of combined leadership experience to create a network of top-of-the-line data centre campuses in south-east Asia’s key regional cities. Carolyn Harrington, Chief Operations Officer at SpaceDC, discusses this in more detail and tells us what it means for the company to become the first green-focused data centre in Indonesia.

Can you tell us about your role at SpaceDC and the scope of your responsibility?

I’m the Chief Operating Officer of SpaceDC. I cover a multitude of different sections within the company, including sales, marketing, compliance, investor relations, HR, and operations of the data centre.

What does it mean for SpaceDC to be the first green-focused data centre in Indonesia?

It’s actually quite exciting for us to be the first green-focused data centre in Indonesia. It’s actually exciting for us to do it anywhere, not just in Indonesia because being green really is at the heart of SpaceDC’s philosophy. So, we try in our design technology that we choose to put in the data centre and our operations, to be as sustainable and energy efficient as we can for the country we’re in, but also for our customers.

How do you operate with maximum productivity and reliability?

So, maximum productivity is about using systems and processes to drive efficiency, to ensure that all team members know their roles and their objectives within their roles. We’re focused on what we can do in terms of the systems and the processes and to automate as much as we can to eliminate human error.

We’ve put a lot of time and effort into the design and operations of our data centres to look at what we can do to ensure that they are up and running 24/7. And if the system goes down, what’s our redundancy within the design element, but also within the operations team – how do we work to ensure that nothing goes down and if this does happen, how do we efficiently and effectively move to the next set of systems and technologies to keep that data centre running 24/7.

How important is cooling technology in a data centre, particularly in a tropical climate?

It’s much easier for countries where they’ve got cold air, so you generally see a lower PUE. But, obviously, in a human set country you have to really look at the design and the cooling technology. We have implemented fanwall technology because it’s highly efficient and reduces your PUE substantially, so we are able to achieve a PUE of 1.3 in hot tropical climates. Also, the beauty of a fanwall is if it needs to be fixed, you don’t need to go into the data hall like you would with a CRAC – you can do it outside the white space to ensure that our customers’ data and all of their equipment is always really secure.

What trends are you seeing in terms of how data centres are becoming more sustainable?

We are seeing the cooling technology driving sustainability as a trend. People are also trialling or looking at different types of renewable energy, or different ways of creating their own energy onsite in a sustainable but also a safe way. In some countries, you can see that they’re experimenting now with hydrogen and how they’re going to use it – obviously you have to be careful with that as you don’t want it to blow up, but people are spending a lot of time, money and effort because as an industry we really are quite conscious of our carbon footprint.

How do you ensure the highest levels of reliability for your customers?

If you look at power, for example; when we design a data centre we make sure that we have dual diverse power feeds from different substations, so if one substation goes down then we know that the other power line isn’t coming off the same substation. We also have a distributed redundancy technology design. We have five different power streams within the data centre, so if one goes down, we have four other power streams able to pick up that load efficiently and successfully continue to run the data centre. That’s just one example of reliability.

What is driving the growing customer demand for sustainable power supply in the data centre?

You would see it a lot more with western countries like the UK and the US, and Singapore is really driving others as well with a moratorium. You see it more from countries where there is a carbon trading programme, or there is pressure from their governments and things such as the Paris Treaty, to reduce their carbon footprints. That’s generally where you see it, but from an overall perspective, everyone in the world is really conscious of sustainability.

How does SpaceDC plan to scale in the future?

We are looking to make announcements in the not too far distant future this year. We’ll be announcing data centre developments in tier I cities across the APAC region and also in some of the emerging markets as well because our key focus is to create a data centre platform across Asia that incorporates both tier I and tier II cities, so our customers can one stop shop, so to speak, to deploy their data centre assets through us.

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