Data centers are the core infrastructure on which the digital economy runs. As Singapore journeys to a Smart Nation, it will require more uses of and reliance on data centers for areas such as cloud services, data analytics and the Internet of Things. The effective use of resources is thus critical, given that data centers have a large energy footprint made larger in Singapore’s tropical climate.
The Green Data Centre Innovation Programme (GDCIP) is the first of its kind in Singapore after the launch of the Green Data Centre Roadmap in late 2014. It aims to boost the competitiveness of the data centre industry by raising their overall energy efficiency.
The programme intends to spur innovation by catalysing development and adoption of innovative green data centre related products, solutions and services. It also aims to direct local R&D efforts in green data centre technologies by providing research funding for key areas of research.
The programme also intends to demonstrate emerging technologies and innovations which could be adopted by data centres in the future. Another objective of the programme is to develop policies and guidelines related to resource efficiency by data centres in Singapore to achieve a sustainable computing infrastructure.
This will be accomplished by taking a comprehensive view of both short and long-term emerging technologies from hardware, to design and software perspectives. These would go beyond the application of best-in-class technologies and processes today. Its recommendations are intended to guide the research community, technology companies and the data centre industry in charting their technology directions.
Some of the possible solutions could include raising the ambient level of tolerable heat within data centres, automatic smart allocation of computing resources within data centres and more intelligent systems-level solutions spanning IT and facilities.
Spurring innovation through collaboration
As part of this, today IDA is announcing that it has secured collaborations with several leading technology partners to engage in prototyping short- and long-term solutions for data centres. They are with Dell, Hewlett Packard, Huawei and IBM.
The Innovation Programme also includes an open Call for Collaboration (CFC) to garner industry proposals. These would develop and pilot promising innovative solutions to provide proof-of-concepts in Singapore’s environment, the results of which could lead to immediately implementable solutions for data centres. This CFC will close by June 26 2015.
By Q3 2015, IDA will also release an open call for Research Grant Proposals and a Request for Proposal to build Singapore’s first Green Data Centre Innovation Hub. The former will look into longer-term research & development of green technologies for data centres from research organisations, while the latter is envisioned as a data centre platform to house and demonstrate proof-of-concept solutions. More details on these will be announced at a later date.
“Singapore’s journey to Smart Nation will involve many aspects of the value chain of which data centres are an integral portion,” said IDA Assistant Chief Executive (Engineering & Technology Group) Toh Chai Keong. “By working with key companies to explore new research and prove solutions, Singapore will continue to be at the forefront of enabling progressive and positive technological advancements.”
Based on IDA’s estimates of 2012 statistics in a survey of data centres, the 10 largest data centre operators in Singapore account for energy consumption equivalent to 130,000 typical 4-room HDB households. An energy efficiency improvement of 20 per cent in the existing stock of commercial data centres in Singapore is estimated to be capable of yielding combined annual savings in excess of S$34 million.