SINGAPORE: The Republic will conduct trials on the world's first tropical data centre (TDC) in the third quarter of this year, announced Communications and Information Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim on Monday (May 30).
The trials are aimed to prove if data centres can function optimally at temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius and ambient humidity of up to or exceeding 90 per cent.
Currently, data centres are cooled to between 20 to 25 degrees Celsius, and kept to within 50 to 60 per cent relative ambient humidity for safety. Thus, a data centre's main operating costs go towards energy consumption to maintain such controlled environments.
In 2012, data centres accounted for 7 per cent of Singapore's energy demand, and are projected to reach 12 per cent of total energy demand by 2030 due to continued growth of data centres based here.
According to estimates from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the TDC could reduce energy consumption by data centres by up to 40 per cent.
Speaking at the Ministerial Forum on ICT 2016, Dr Yaacob said: "We will work with partners to test whether data centres can be operated in temperature and humidity levels that are double the current norm.
"If successful, it would prove that data centres need not be run in tightly-controlled cooled environments. Not only will it expand the geographical limitation of siting data centres, it will also cut back on the existing energy requirements for the running of such centres," he added.
Under the trial, IDA will partner Dell, ERS, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Intel, Keppel Data Centres, The Green Grid and Nanyang Technological University. The TDC will be set up in a controlled test environment in a Keppel data centre facility.
The trial is part of the IDA's Green Data Centre Programme launched late 2014. The programme aims to boost overall data centre energy efficiency through innovation, pilot emerging technologies and formulate new guidelines for sustainable computing.
The IDA had been thinking about developing a set of standards for operating data centres in the tropics, with Assistant Chief Executive Khoong Hock Yun mooting the idea in an earlier interview with Channel NewsAsia. He noted then that not every data centre needed to be cooled to the recommended temperature of 24 degrees Celsius since some server racks can run in temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius.
MINIMUM 4G STANDARDS IN PIPELINE
Separately, Dr Yaacob announced on Monday that Singapore will also be one of the first countries in the world to impose minimum standards for 4G mobile services. The Quality of Service (QoS) framework will cover both outdoor and indoor 4G mobile service quality.
He added: "We need a converged regulator in the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). The new IMDA will be in the position to take into account both infocomm and media considerations, and make a holistic decision for the benefit of the infocomm media sector as an integrated whole."
More details on the 4G QoS framework will be available on Wednesday (Jun 1), according to IDA.
The Minister also mentioned that the Republic will be holding its inaugural Singapore International Cyber Week in October, which will see Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launch the country's National Cybersecurity Strategy.