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World’s first tropical data centre pilot

The project is part of Singapore’s Smart Nation drive and seeks to fuel innovation and explore new green data centre technologies

Data centre will be tested in a tropical environment
Data centre will be tested in a tropical environment

Singapore will begin trials of a new green data centre later this year as part of Singapore’s Smart Nation drive.


The Tropical Data Centre (TDC) will test, under various ‘live’ situations, whether data centres can function optimally at temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius and in ambient humidity levels up to or exceeding 90 per cent.


“With Singapore’s continued growth as a premium hub for data centres, we want to develop new technologies and standards that allow us to operate advanced data centres in the most energy efficient way in a tropical climate,” said Khoong Hock Yun, assistant chief executive of Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority. “New ideas and approaches, such as raising either the ambient temperature or humidity, will be tested to see if these can greatly increase our energy efficiency, with insignificant impact on the critical data centre operations.


“To create new value in our Smart Nation journey, we need to embrace an attitude of experimentation, to be willing to develop new ideas together, and test the feasibility of progressive and positive technological advancements that has a good possibility to enhance our industry’s competitiveness."



At the moment, 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 reasons. It is thought that TDCs could reduce energy by up to 40 per cent and reduce carbon emissions.


The trial servers will run with simulated data and be tested in diverse conditions such as when there are peak surges or when transferring data with no temperature or humidity controls.


The IDA has partnered with Dell, ERS, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Intel, Keppel Data Centres, The Green Grid, and Nanyang Technological University for the trial which will provide the hardware and software as well as expertise for analysis of the findings.


The proof-of-concept TDC is scheduled to be set up in the third quarter of 2016 within a controlled test environment in a Keppel Data Centres facility.


This trial builds upon IDA’s Green Data Centre Innovation Hub initiative that is part of the Green Data Centre Programme (GDCP) launched in late 2014. The GDCP aims to boost overall data centre energy efficiency through innovation, pilot emerging technologies, and formulate new guidelines for sustainable computing. The GDCP also reaffirms Singapore’s commitment to protect the environment.


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