Photo - Chiew Kok Hin, CEO, AIMS Group
In a move to reduce the high bandwidth costs to Malaysian data centres, the national ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) has appointed carrier-neutral data centre operator AIMS Cyberjaya (AIMS) to deliver and support the InterData Centre (DC) Network ultra-broadband initiative.
MDeC director, Digital Enablement Division, Wan Murdani Wan Mohamad said the InterDC Network initiative has been developed by The Malaysian Data Centre Alliance (MDCA) after consultation with its members.
Following an open tender, Wan said AIMS will be responsible for implementing an ultra-broadband backbone to interconnect key data centres in Cyberjaya, Malaysia.
In addition, AIMS will be responsible for the deployment, configuration, monitoring and support of the network services and operations in an ultra-broadband backbone network interconnecting participating data centres within Cyberjaya.
This plan follows reports confirming that Malaysia's international connectivity has been "ranked at a poor 28 spot (out of the top 30 nations -Cushman & Wakefield, 2013), even when the country's overall Global Data Centre Risk ranking is just at 16."
Wan said that IDC Research recently noted that "bandwidth costs borne by Malaysian data centres amount to between 20-25 percent of their operational costs compared to less than 5 percent by data centres in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, UK and the USA. (Bandwidth cost comprises of local and international components)."
"New submarine cables are expected to be in service by Q2 FY16 to address the international component of this bandwidth cost," he said. "But at the same time the domestic aspect needs to be equally addressed, and we are looking at ways to bring this down to create a more competitive data centre ecosystem to encourage digital content and services players to make Malaysia a base in serving the region."
Modelled after MyIX
Wan said that the first phase of the Inter-DC Network will use existing dark (unused) optical fibre infrastructure available in Cyberjaya to interconnect with participating data centres based there.
He added that intention was to aggregate all the traffic of these data centres, to "enable drastically cheaper bulk bandwidth purchases, as typically - 10 Gbps is 4x cheaper as compared to 1 Gbps on a per megabit basis."
With dark fibre (based on a long term CAPEX investment lease model), cost does not escalate with an increase in bandwidth usage, said Wan. This allowed for maximum utilisation of the fibre capacity specifically for large bandwidth applications.
"High-bandwidth data centres are a pre-requisite for Cloud, the Internet of Things and Big Data applications; and we believe this InterDC Network initiative will enable participating data centres to offer competitive prices in offering such services," said Wan, adding that there are more than 20 data centres based in Cyberjaya.
The InterDC Network has been modelled after the Malaysian Internet Exchange (MyIX), which has significantly reduced the cost of domestic bandwidth connectivity, using the concept of aggregation nodes and co-location of network points of presence (POPs) for Internet service providers, he said
"Initial steps towards [an interconnection between the InterDC Network and the MyIX network) has already been started and has been accepted by both MyIX and the Malaysian Data Centre Alliance (MDCA) members," said Wan.
"MDeC believes that AIMS track record of successfully managing one of three key infrastructure nodes of MyIX, and their understanding of running a collective (data centre) industry business model is an added advantage to complete this project sooner and to be operational by Q3 FY15," he said.
Neutrality as a strength
AIMS Group chief executive officer Chiew Kok Hin said that the "Group's strong advantage is its carrier neutrality that allows the InterDC Network participating data centres the flexibility of choosing their bandwidth provider, to offer their service provider clients more options to reach out to their end customers."
"This exciting project is set to boost the data centre industry in Malaysia via the set-up of a common bandwidth infrastructure in Cyberjaya," said Chiew. "With reduced bandwidth costs, we will be able to attract a higher number of investors looking to host their data in Malaysia and the ASEAN region."
He added AIMS was committed to MDeC's criteria, which included 99.9 percent availability, high scalability to multiple terabits of capacity, high security, and short deployment time.
MDeC's Wan said that MDeC will oversee the initial three years of implementation and growth before handing over the project to industry stakeholders, by the fourth year of this initiative. "MDeC envisages a similar model to be extended beyond Cyberjaya in the future."
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