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Where's the data centre? Straight down...

Stefan Hammond | Sept. 4, 2013
The best way of addressing space and cooling issues of data centres is to go underground.

This all sounds positive for future underground facilities in Hong Kong, but data centres are ecosystems. They need power, access to equipment, entry/exit for personnel, and other amenities. That's why most existing underground data facilities are converted shelters originally built for military purposes. Ironically, Asia's newest underground facility is Singapore's Underground Ammunition Facility which opened in 2008.

In addition to providing power, there will be logistical issues with humidity control and air-quality. Still, this is the HKSAR, which has constructed an extensive underground railway network in addition to sewage and water reservoirs. Underground construction is simply another way of working—albeit a more complex one.

If Hong Kong is serious about IT as one of the six pillars of our economy, we need to start examining these potential underground datacenter sites. The government must liaise with private-sector firms (CLP and Hong Kong Electric for starters) and start working on the details. The demand for data is only going to increase, and if these facilities are to become part of our IT strategy, the time to start building them is now.


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